Growing Pains

Growing pains are a common complaint among children, typically occurring between the ages of 3 and 12. Despite the name, there is no firm evidence that they are directly related to growth spurts. The pain usually occurs in the late afternoon or early evening, and sometimes wakes the child up at night. It generally affects both legs, particularly the thighs, calves, or behind the knees.

The best treatment for growing pains generally involves symptom management, as the condition itself is considered benign and usually resolves on its own over time. Common treatment options include:

  1. Pain Relief: Over-the-counter pain medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used as advised by a healthcare provider.
  2. Warm Compresses: Applying a warm cloth or heating pad to the affected area can help relieve discomfort. 
  3. Massage: Gentle massaging of the sore muscles can be comforting.
  4. Stretching and exercising: Simple leg stretches can sometimes alleviate muscle tightness and pain.
  5. Rest: Ensuring the child gets adequate sleep may help in overall well-being and may alleviate some symptoms. 
  6. Reassurance: Providing emotional support and comfort can often be effective, as the pain can be distressing for the child.

While growing pains are generally harmless, physiotherapist can help with creating exercises to help with managing and improving pain. However, it’s important to consult your GP to rule out other potential causes of pain, especially if the pain is severe, localised, persistent, or accompanied by other symptoms like swelling, redness, or fever.

Exercise and physical activity can be beneficial for overall health and well-being in children, but the relationship between exercise and growing pains is not entirely clear. There is no firm evidence to suggest that moderate exercise can directly alleviate growing pains. In fact, strenuous activity might even temporarily exacerbate the symptoms in some cases.

However, regular, moderate exercise can contribute to overall muscle tone and health, which might have some indirect benefits in managing the symptoms of growing pains. Exercise can also help improve sleep quality, which can be disrupted due to growing pains.

If a child is experiencing growing pains, it may be helpful to engage in low-impact activities that don’t put too much strain on the legs, such as swimming or cycling, as opposed to high-impact sports like running or jumping.

It’s crucial to consult a physiotherapist for a proper diagnosis and personalised treatment plan if your child is experiencing persistent leg pain.

No, surgery is not a treatment option for growing pains, as they are generally considered a benign condition that resolves on its own over time. The primary approach to managing growing pains is symptomatic relief, often involving over-the-counter pain medications, warm compresses, massage, stretching and strengthening exercises. 

If the pain is severe or persistent, or if it’s accompanied by other symptoms like swelling, redness, or fever, it’s important to consult a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. In such cases, the symptoms may be due to another medical condition that requires different treatment.

Chews Health top tip for growing pains

Having made sure there are no serious reasons behind growing pains, one of the most effective and commonly recommended tips for managing growing pains is the application of a warm compress or heating pad to the affected area coupled with a suitable exercise program. This can help relax the muscles and alleviate discomfort. Pair this with a gentle massage to further ease the pain.

