Growing pains usually manifest in leg aches that often occur during the night. This pain can start as early as age 3, in certain cases.
They can also affect other parts of the lower limbs, such as the knees, ankles or feet.
This type of pain is generally caused by:
- A suboptimal growth rate (e.g. when bones grow faster than muscles or tendons);
- Significant muscle fatigue (often occurs after intense exercise);
- Misalignment of the knees, legs or feet.
Learn more about podiatry for children and the different ways to relieve growing pains.
When should you see a podiatrist for treatment of growing pains?
A podiatrist’s expertise can be instrumental in making sure that your child has a smooth and painless growth.
We recommend you to see a podiatrist the moment your child exhibits one or more of the following symptoms:
- Night pain that occurs intermittently;
- Difficulty moving smoothly and naturally;
- Inward facing feet;
- An unusual amount of fatigue after exercise;
- Cramps in the lower limbs.
The podiatrist can create an effective treatment plan for your child after analyzing the symptoms through the use of diagnostic tools.
Biomechanical and postural assessment
The podiatrist uses several non-invasive procedures to determine the exact nature of your child’s pain.
First, the biomechanical exam allows:
- To check the correct axes of the lower limbs;
- To evaluate foot and joint motion;
- To identify disturbances in walking;
To get a more comprehensive understanding of your child’s posture, some podiatrists resort to postural assessment.
This allows them to:
- Identify asymmetry in the pelvis;
- Determine uneven legs;
- Recognize an inward or outward tilt of the knee;
- Identify an abnormal drop in the arch of the foot (flat foot).
Once they have ruled out the pain that stems from pathology, the podiatrist will design a treatment plan.
Digital radiography of the feet
If the treating podiatrist suspects the cause of the pain to be in the bones, they may opt for a digital radiography of the feet.
Digital foot radiography is used to:
- Assess the alignment of the bones;
- Calculate the foot’s length and bone congruency.
- Find a deformity;
- Determine the achieved level of growth;
Check for bone tumors or the presence of a disorder such as Sever’s disease.
Personalized orthotics for children
The podiatrist usually opts for foot orthoses when it comes to treating growing pains.
Orthotics fix walking issues and help promote optimal foot development.
On top of that, foot orthoses also have many other benefits for your child:
- They are easy to integrate into everyday life;
- They are compact;
- Their positive effect is felt relatively quickly;
- They help prevent muscle compensation in children with flat feet;
- They can help straighten incorrect leg alignment.
If the pain is not associated with growth, the podiatrist can offer therapeutic methods such as:
- Orthopedic heel pads;
- The use of night splints to properly stretch the calves;
- A targeted exercise program to improve posture;
- Manual foot therapy.
Lastly, if the podiatrist deems that a different underlying pathology is at the root of the pain, they will refer you to another doctor or specialist that is best suited to help your child.
PiedReseau: the most effective way to relieve growing pains
Growing pains can often point toward the presence of a biomechanical imbalance or even a pathology in your child.
In this regard, it is important to see a podiatrist the moment you notice unusual symptoms, such as increased fatigue or an abnormal gait.
Timely intervention will treat a deformity of the feet before it develops into a problem.
Is your child complaining of annoying pain in their feet? Wait no longer and contact your PiedReseau clinic today.