Am I actually too young?

Zaiyaire Member Posts: 2
Hey, so this is my first time posting here. My apologies if this is the wrong sub form.

So, I'm 16, and I've had pain in my knees for the best part of 5-6 years. It's been almost constant, and is so bad that I can't even sit down for longer than 10 minutes without stretching my legs out to try and relive some of the pain (It never fully goes away, though) and sometimes (Usually when it's been quite cold, or I'm unwell) the pain is so bad I can hardly move my knees or walk at all. No form of painkillers available to me have ever helped this.

I've seen multiple doctors, and multiple times have been told "It's probably just growing pains, here's some ibuprofen" which is frustrating, as they refuse to examine me further and I can't even take the ibuprofen.

I've been reading a lot about different kinds of arthritis, and difference causes, but most seem to be in refference to people much older, much taller or much heavier than I, or small children, so I don't know how accurate it could be relating to someone of my age. (I have no idea if it's relevant at all, but I'm 5'4" and 130lbs. Painfully average)

If I'm correct, juvenile arthritis often caused or at least affected by the presence of an auto-immune disorder? I haven't been tested for that yet, but as far as my family goes, it's very likely.

And is it true that arthritis can be the result of an injury or trauma? When I was about 10/11 (I can't even remember having any trouble before then) I had an accident on a treadmill where it had been placed with a wall to the back of it, and when I fell off it sped up and my knees/feet were caught on the runners. I had torn most of the skin off of my knees and one of my feet, but due to my age I was only given paracetamol. The pain was so bad for at least a month I wasn't walking/bending my knees at all.

Of course I know I'll have to visit a doctor to get any sort of diagnosis, but I'd like to go armed with at least a possible explanation and some information. Despite the fact I'm a female who hadn't grown in >3 years, they are adamant that its growing pains.

Thanks in advanced for any help. And sorry for how long this turned out to be.


  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 3,635
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Zaiyaire,

    Welcome to the forum. Firstly you are most welcome here no matter what your condition :)

    It's always good to have a diagnosis although you have found this can take a long time to come to pass! You say that it's likely to be some form of arthritis based on your family, take details of this when you go for your next appt, it may help your GP consider this. Do you have support from your family? If so ask them to come with you and ask for blood tests to help your diagnosis.

    There are pain clinics around and courses helping you to manage pain. It won't make it go away but it can affect how you deal with it, and that can make a big difference. Have a look at the PDFs on this site And see if they can help too

    Take care,,
    Mod Yvonne x
  • daffy2
    daffy2 Member Posts: 1,636
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello Zaiyaire. I'm not one of the Helpline team, just a forum member, but I wanted to reply because both my son and my niece had knee pain problems. My niece had a lot of problems with pain and with the knee not working properly, and after several years and a lot of appointments she was told that it was a problem with the knee cap being misaligned. It's an inherited condition(her mother - my sister- also has it but only slightly). I think treatment was physio, I'm pretty certain it wasn't operated on, and as far as I know she doesn't have problems with it now. My son started to have pain in his late teens which eventually one GP thought was due to tendons at the back of the knee being too tight and so preventing the kneecap from moving easily. We were told to keep an eye on the situation, and for my son to keep active, and that it would likely resolve itself. It has largely done so(he is now 30) - he occasionally has problems with it tending to 'lock' slightly,needing to 'click' it to free it, which makes me wonder if it's the same problem as his cousin. In neither case was the cause arthritis related, although I suspect that in later life they stand more risk of osteoarthritis in the knee.
    I think that in both cases the diagnosis now would be patellofemoral pain syndrome - might be worth you looking that up?
  • helpline_team
    helpline_team Posts: 3,410
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Zaiyaire

    Thank you for your forum post, I’m sorry to hear about the pain you have been experiencing for many years.

    You say that you know you will have to go to the doctor and get a diagnosis and this is certainly necessary so that you can find out which type of arthritis you have, if you do have arthritis.

    Osteoarthritis which is by far the most common type of arthritis can be due to a prior injury of the joint. You will find further information about getting a diagnosis within the link:

    You could also take a look at our ‘Coping with pain’ booklet, which will give you some tips on managing pain aside from medications:

    and lastly a link to our ‘Young peoples’ forum, which is a great place to share experiences and get support:

    You have quite a few questions and I wonder if you would like to give us a ring on our Freephone Helpline: 0808 800 4050 (weekdays 10-4) it may be easier to take our time and talk through your concerns over the phone.

    I hope this is of some help

    Best wishes
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,686
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hey, no need to apologise, Zaiyaire. It's what we're here for though, like daffy, I'm just an ordinary forum member not one of the Helpline team. I've had RA since I was 15 though (55 years ago) and it has led to OA so I do have some experience – unfortunately :roll:

    Firstly – age. The autoimmune types of arthritis (RA, PsA, JIA etc) can strike at any age. Someone who has family members with an autoimmune disorder of some kind is more likely to get an autoimmune form of arthritis than someone without but they can also just strike out of the blue. Autoimmune types don't usually start in the knees but they can. However, autoimmune types usually cause fluey feelings, lethargy and general feelings of being unwell, not just pain.

    OA (osteoarthritis) doesn't usually affect young people but, yet again, it can, especially at the site of a former break, though it's usually some years afterwards that it sets in.

    Daffy's suggestion makes good sense to me and, in your situation, I'd be reading up on it – but only on reliable sites. Don't go scaring yourself with anecdotal stuff. This is a very good, reliable site

    I wonder which doctors you've seen. Did they include any specialists or physios? Rheumatologists or orthopeadic specialists?

    'Painkillers' is a term many of us dislike on here as, for most of us, they don't. We prefer 'pain dullers'. Why can't you take ibuprofen? If it's due to stomach problems were you prescribed a stomach-protecting med with it?

    As Lynda has suggested, it might be a good idea to talk everything over with one of our lovely Helpline people over the phone. I do hope you can get some answers – and some relief.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright