Are foot posture and functional health different in children with growing pains? Academic Article uri icon


  • The aim of the present paper was to investigate and compare findings of foot posture and functional health between groups of children aged 4-6 years with and without leg pain (described as "growing pains"). The null hypothesis: that there is no difference in measures of either foot posture or functional health between groups of children with and without leg pain.A stratified random sample of children was obtained. The children were identified with and without leg pain using a validated questionnaire for parents. The examiner was blind to the children's pain status. The schools and child care centers were from each geographical quadrant of metropolitan Adelaide and a northern rural region of South Australia. One hundred and eighty children (94 boys, 86 girls) entered and completed the study. Children whose parents returned a completed questionnaire and consent form were entered into the study. All participants were assessed by the one examiner. The foot posture measures used were those found to be most reliable in previous studies and for which the intra-rater reliability of the examiner was ascertained.Initial analysis of foot posture measures between the leg pain and no leg pains groups indicated a statistically significant result for the measure of navicular height, but only on the left side (P = 0.033). Logistic regression modeling showed that navicular height (left foot only) was positively yet weakly related to growing pains (odds ratio, 1.072; 95% confidence interval: 0.991-1.160) and the effect was not significant (P = 0.08). Measures of functional health returned many statistically significant yet weakly correlated relationships.The null hypothesis of the present study was supported in terms of clinical significance. While the foot posture measure of navicular height on the left foot was statistically significant it was not predictive for growing pains nor clinically significant as a measure between groups. The present study does not support the anatomical theory for growing pains and does not find a meaningful relationship between foot posture or functional health measures and leg pain in young children.

publication date

  • December 2007