Your toddler complains of foot pain. How do you respond? Are you the type who is quick to dismiss it as what's commonly referred to as "growing pains," or do you check with a pediatric podiatrist?
The truth is that whether or not the foot pain is due to growing pains, the diagnosis should be left to a qualified expert. Here is what you should know about growing pains.
It's Not About Growth Spurts
There has been a lot of misinformation to the effect that the foot pain commonly referred to as growing pains is tied to child development and happens when your child is going through a growth spurt. In reality, it has been shown that skeletal growth and development is so slow, and the body is built to adjust to the growth without feeling any pain.
Medical professionals agree that activity and overuse may cause muscle fatigue and strain, which may manifest as foot pain at night. Do some follow-up, and you shouldn't be too surprised to find out that your child will complain of foot pain after an activity-filled day spent playing and running around too much.
Proper Treatment for Growing Pains
Using an x-ray or MRI, a pediatric podiatrist can correctly diagnose growing pains. If there is no other reason for concern, the podiatrist will recommend a treatment course to not only stop the foot pain but also prevent its recurrence.
The podiatrist will also focus on addressing any present foot instability issues, which only make muscle overuse and injury worse. Likely approaches include stretching and muscle strengthening exercises and recommending appropriate orthotics. You will also get expert advice on proper footwear for your child to prevent or reduce the strain on their foot muscles.
What If It's Not Growing Pains?
It could be growing pains, but it could also be something else. This is the more reason why you cannot afford to assume the cause of the foot pain your child is experiencing and must see the foot doctor.
Some conditions do mimic the symptoms of growing pains and may get worse if not given the necessary attention as soon as possible. You will, therefore, be doing your child a disservice by waiting around for the foot pain to go away on its own.
You have every reason to worry if your child complains of foot pain, especially if it's not the one-off kind. Growing pains or not, let an expert be the one to diagnose and treat the pain. Contact a podiatrist to learn more.