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Growing Pains

During your teen years your body is changing a lot and growing too! It won’t have seen such a rapid growth spurt since you were a baby! Perhaps you’ve noticed that you've grown taller than your friends over the summer break and feel a little self-conscious about this.

You might be wondering how long this growth spurt will go on for…or if it will ever start! The fact is that there is no right or wrong age for growth to occur during puberty and we have some facts that may help you feel more confident about the changes occurring to you.

What To Expect

  • The average age for growth to start in girls is 11-12, but just like first periods some will notice these changes earlier or later; between the ages of 7–14. 
  • For most girls' growth will start a year or so after puberty starts, generally after breasts have started to develop.
  • During the fastest growth spurt you can increase in height by up to 8cms a year.
  • Once puberty has arrived and other signs have been noticed this may decrease to around 7cms a year.
  • And once your period has arrived you can expect another couple of years of growth to be experienced but at a much slower rate.
  • Hands and feet are most likely the first things to grow, so it’s no wonder your shoe size changes during your teen years.
  • Next will be the arms and legs.
  • Finally, the spine grows longer and for girls there will be widening of the hips and the pelvis.

Body Aches & Pains

No one knows what causes aches and pains to the legs, arms and thighs during puberty. But many believe it's not your bones growing that causes this discomfort, but instead your muscles tiring as you become more active in your teen years and increased exertion is required to manage this new growth.

These aches and pains are not a sign that you are unwell or need time away from school and gentle stretching on a daily basis should help.

You may be wondering how tall you will be in the future and whilst it is true that height is genetic, this does not mean you will be exactly the same height as your family members, there really is no way to know for sure how tall you will eventually be, and no one is an exact copy of their parents.

Family genes are not the only thing that decide your final height, eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep and lots of exercise will help you grow to your full potential too!

Finally, don't be anxious if you seem to have grown a lot in a very short space of time or feel awkward around friends or boys, it’s a fact that girls experience their growth spurts before boys do, but once growth starts for them, they often grow taller than us.

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Why Am I So Cumsy?

Did you know that this growth spurt is also responsible for clumsiness in teens too? So if you have found yourself tripping over or bumping into things it’s good to know that this is quite normal.

As your height increases it is only natural that your centre of gravity will change too, often leaving teenagers feeling awkward, with legs and arms feeling too long and spindly for their body. This can happen so quickly that the brain does not always keep up keep up with your new size and cannot calculate your surroundings as well as it did before, leaving you feeling self-conscious, accident prone and even a little heavy handed.

Here are some tips to reduce any clumsy episodes in the future and until your brain has matured in line with your body.

Don't Overthink It! - Feeling self-conscious is normal for teenagers and a sign you are becoming aware or yourself and where you fit in this world. But often we can overthink things and the moment you say to yourself, I can’t run for the bus, people will see me” or “I’m going to look silly in PE the brain starts to focus on these thoughts rather than the task ahead, such as running or jumping. So get into the habit of clearing your head and concentrating on the activity you are doing at the time. Chances are everyone else feels the same and will not even notice what you’re up to.

Remove Obstructions- We all like to have our favourite things in our bedroom, but don’t let them start to take over your space and put clothes, shoes, bags away to avoid tripping over them.

Stop & Look - It seems obvious, but how many times have you got up from the sofa and tripped over something because you did not take the time to view your surroundings. So take a few seconds to see what’s around you, has anything changed, has something new been added that was not there before that could cause you to trip, or knock over.

Keep Your Feet On The Ground - Yes, we all love some killer heels but if your body is still adjusting to your new height and ever changing shape, it may be a good idea to switch to flats for a while.

Get A Good Night's Sleep - Research has shown than not getting a good night’s sleep can leave people accident prone and clumsy.

Get To The Core Of It! - Exercise is a great way to increase your balance so consider doing these two simple exercises when you have a few spare minutes.

  • Sway from side to side whilst standing on one foot for a minute, then switch to the other foot.
  • Daily stretches will increase blood flow to the muscles and help with your flexibility.

Remember that everyone has the occasional mishap and it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you, so don’t beat yourself up about the odd trip or if you knock something over it will only ruin your day if you do!


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