Our Specialists

Melanie Clarke
Melanie Clarke
2023-02-22
We’ll be forever grateful to Chews, the guys are the absolute BEST IN CLASS when it comes to a fully tailored recovery plan. Our son is a young elite competitive acrobatic gymnast who sadly had a high impact fall at gymnastics dislocating and fracturing his elbow and needed surgery, for a gymnast that trains many hours over 4 days week it was devastating blow, especially with GB competitions coming up. Once out of cast (wk 4 post opp) we started 2 x weekly physio sessions with Richard Saxton (who specialises in child’s physio), he was thorough, diligent and his amazing assessments fully supported the coaches at our sons gym to help build a safe recovery plan. The sessions with Richard and Sanford were fun, engaging and they took great care to help improve full mobility and strength. At week 7 post op our son was doing skills we thought would have taken 4mths to achieve, by week 10 he was back to full impact training, even our hospital follow up with the senior elbow consultant was blown away by the physio support we’d had and the rapid recovery. If it wasn’t for Chews we 100% would not be back training this quickly and not have had the reassurances it was safe to do so…..we’ve definitely found a physio for life. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts Team Chews. From Mel & JJ x x
Ruth Shearn
Ruth Shearn
2023-02-21
Have waited a few months post-treatment to write a review - just to be certain! Quite simply, I can't recommend these guys highly enough. I went to them with two badly damaged knees (miniscus tears). Having had three arthroscopes over the years, I was completely resigned to needing surgical intervention again. The Chews team had different ideas. After showing me the latest research findings, they assured me my knees could be rehabilitated without a scalpel. I had just a handful of sessions with them and am delighted to report that, six months on, my knees are great! I'm running 5k twice a week (don't laugh, I loathe running and am no spring chicken) without any pain and have taken up tennis. Everyone at Chews is passionate about their subject, knowledgeable, reassuring and friendly. I wouldn't go anywhere else.
Dave Stuart
Dave Stuart
2023-02-06
I have had a chronic back condition to varying degrees for many years which more recently has forced me to have weeks off work at a time. I was recommended Chews Health by a colleague having tried other physios in the past. However, I always felt that something was missing from the plan. My back muscles would on occasion go into spasm, or my disk to impinge on my nerve, affecting my mobility and effectively setting me back to square one. I came to Chews health a bit wary and was considering surgery due to how much my back was affecting my quality of life and mental health. It has not been a straight forward recovery, but i have made significant progress through having a thorough history taken, my ongoing concerns listened to, and being provided with a clear explanation of not only the exercise plan but additionally explaining why my body was responding in varying ways. This has educated about my condition and provided me with the tools to self manage my condition more effectively should it deteriorate again.. It has not been plain sailing, but I have absolute faith in Jack and his team.
lobo
lobo
2023-01-09
I had to attend Chews Health for help with pain in my elbow and they have been a fantastic help. I am now back to 100%.
The S
The S
2023-01-05
I can thoroughly recommend Chews Health physio. Sessions from diagnosis to rehabilitation are stimulating as well as therapeutic. Jack’s holistic, insightful approach goes beyond fixing the initial problem - he builds the confidence and self-knowledge to help maintain fitness and avoid strains and niggling injuries in the future. His message that the body needs exposure to regular challenges has inspired my journey towards optimum health.
Sam Butler
Sam Butler
2022-12-21
Excellent physiotherapy. After ACL and meniscus surgery I contacted Chews Health to find out about how they could help me feel more confident about returning to more intense sport after my injury. I felt listened to and we worked on a series of different of exercises that tested my knee. Very helpful and I now feel much more confident in my abilities.
feralie Bennett
feralie Bennett
2022-11-23
I saw Richard Saxton for a chronic pain in my achillies. 2 visits, with massage and exercises: clear concise instruction, both written and verbal to do at home were realistic & adapted for my ability - I now no longer require pain relief & can walk the dogs pain free & even manage a few hills. A follow up call to review my progress was also appreciated. The clinic was clean & well equipped. Would highly recommend.
Philip Conroy
Philip Conroy
2022-11-16
When I had severe back pain I was seen within 24 hours. The problem was resolved after 3 weeks of physiotherapy and exercises. I subsequently took up the annual gym membership package which includes regular reviews by the Physiotherapists. I feel this has benefitted me greatly as I had no previous experience of gyms and ensured I was using the equipment in the correct manner. At all times the staff have been very friendly and professional.
Maureen Morris
Maureen Morris
2022-11-10
Helped me tremendously. Lovely people - everyone very very supportive.
Cecilia Wright
Cecilia Wright
2022-10-31
I had been suffering from plantar fasciitis for some months and went Chews Health in the summer for shockwave treatment, after my podiatrist said she had heard good reports about it. Until then I had been resting, exercising it, icing it, using insoles etc., none of which had made much difference. I booked six treatments at the start (recommended) and by the time of the last treatment It was hardly noticeable, so much better! I’ve had two further treatments over the last month, just to be on the safe side, and I’m doing some exercises now to build up the strength in my calf and foot. Chews Health comes with heartfelt recommendations from me, they are friendly, very knowledgeable and best of all - they have fixed my sore foot!