Growing pains in Children

Posted on: Nov 20th, 2017 by The Physio Movement | Categories: Sports Medicine & Nutrition

Growing Pains in Children

What can be done for Growing pains in Children


Growing pains is a term that has been used for many years to describe pain in the legs that occur for children when they go through growth spurts. It implies that growing is painful, however, if this was the case, shouldn’t we expect to be getting growing pains in our arms, hands, or even head as they grow?

So what is causing these ‘growing pains’?

Typical symptoms include a general pain in the legs or feet, often of a night time. Sometimes the pain may interrupt falling to sleep or wake them during the night. The pain is usually non-specific which means that the child may find it difficult to localise where the pain is coming from. Sometimes pain may be associated with long periods of standing or walking or exercise that has occurred during the day.

The pain is usually coming from the muscles of the legs and feet as they are being stretched as the long bones grow. Add the extra physical stress that comes with activity or exercise and the muscles can quickly become fatigued and overworked, resulting in a general aching during rest periods.

What can assist in fixing ‘growing pains’?

The pain can respond well to massage, ice packs, heat packs and over the counter pain relief such as paracetamol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen). If the pain is only occasional, a couple of times a month, there would be no need to have this further investigated. However if pain is presenting more frequently than this (once a week or more often), it may be that there are further underlying Biomechanical anomalies that could be contributing to the pain. Biomechanical anomalies included the way we walk, our foot posture and the associated forces that are placed on the muscles and joints during walking and exercise. Biomechanical anomalies can be assessed and diagnosed by a Podiatrist with further advice and treatment provided to address these concerns.

When should I be concerned about ‘growing pains’?

Other symptoms to be concerned about include specific areas of localises pain or swelling or deformity in the legs or feet. If this is occurring it is advisable to see your Podiatrist as soon as possible. These types of symptoms are not typical of “growing pains” and could be indicative of some underlying pathology.


Do Growing Pains really exist?

In summary, growing pains don’t really exist, however some children do experience aches that occur as the muscles are being overworked and stretched during periods of growth spurts. When the pain is occurring on a weekly basis or more frequently, there are likely additional biomechanical anomalies that are contributing to the pain.


A Podiatrist is a Health Expert in foot and lower limb conditions and can assess children for abnormalities that may be contributing to the pain.


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