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  • Joshua Clarke

Growing can be very painful

As the body grows rapidly, there is an increased risk of pain being experienced as the body adjusts. This risk increases further, if there is as large amount of load going through these growing muscles and joints in very active kids.

During the major growth spurts, the bones, muscles and tendons lengthen quickly. For girls, this will usually happen between the ages of 8 and 13 and for boys, between 10 and 15. While the bones are lengthening quickly, they are still a long way from being fully developed. They therefore have not hardened enough to comfortably handle the force that is being put on them from the muscles and tendons. This can result in very unpleasant pain developing at the site of the tendon attaching to the bone. The two most common areas that we see these pains are in the knee and the heel and we see them very regularly in the clinic.

When children are experiencing these pains, it is important that we manage their load effectively. It is likely that in addition to sport they are doing at school, they are also involved in multiple other sporting sessions throughout the week. This includes midweek trainings and games. Regardless of their intensity, they are all putting large amounts of force through their muscles, tendons and bones and can be causing irritation.

In some kids, it will be as simple as decrease their load and their pain will ease - but it isn't always that easy. It can be difficult to choose which of their commitments they will drop, in order to allow some rest time through the week. In others, we must also consider additional contributing factors, such as muscle tightness, strength and biomechanics and address these, while we decrease their overall load. The good news is, these pains are almost always only short term. They can last for months while the bone is changing and hardening, but once this hardening process takes place, the pain will ease and the child will not have long term issues.

Our goal as Physios with these injuries is to assist in managing the level of pain the child is experiencing, while keeping them involved in as much sport and exercise as possible. It is extremely important to be active and involved in sport and exercise while in our teenage years, so we must do whatever we can to keep these kids moving and motivated. If your child is in pain during exercise of any kind, book in with one of our Physios and we will assess and then come up with a plan to manage them through it.

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