‘Growing Pains,’ Is There Actually Such A Thing?

Parents frequently hear their children complain of aches and pains that affect their lower extremities. Some parents and even pediatricians attribute that to “growing pains.” But is there such a thing as growing pains? In this article we will take a look at some conditions that affect lower extremities in kids.

Sever’s Apophysitis

Sever’s apophysitis is a condition that affects children of the ages 8-14. Boys are more commonly affected than girls. Typical symptoms include pain in the back of the heel, which is worse with and after activities. The affected foot does not normally look any different than the unaffected foot. There is no noticeable swelling or bruising. X-rays also do not show any visible pathology.

Clinically, the patient will complain of pain when the heel bone is squeezed. Normally there is no history of trauma, however, trauma can also trigger this painful condition. Predisposing factors include high level of athletic involvement (doing more than one sport at a time), body weight, tightness of the calf muscles, flat feet and improper shoes (flip flops or flats).

Although Sever’s apophysitis is self-limiting, meaning that it eventually resolves by itself, it is best to have it evaluated and treated, as it may take a long time (months and, in some cases, years) until the symptoms go away.

Due to the intensity of symptoms, aggressive treatment is recommended and includes modification of activities, rest, ice, massage , anti-inflammatory medications, heel lifts in shoes, custom orthotics (inserts in shoes), calf stretches, and physical therapy. In severe cases, cast immobilization for 2-4 weeks is helpful. Overall, the prognosis for Sever’s apophysitis is excellent.

Iselin’s Disease

Iselin’s disease is inflammation of the growth plate of the fifth metatarsal base. Just like Sever’s apophysitis, Iselin’s affects physically-active children between ages of 8 and 14.

The most common sports leading to this condition include soccer, gymnastics, dance and basketball. Iselin’s apophysitis is an overuse condition of the base
of the fifth metatarsal. Tight calf muscles, high arch and flat foot type are predisposing factors.

Your child will complain of pain along the outer edge of the foot that is worse with activity and improves with rest. He/she may limp or walk on the inside of the foot.

The growth center may be enlarged, red, and painful to the touch as compared to the other side.

Treatments are similar to those of Sever’s apophysitis: modification of activities, ice, anti-inflammatory medications, custom orthotics, calf stretches, and in severe cases- cast immobilization.

Osgood-Schlatter

OSGOOD-SCHLATTER is a common cause of knee pain in children ages 10 to 15. It occurs due to a period of rapid growth, combined with a high level of sporting activity.

Osgood-Schlatter sounds far more frightening than it actually is. It is a common cause of knee pain in children ages 10 to 15. It occurs due to a period of rapid growth, combined with a high level of sporting activity.

These changes result in a pulling force from the patella tendon on the tibial tuberosity (bony protrusion at the top of the shin). This area then becomes inflamed, painful and swollen. Typical presentation includes pain over the tibial tuberosity, which is worse with and after athletic activities.

The area may become visibly inflamed and even larger in size than the unaffected side. Treatments include rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications, quadriceps stretching, bracing (knee support knee strap to decrease tension on the patellar tendon) and physical therapy.

If you are at all concerned about your child, make an appointment today.

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About Your feet and podiatry with Caron Orelowitz | Registered Podiatrist - Auckland

Caron Orelowitz was born in Johannesburg and emigrated to New Zealand in 1997. She studied Podiatry at The Witwatersrand Technikon and was in private practice in South Africa for a few years, before setting off to ‘the other side of the world’. Auckland Podiatry. Since 1998 she has been helping people of all ages who have problems with their feet, from the elderly, to sports people, and those who just want some TLC for the feet. At present she has 5 practices (with a satellite Diabetes Practice out West Auckland), owns a children’s shoe shop (Scooters in Remuera), and tries to fit in some exercise when time permits. Caron is an active member of Podiatry New Zealand (NZ), and holds the position of Treasurer for the Auckland Branch, as well as representing the Northern Region on the Executive Council. She is registered under HPCAA (Health Practitioner Competency Assurance Act), and is often seen attending (and organizing) Seminars and workshops. Caron has a special interest in Paediatrics and can often be seen on the floor showing children some exercises. ACC registered Discounts for Super Gold Card Holders, members of Grey Power and Green Prescription participants. www.thepodiatrist.co.nz www.yourfeet.co.nz

Posted on July 4, 2011, in Contact a Podiatrist, Your feet and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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