Growing pains versus growing conditions

What is the difference and how can I help my child

By Megan Thomas, Director & Senior Physiotherapist

Does my child have growing pains?

Growing pains are a mysterious but common complaint in young children, usually affecting boys and girls between the ages of 3-5 and 8-11. The pain is mostly nocturnal (no sleep for mum and dad either!)  and occurs in the muscles (not in the joints) around the calf, behind the knee, front of thigh and arms. They don’t cause your child to limp and they don't have any difficulty walking, playing or exercising. Growing pains don’t cause any long-term damage.

"Treatment” for growing pains can involve

Lots of cuddles
Reassuring your child that the pain won't be there in the morning
Warm baths, heat packs and massage
Paracetamol

What are growing conditions in children?

Different to growing pains, Severs (heel pain) and Osgood-Schlatter Disease (knee pain) are growing conditions that are caused when the bone grows faster than the muscle.  This causes the muscle to pull at the point where it inserts into the growth plate, leading to pain, inflammation, limping and/or difficulty walking.

Following correct diagnosis and treatment from your physio, a treatment plan will focus around lengthening the muscle to reduce the pain including

Stretching, usually 10 minutes x 3 times a day
Using the foam roller
Massage

All of PhyxMe's musculoskeletal physiotherapists are experienced treating children and adolesccents - book an appointment to have your child's pain correctly assessed, diagnosed and treated. 

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