So often in the clinic, we see young kids from the ages of 8 - 14 with "growing pains", It can be quiet painful on the kids especially if they want to play or just move around pain-free. In this article, I am going to discuss what causes these growing pains? where is the common site of these pains? and how can you help them?
What Causes growing pains?
There is no clear scientific evidence that growth spurts are actually linked to pain. In my experience, I find that as your child grows certain muscle groups have a far greater ability to control a longer body and in turn, they become tighter and cause painful issues. The muscles I am referring to are the Quads, Calfs, and back muscles, these muscles will have control of major landmarks of the body, the quads will control the kneecap and the calfs with control the heel bone.This brings me to the next section.
Where is the common site of pain?
The two most common sites of pain are below the kneecap tendon (Osgood schlatters) and also the site of the heelbone tendon (Severs disease). Osgood schlatters is characterized by pain when climbing stairs, kneeling, and running. The kneecap tendon becomes inflamed and results in a bump on the shinbone, both will be very tender to touch. Severs is pain just above the heel bone characterized by pain when getting out of the bed in the morning, running and climbing stairs. Severs can also cause an increased size of the Achilles tendon.
How can you help them?
First off you have to make sure that your child's issues are actually growing pains and not just a muscle issue causing the pain. So, how do you know? Well, its very simple: IF THEY HAVE PAIN IN BOTH KNEES = GROWING PAINS. If they have pain in one knee = Muscle problem and rule out growing pains."But I read up on it and my son has growing pains in his left knee only?" my response as always did your son's left leg grew quicker than the right? As that doesn't make sense. Think about it logically you cannot have a growth spurt on one bone, one limb, but you can have greater bulk in a muscle on one side. Either way, REST is not the cure, If your child is very active these small things will relieve pain, Ice on the painful area, rest for a week or 2 but when they return to the activity it will return. So what do you do? More and more in the clinic we are seeing young kids and the results are very good, usually we can get someone out of pain with Osgood's or servers within a month and commonly the diagnosis is 3 - 6 months out from sport. How do we do this? We offload the muscles that are directly affecting the painful area and we build strength in the muscles that oppose quads, back muscles, and calfs.The great thing when dealing with kids is that do recover quicker, they are still learning new patterns of movements and they are not as rigid as adults so you can change them quite quick and get great results.