What Are Growing Pains?

Are Growing Pains Real?

Has your child been complaining about knee or ankle pain? Is this especially after sport? Have they recently gone through a growth spurt?

Growing pains are REAL and the underlying cause is muscular. It is estimated that 1 in 10 young athletes aged between 10 and 14 years will experience some form of this. During periods of rapid growth or increase in physical activity, your child may complain of increasing pain in the legs. This pain occurs when your child is growing, their bones grow at a faster rate than the muscles. This puts the muscle on increasing stretch and tension resulting in a pull on the bone on which they attach. As the tendons (connective tissue attaching muscle to bone) are attaching to soft, growing bone, this continual pulling can cause pain, inflammation and swelling.

Common Types Of Growing Pains:

  • Osgood Schlatters Disease: Pain located at the prominence at the top of the shin bone where the quadriceps muscle attaches below the knee cap.
  • Severs Disease: Pain in the heel where the Achilles, which joins the calf muscles, attaches to the bone.
  • Shin splints: This condition is not isolated to the younger population but is commonly seen in active youth. It can be either on the inside or the outside shin borders depending on what muscles are tight.

Should My Child Stop Playing Sport?

Your physiotherapist will conduct a thorough assessment on joint mobility, muscle strength and flexibility. This will help determine an appropriate level of exercise that doesn’t aggravate or worsen symptoms. Sometimes there will need to be a complete rest from sport, but if picked up early this may be avoided. If complete rest is advised, cross training activities such as swimming or cycling can be used to maintain fitness.

PHYSIOTHERAPY Treatment For Growing Pains:

If your child is diagnosed with growing pains, the first aim is to reduce pain and inflammation. Treatment techniques include: soft tissue massage, taping and mobilisation of stiff joints. A simple home exercise program to strengthen and increase flexibility of muscles will be implemented. These exercises are especially important if biomechanics or sporting technique is contributing to the pain.

If you think your child may be experiencing growing pains, give one of our friendly client experience officers a call on 9894 2463

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