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Children and Growth

Children and Growth

Growth is an essential and fascinating process which naturally occurs as children age.

It is rarely at a steady pace, quite often in fits and starts.  The bones grow in length or general dimension and this is enabled by small areas towards the ends of bones called growth plates.  These areas fuse at about 18 in girls and 21 in boys, when growth stops. Muscular development may continue under the influence of various hormones as their shapes fill out.

As bones grow, the muscles have to lengthen and this phase can take a bit longer to happen.  It may create a few of the mechanical challenges which result in some of the injuries/conditions that children present with at our practice.

At times of growth, there are also increased energy demands on the body, again something to consider, so children don’t get overtired or rundown.I encourage parents to monitor children’s growth carefully.  This can be done by measuring them monthly, either standing against the side of a door, or just recording the numbers.

When a growth spurt is noticed:-
1. Encourage children to do more stretching, especially of the back of their legs, calves and hamstrings.  You may notice your child suddenly, can’t get anywhere near touching their toes due to short muscles!
2. Encourage them to be aware of their posture, a fun exercise is to try walking with a book balanced on their heads, or standing up straight against a wall. 
3. Try to make sure children don’t overdo sport for a brief time, reduce levels temporarily to 50% whilst the body needs the extra energy to grow.
4. Sleep, again also really important at times of growth to recharge their energy levels.  The odd super lie-in can be allowed!
5. Keep an eye on their diet. Around growth phases, encourage them to eat more complex carbohydrates and proteins to give good slow-release energy.  Also, a good balance of vitamins and minerals helps.

If we don’t consider these things, children can become injury prone, vulnerable to infections, poor concentration and also emotionally volatile.

Hopefully, you can catch these phases before these become an issue and the transition will become an easy one.

If you would like any help or advice regarding this, any of our osteopathic team would be happy to help.

Enjoy your Summer
Jo Cheaney

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