What are growing pains?
Growing pains is the term used to describe the aches and pains that children often experience during childhood. They are muscular in nature rather than affecting the joints, and usually affect the legs rather than the arms. The pain usually occurs later in the day or evening and may wake the child at night. The intensity of the pain varies but is usually resolved by the following day. It most commonly affects children between the ages of three to eight and early adolescence, particularly during a growth spurt.
What can cause growing pains?
The cause of growing pains is yet to be established; however, it is thought to occur as a result of an imbalance between the rate of growth between bones and soft tissues. Often children with hypermobility and associated ligament laxity will complain of pain at night.
What Therapies for Kids can do
Our specialist paediatric physiotherapists can assess whether a child is suffering from growing pains or whether there may be other reasons associated with the pain such as hypermobility or altered foot posture.
If your child has growing pains then physiotherapy may include:
- Pain management advice such as the use of heat or a gentle massage
- Exercises to stretch and strengthen any tight or weak muscles
- Dynamic taping
- Advice on keeping a pain diary
- Reassurance and advice to children and parents
- Provision of a home programme
- Referral to a podiatrist if hypermobility and poor posture of the feet is contributing
- Referral to a medical specialist if further investigation is required.
What you can do
You can provide your child with reassurance, pain management as necessary and assist them with their home programme, stretches, etc. Provision of play opportunities and encouragement may be necessary if they have avoided physical activity due to pain