Growing Pains in Children: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Growing Pains in Children

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As a parent, you do everything to ensure that your child is in the best of health. But when she is in pain, you feel helpless as there is not much you can do to alleviate that.

Is your child complaining of leg pain at night? Growing or leg pain is a normal occurrence in childhood, usually some preschoolers and pre-teens feel in both legs. This is not a disease but a common symptom among children in the age groups of 3 to 5, and 8 to 12 years. These growing pains in children disappear later.

What Is Growing Or Leg Pain In Children?

Growing pains are cramping, aches in the muscles that usually occur in the lower legs. They are also described as throb in the legs – often behind the knees, the front of the thighs or in the calves. They tend to affect both the legs. This child leg pain develops in the late noons or evenings, and it also makes your child wake from sleep.

Though the pain is distressing, it is for a short term and do not cause any harm.

[ Read: Knee Pain In Children ]

Causes Of Growing Pains In Children:

The cause of growing pain in s is unknown. The pain is usually mistaken to be due to the bone growth. However, bones grow slowly even during growth spurts, and slower growth will not cause any pain.

Some children experience growing pains on and off for years, but the aches go mild once the kids reach mid-adolescence. Some have pains when they indulge in physical activities like running and playing.

The reasons for the leg pain in kids can be:

Poor Posture:

Sitting, standing or walking puts a great strain on the muscles that support the body. Also, children who have flat feet experience more pain.

Muscular Tiredness:

Indulging in high physical activity can cause an ache in the muscles in some children. It is not necessary that being physically active always brings pains.

Emotional Upset:

Stress, worry or anxiety can also trigger pains.

Growing pains do not affect your child’s walking or running. But if you find your little one limping, complaining of pain at daytime or soreness in the leg, you should immediately see a healthcare provider.

[ Read: Joint Pain In Children ]

Symptoms Of Growing Pains In Children:

Children experience a different kind of pains. The symptoms of growing pains include:

  • Muscular pains in both the legs, especially behind the knee, front of the thigh and calf region.
  •  Movement of the legs will not worsen the pain.
  • Pain is occasional, occurring continuously or a few times in a week.
  • Aches develop around late noon or evening.
  • Pain worsens during the night, especially when the child goes to sleep.
  • It is so severe that it wakes your little one from sleep, but disappears by morning.
  • The arm muscles are affected.
  • Occasional complaining of headaches and abdominal pain.

Some children outgrow these pains in a few years.

When Should You See A Doctor?

When you plan to visit a doctor, it is important that you remember a few things.

  • Kids leg pain are felt in both the legs.
  • Pain in just one leg could be a sign of some serious condition.
  • They will only affect muscles, not the joints.
  • They do not cause fever or limping.

Check with your child’s doctor if leg pain:

  •  Stays longer.
  • Continues in the morning.
  • Is so severe that it interferes with the primary activities of your child.
  • Is due to an injury.
  • Develops in the joints.
  • Is due to weight loss.
  •  Is accompanied by symptoms like redness, swelling, fever, tenderness, rash, limping, weakness or loss of appetite.

There may be other signs that require you to seek a doctor’s help.

Diagnosing Growing Pains:

The doctor diagnoses growing pains by observing your child and asking questions regarding medical history and signs.

One symptom that is useful in making the diagnosis is how a child responds when in pain. Children who suffer pain from any serious medical reason do not like to be handled. However, those with growing pains feel better when held, cuddled or massaged.

If your child is having growing pains, your doctor will not observe anything abnormal while performing a physical examination. X-ray and blood tests are not required. They are done in rare cases.

[ Read: Muscle Pain In Children ]

Treatment For Growing Pains In Children:

Want to know what to do for growing pains in children? There is no specific treatment, but you can manage the pain by following some measures.

  • Cuddles and reassurance will keep the pain away, and kids can feel normal by morning.
  • Massage the pain causing area with oils, not only to ease the pain but also to make your little one feel special.
  • Treatments like heat packs and warm baths help to relieve the pain.
  • If growing pains are due to flat feet, and your child trips frequently, check with a podiatrist.

Home Remedies For Growing Pains:

The following remedies can help ease your child’s discomfort:


Children respond well to gentle massages. Rub your little one’s legs so that they feel good. They also feel good when cuddled or held.

2.Heating Pad:

Heat helps relieve sore muscles. Give heat pad treatment before sleep or whenever your child complains of pain. Giving a warm bath before sleep also helps.

3.Pain Relievers:

Give your child Acetaminophen or Paracetamol, but only after consulting a doctor. You should not give Aspirin as it may cause Reye’s syndrome.


Stretching exercises work effectively. Performing stretching exercises during the day will help to prevent leg pain during the night. Find out with the doctor about the right kind of stretches that contribute to treating the leg pains in children.

If your child is upset with recurrent pains, assure him that these pains only indicate good health and will not last long.

Have you kids undergone such pain anytime? How did you deal with it? Do share your experiences with other parents in the comment section below.

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