Pediatric HealthSource

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Q: Recently, my 8-year-old son has been complaining of a dull ache in his feet and legs. He plays soccer, but the pain doesn't necessarily occur around the times when he's playing. Are these just growing pains?

A: Many of you reading this may be dealing with a child who has experienced pain during peak growing years. Growth spurts leave children vulnerable because bones often grow faster than muscles and tendons, causing them to be tight and put stress on growth plates found at the end of growing bones.

Sometimes this is just pain that is of no real concern and does not limit a child's function or activity, but in some situations this can be more of a problem. Oftentimes, children who are more active and participate in regular sport suffer the most.

There is not necessarily a "cure" for these conditions, but there are treatments that can be done to help relieve pain. You can ice the affected area for 10 minutes to 15 minutes daily, stretch the muscles around the affected area daily, and limit painful activities.

It's important to know when to seek medical attention. If you notice that your child is limping during or after activity, is experiencing a decrease in his or her ability to perform activities, is experiencing pain at rest or increase swelling, then you should seek medical attention.

The best thing to do is be proactive, make stretching a part of your child's normal routine, and have planned breaks from sporting activities. Be sure to consult your child's primary care physician if you have any concerns.

-Jenny Borda, PT, DPT is a physical therapist at Nationwide Children's Hospital at our Dublin Sports Medicine facility.