growth-pain

Growth Pain in Children

With Your Podiatrist

I’ve seen countless parents coming to see me at the clinic.

Concerned about their children feeling pain in their legs.

Often, saying that their child is experiencing pain in their feet, shin, and knees.

Describing their child’s pain as a burning or aching feeling.

When I’ve asked if there is a recall of an injury or incident that happened to make their child feel this way, they aren’t sure or can’t recall a certain event.

Once I ask if their child has had a recent growth spurt, the answer is, most often, YES!

Let me share the common growth pain locations in the foot and leg. You’ll be well equipped with knowledge.

What is growth pain?

Growth pain is the term given to the discomfort a child or adolescent experiences due to a growth spurt.

It is essentially caused due to the muscle tissue being unable to stretch and adapt at the same rate the child’s bones lengthen. 

There are common areas of the heel and knee where the growth plates can become under excessive stress.

The following conditions will elaborate on the reasons why your child may experience pain.

Severs Disease

Severs disease, or calcaneal apophysitis is a condition that affects children and adolescents, who are still growing.

This condition is characterised by pain around the back of the heel, where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone (the calcaneus).

Severs disease is caused by overuse or repetitive stress of the growth plate in the heel.

Resulting in inflammation and microfractures of the growth plate.

Severs disease is seen most often in children between the ages of 9 and 13 years old, but can also be seen in older adolescents.

Severs Symptoms

The most common symptom of Severs disease is heel pain that worsens with activity.
 
The pain is usually intense and most often felt at the back of the heel and worse when touched.
 
The pain may also be felt along the outside of the foot and ankle.
 
Severs disease is aggravated by tight calf muscles, shoes with a heel counter that rubs against the back of the heel, or activities that involve a lot of heel-striking, such as running.

Severs Treatment

Rest & Foam Roll

Treating Severs disease involved a temporary period of rest and the use of a foam roller to help relieve the tightness and tension the calf muscles are causing to the tender heel.
 

heel lifts and orthotics

A heel lift is often used as temporary support for the heel until the calf muscles adapt to the growth spurt.
 
An orthotic is most often used as the ultimate treatment used by Podiatrists to support the heel and ankle to reduce the tension as the child keeps growing.

Osgood Schlatter's disease

Osgood Schlatter’s disease is a condition that affects children and adolescents, who are still growing.
 
This condition is characterised by pain around the front of the knee, where the kneecap (patella) attaches to the thigh bone (the femur).
 
Caused by overuse or repetitive stress of the growth plate in the knee, resulting in inflammation and microfractures of the growth plate.
 
Osgood Schlatter’s disease is seen most often in children between the ages of 9 and 13 years old, but can also be seen in older adolescents.

Osgood Schlatter's Symptoms

Osgood-Schlatter disease is characterized by pain and tenderness at the bony prominence on the front of the knee (the tibial tubercle).
 
The pain is usually aggravated by activities, such as running, kicking, squatting, or climbing stairs.
 
Often most severe when the knee is fully extended, such as when straightening the leg after a prolonged period of sitting.
 
Osgood-Schlatter disease is often seen in children who are experiencing a growth spurt during puberty.

Osgood Schlatter's Treatment

The most common treatment for Osgood Schlatter’s disease is a knee brace or tapping as well as foam rolling the quadriceps muscles.
 
These methods support the knee and help reduce the tension on the growth plate and stop the pain from getting worse.
 
Using foam rollers to help improve the range of motion to the knee without further irritation (as stretches can sometimes cause) is extremely helpful to reduce inflammation and pain.

When You Should See a Podiatrist for Your Child's Growth Pains

Although growth pains usually resolve over time your child shouldn’t need to live with the pain. Even if it’s temporary.

It’s always a good idea to seek helpful advice from a Podiatrist who is qualified to provide scientifically evident treatment methods based on your child’s needs. 

If your child is experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, it is recommended that you take them to book in with a podiatrist for peace of mind.

Unisoles Podiatrists are available at a time convenient for you and your child without needing to have your child walk into a clinic in pain.

Book in to have your child assessed free of charge online