How Long Do Growing Pains Last?
This week we had a mum bring her 12-year-old son in who had been experiencing growing pains in his heels for four weeks. She just wanted to know if there was anything we could do to help her son feel more comfortable at school and during his soccer, after being told by other mums from his class that:
“ - Growing pains are normal for kids. They’re growing quickly, and that can be painful
- Growing pains don’t last longer than 3-6 months (at least that was her friend’s son’s experience)
- Nothing you can do - give them a heat pack and Nurofen when the pain starts. It’s just a waiting game - they’ll go away eventually.”
Our professional opinion: Any pain you experience happens for a specific reason. Pain never develops for no reason - it is literally your body sending signals to the brain to make you aware that something is going wrong or isn’t working quite correctly. Where there is a cause, there’s also a solution.
And when it comes to growing pains…
1. Growing pains in the heels are most often caused by a tight Achilles tendon irritating the growing heel bone
Your body makes your bones bigger by adding new bone to areas called ‘growth plates’ in the bones. These areas aren’t as strong as the bone around them, so when they’re exposed to high loads and forces, they can get irritated, painful and inflamed. Here, it’s often a tight Achilles tendon that pulls on the back of the heel, and irritates the growth plate in this area.
2. That’s why the pain usually starts after sports or running
When we’re active and playing sports, we’re placing a lot of strain and demand on the Achilles tendon, which in turn places tension on the heel and growth plate, starting the symptoms of ‘growing pains’. That’s why they often appear straight after sports following cool down and again later that day/night.
3. These pains are absolutely treatable
Forget everything your aunty’s cousin’s neighbour’s best friend is sure of. Growing pains are absolutely treatable - and something we do on a daily basis during the sports seasons. We find out what’s causing the tension from the Achilles on the heel (often it’s a combination of a few of: the foot posture, the way the foot is functioning, footwear, muscle tightness or weakness, and more). Then we correct the causes. Yep, it’s that simple.
We may use strapping, massage, orthotics, footwear changes, stretching, strengthening and a number of other treatments we have up our sleeves.
Having foot orthotics that raise the heel work brilliantly - as they naturally reduce the tension on the Achilles by keeping the tendon in a less strained position with every step.
Using our proven processes, we are able to help alleviate the majority of growing pains within weeks - not many months or years. This means a much happier sports season or summer for your kids, without watching them in pain.