Growing pains are common, particularly in active children and adolescents. As the name suggests, growing pains mainly occur during periods of rapid growth and/or just after a growth spurt. After a growth spurt there is a discrepancy in the relative increase in the length of the bone versus the length of the muscle. Rapid growth combined with a physically active lifestyle means that the muscles and tendons are continuously under tension. This causes the muscles and tendons to traction at the attachment site, adjacent to the growth plate, causing pain, micro-trauma and inflammation.
In chronic cases of growing pains the apophysis (a natural bony protuberance for the attachment of muscles) can become enlarged. The most common sites of growing pains are the tibial tuberosity (Osgood SchlatterDisease) and the calcaneal tuberosity (Sever’s Disease).
The main signs and symptoms of growing pains are:
Treatment should follow a thorough assessment from your physiotherapist to determine the correct diagnosis. Treatment often includes:
In a nutshell growing pains are associated with overuse of the tendon attachment and are closely associated with activity in childhood or adolescence. Symptoms will usually resolve with treatment but can recur for 1-2 years before complete resolution at skeletal maturity.