Growing Pains - Are They Normal?
10 to 35% of children will have growing pains at least once in their lifetime. Most children have these pains between the ages of 5-14 years old, during periods of rapid growth.
The link between growing pains and growth spurts
Growing pains can be linked to growth spurts. A growth spurt is defined as a change in your child’s height of more than 1 cm per month (average). A mild growth spurt occurs between 6-9 years old and again pre-pubertal. A large growth spurt is had during teenage years and lasts 24-36 months, meaning your child will grow 24-36cm over a 2 to 3 year period. The exact age of your child is not a valid marker for a growth spurt and that is why the age range is so large.
For females, a growth spurt will occur six months prior to their menstrual cycle starting and today this occurs between the ages of 10-12 years old. For males, their peak growth period is two years later than girls, and this occurs between the ages of 12-14 years. This occurs because we haven’t seen a famine in many years and we now have access to better food choices, and medical help.
During these growth spurts, children are more prone to injury so it is important to assess the problem before further issues may arise.
Why is my child in pain?
The pain your child is having is most likely caused by the muscles or tendons around their bones stretching. At certain ages, there is an increase of growth hormones that will cause your child’s bones to grow faster than the muscles or tendons are able to stretch.
Children often describe the pain as an ache, throbbing or pins and needles. A child may say it ‘hurts’ over the front of their thighs, their calf muscles or behind their knees. Most pains will last 10-30 minutes but this can vary.
What can I do to stop my child getting growing pains?
To reduce or stop growing pains, Physio can play a key role. Also Physio can provide you and your child with methods to manage the pain when it does occur. Some methods include, stretches, massage techniques, heat (e.g. have a hot shower) and if it's really bad, you can take the recommended dose of Panadol.
Children’s pains can sometimes be missed for other more serious conditions like, Osgood Schlatters, Severs Disease and Perthes Disease.
If your child complains of growing pains often or you have any queries or concerns, please contact us on 6818 6268 to book a time with our Physio to find the answers to your child’s growing pains!