Lifestyle Physio Cronulla Blog

Growing pains?

Childhood should be full of sports and exercise. Riding bikes, climbing trees and practising cartwheels help develop co-ordination, strength and endurance. But, what do you do when they complain that it hurts?

For many years growing pains have been debated in scientific literature. Growing pains have been acknowledged as a real thing and while we don’t completely understand them, we have some ideas. It is thought they occur as growth occurs in the bones at a quicker rate than the muscles. Growing pain is the discomfort felt while muscles stretch to “keep up”.

Children commonly report pains at night, and during times of rest. Paracetamol, heat packs and gentle massage should give relief. If it doesn’t, it is important to seek medical advice. 

Often growing pains commence after changes in activity levels or most commonly following/during a growth spurt. Again, if this isn’t the case and pain is occurring at night, medical opinion is required.

Considering training volume is extremely important. Take into consideration school sport, lunch time play, club sport, representative sport, skipping, trampoline jumping, bike riding… your child is doing a significant amount of exercise, every single day of the week! They also need rest! The growing body needs recovery time to lay down new tissue, and promote bone health.

Is it growing pains?

Is performance suffering? A commonly overlooked sign of a growth spurt. Often children become unco-ordinated for a time following periods of growth, it is not the time to increase training! Focus should shift to gentle stretching as required but more importantly balance, proprioception and functional strength.

Growing pains, now what?

The general rule of thumb for continuing exercise while suffering growing pains is to “do what doesn’t hurt”. Physio can also advise regarding best practice for managing muscle tightness and fatigue. For starters… do NOT stretch is often the advice. Believe it or not.

Are their muscles warm enough? Always make time for your child to warm up before training or competing. Warming up will prevent excessive tightness from “building up”.

Concerned your child might have growing pains? Or noticed a change in their running “technique”? Fielding complaints of achying legs? We can help.

Join hundreds of others and shape a life you love.

If you want more energy & flexibility but feel you’re too busy, sign up to receive our free ‘Get Active & Energetic 7 Day Challenge’.

If you’re into serious training and want to reduce your chance of injury, sign up to receive our free guide on ‘7 Habits Athletes Practice To Reduce The Chance of Injury’.