Is It Growing Pains or Something Else Entirely?

In a previous blog post, I’ve already discussed what growing pains are, and how to treat them. Growing pains are quite normal, and are a somewhat painful reality that every child has to go through on their way to adulthood.

Growing pains are often a delayed reaction to an extremely physical activity done earlier in the day. Unfortunately, they can also be confused with other serious medical conditions, which is why you need to be on your guard when your child is complaining about achy limbs. There are many illnesses associated with aching limbs among young children, such as chronic rheumatic disease and childhood arthritis.

It can be tricky to differentiate growing pains from other medical problems, but here are the four signs to watch out for:

Pain is experienced in the morning. Growing pains usually happen in the late afternoons or early evenings, and are often gone right away. If pain continues to persist in the morning, there could be something more to it.

Pain is in the joints. Growing pains are usually located on the calves or behind the knees. They do not manifest in the joints.

Pain affects only one area. Growing pains are usually bilateral in nature, meaning the pain happens to both sides of the body. If your child’s pain occurs in one leg—not in both legs—it could be a symptom of something else.

Pain is visible. Growing pains should not leave behind any signs, so if they are accompanied by bruising, swelling, rashes, or redness, it could be something else entirely.

No one knows your child better than you. When in doubt, it is always best to consult with a San Diego pediatric orthopedic doctor to rule out other diseases. Having an early diagnosis is the key to your child’s recovery and healing.

How to Prevent Skateboarding Injuries

Skateboarding is very popular among children and teenagers. But since it is an extreme sport, it is practically impossible to prevent an injury from happening. According to OrthoInfo, skateboarding-related injuries accounted for more than 78,000 visits to the emergency room among children and adolescents in 2011.

You can lessen the risk of your child getting an injury by constantly reminding him or her to take safety precautions. Here are some of the things to remind your kid once he or she is about to go skateboarding:

Wear protective gear.

Yes, wearing a helmet is very important, but other parts of the body need to be protected as well. Using protective equipment such as knee and elbow pads, wrist guards, and slip-resistant shoes will reduce fractures, sprains, and bruising as well as prevent gravel burns if your child falls from the skateboard.

Invest in a high-quality skateboard.

The skateboard your child is using should be in a great condition and age-appropriate. It also needs to be checked before every ride to see if there are any loose parts or cracked wheels.

Skate in a controlled environment.

Know where your child is going to skate. Skate parks are the safest places to skate because they are far from pedestrians and vehicle traffic. On the other hand, tell your kid to avoid homemade ramps and crowded places when going skating. Advise your kid to inspect the riding terrain first and to avoid skateboarding in rough or uneven surfaces.

Know your limits.

Advise your child not to ride beyond his or her abilities. Your child might be tempted to try out tricks that they have seen from watching the pros. Advise them against doing advanced skating tricks outside of their skill level without mastering the basics first.

In the event of a skateboarding injury, I highly encourage you to consult with a San Diego orthopedic surgeon to ensure the safety of your child.

Yes, There is Such a Thing as ‘Growing Pains’

The term ‘growing pains’ is not just an expression. What many parents do not know is that this is an actual medical condition experienced by pediatric and adolescent patients.

Growing pains usually happens to children who are experiencing rapid growth. These pains happen in two phases: during early childhood for children between the ages of 3 to 5, and during pre-puberty for children between the ages of 8 to 12.

These growing pains are often experienced by children in their calves, thighs, and knees. They often happen during late afternoons and early evenings, and are typically localized. Most experts attribute them to muscular tiredness, especially if the child has exerted a lot of physical activities for the day.

How to Treat Growing Pains

Since this is a non-traumatic injury, treatment can be done at home by icing and gently massaging the affected area, as well as taking anti-inflammatory drugs and having plenty of rest. The achiness and pain will usually go away overnight.

To prevent this from happening again, I would suggest that you encourage your child to take part in various sports. This way, all the muscle groups in your kid’s body will be given a workout, instead of overstraining the same muscles day in and day out.

When to Seek Professional Treatment

Although ‘growing pains’ are quite common among children, they should not be completely disregarded. If your child’s ‘growing pains’ do not subside and continue to worsen, or if the muscles seem to be overly tender, consider making an appointment with a San Diego pediatric orthopedic doctor.

If these aches and pains remain untreated, they could worsen and lead to a more serious injury. Drop by my clinic to determine if what your kid has is just growing pains, or if it is something else entirely.