My Child Has Growing Pains. Is This normal?

Children develop at different rates. Some will have strong growth spurts and others grow slowly over a long period of time. While some pain felt by your child can result from sports activities, other pain may be associated with growth.

There are several growth-related syndromes. In most cases, the main reason is the lack of muscular flexibility. If a child grows up quickly, his or her muscle structure – being attached to the skeleton – will be stretched to its full potential. The insertion point of the muscles will then undergo a high traction force. This can cause pain in the joints, usually in the legs.

At another level, some disorders are observed during the period of growth in youth playing sports involving jumping, such as volleyball or basketball. When jumping, muscles contract very quickly and with great power. Muscles with an insertion near a growth plate* then exert a traction force which, if repeated, can cause damage to the growth plate and potentially harm the development of the bone. It is therefore important for the child to do stretches after the sport, as well as during resting days to reduce these traction forces.

So if your child complains of leg pain, it would be best to have her or him evaluated by a physiotherapist to identify the problem and remove the cause of pain.

* The growth plate is located at the ends of long bones, such as the femur, and is the "cell factory" that grows bone. It is considered a “soft” bone susceptible to traction forces.

Kateri Martineau, P.T.
ASP St-Bruno

See also "The Right Backpack: An Essential Tool for School"