Your feet are one of your best assets in life and when pain or discomfort strikes, the limitations placed on your lifestyle can be tremendous and this also applies to your children.

Painful feet in children can have a significant impact on their health and happiness. Inactive kids are unhappy kids and unhappy kids equate to unhappy parents.

The foot is a very complex structure, made up of 26 bones which all grow and fuse at varying rates and time periods. During childhood, many children will complain of pain in their upper legs, calf muscles, knees and feet.

More often than not your doctor or other healthcare provider will tell you that your child just has simple growing pains and there’s nothing to worry about and nothing can be done to treat this problem, which is true and false at the same time.

As a parent, it is important to realise that growing pains are not a myth, and your child is not making up excuses, just so they don’t have to clean their room. The discomfort felt from growing pains often result from an imbalance between different muscle groups and this imbalance results in muscle discomfort and pain.

Some conditions, which may cause growing pains include

  • Flat Feet
  • Too much joint mobility
  • In-toeing
  • Toe walking

If your child complains of aching legs and feet at night, or after an active day running at school or after playing sport, it is important to have a full assessment and examination by a podiatrist. 

But not just any podiatrist…. 

Go to their website and make sure they have a lot of information on how they perform their foot and lower limb assessments. When it comes to growing pains, you want your child’s foot in experienced hands!

Treatment may include stretching, which can help relax the muscles being overused and strengthening exercises for specific muscles, which are not working effectively will also help to return the balance between the various muscle groups.

It must be noted that no matter how much stretching or strengthening your child does, if there is an underlying foot problem, this must be addressed, which is why seeing a podiatrist should be your first thought, not your last, as podiatrists are the only health professionals trained in foot biomechanics.  

Therefore, along with stretching and strengthening, custom foot supports (orthotics) may be used to correct underlying foot problems and return the lower limb to its proper position.

Only when the foot is in its proper functioning position, can the underlying pathologies be corrected, and muscle balance is restored.

Growing pains should definitely not be ignored, as early treatment can provide your child with significant pain relief. A pain-free child is a happy child and a happy child results in happy parents as well.