Yes, You Can Get Rid of Growing Pains!

You Can Get Rid of Growing Pains

Here at The Podiatrist, we’re all about helping families stay healthy, happy, do the things they love and realise their full potential. This means we make looking after KIDS FEET a special priority! Kids are constantly learning, growing and exploring – it’s all part of the development process. At times, pain develops and wreak havoc for kids and parents alike. We’ve talked to many parents who were taught that growing pains are a regular part of the growing process and they’ll eventually go away on their own. So, does that make them normal and something you and your family should tolerate? Absolutely not!

Pain is our bodies way of saying that something is going on or that something isn’t quite right, and by addressing what that is, you can alleviate growing pains and get your kids back to their happy, healthy selves! So we thought we’d shed some light on the grey area of growing pains and explain how and why growing pains occur, with reference to two common types of growing pains in the feet and legs of kids:

Sever’s Disease – heel pain

Osgood Schlatter Disease – pain just below the knee

Note: Growing pains can also be mistaken for active kids overusing muscles of the feet and legs to a point where they are very tired, achy and sore. The cause is very different and the treatment is too. If you’re unsure what your child is experiencing, bring them in for a check with your Podiatrist.

Growing pains – explained! Growing pains result from stress and tension on the growth plate – the vulnerable part of your bone where growth occurs as new bone is added. It is the weakest part of the bone and is weaker than the surrounding muscles, tendons and ligaments. Pain occurs from the pulling force from a muscle or tendon that is attached close to the growth plate. Often these muscles are tight and when combined with physical activities, particularly those involving running, repetitively pull on its insertion on the bone and irritate the area. Because our bones and muscles may lengthen at slightly different rates during growth, we may end up with temporarily tight muscles that will trigger the pain with every step taken, and particularly with running and physical activity.

Growth plates? It is through growth plates (medically known as epiphyseal plates) that our bones grow and lengthen. They’re located at the end of bones, including the calcaneus (heel bone) where Sever’s pain is experienced and the tibia (shin bone) where Osgood Schlatter pain is felt. These growth plates will turn into solid bone when we reach maturity and stop growing.

What are the signs and symptoms of growing pains? Generally, growing pains can be felt as sharp pains, dull aches and/or cramps. The pain tends to worsen with exercise and any activity that’ll further irritate the growth plates. If we look at the two growing pains specifically:

Sever’s Disease – pain is felt at the back of the heel and may radiate or shoot up the leg as it is the achilles tendon that inserts into the back of the heel where the calcaneal growth plate is located

Osgood Schlatter Disease – pain is felt just below the kneecap in an area called the tibial tuberosity. It is the patellar tendon that inserts into this area, which spans from the quadriceps muscles at the top of the thigh, across the knee joint and into the top of the tibia (shin bone)

What should you do? If you’ve ever heard that there’s nothing that can be done, we urge that you forget this! As with everything in the medical profession, it is cause-and-effect. This means that there is always a cause of the pain (effect). If you address and treat or prevent the cause, then there’s no reason to experience the painful effect.

This is the approach that we take to growing pains, and we’ve had the privilege of helping thousands of families here in Toowoomba settle their kids growing pain and put a smile back on their faces.

There are numerous things we can do to help settle the pain, as well as reduce the time it takes for the pains to disappear completely and for growing pains to be a thing of the past! The best options will depend on your child’s symptoms and areas of pain, but may include:

Custom-prescribed orthotics (using our advanced Orthema technology) to keep the foot in a position that places less force from tight muscles onto the bone to settle symptoms and stop pain from arising

Footwear assessment to ensure your kids shoes are supporting the feet in the best position and aren’t adding undue tension on feet and legs

Stretching programme that will work to ease the overall tightness that may be pulling on bone and facilitate healthy growth and development

Strengthening muscles to help maintain a healthy and strong foot and leg position that reduces strain on vulnerable bones

While we briefly touched on two common areas of growing pains, these pains may occur in numerous areas in the feet and legs and the specific cause of pain in the same area can also vary from child to child. This is why it’s important to have your kids assessed by a podiatrist to understand exactly what’s going on with their lower limbs and the most effective ways that we can help.

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