Growing Pain In Children- Causes, Symptoms, And Treatments

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Do you know that the musculoskeletal system of a child causes growing pain or leg pain? In such a condition, your child will often complain about their legs hurting. Mostly, kids who are involved in physical activities like sports face this problem more. While your child is running, jumping, or climbing, it creates wear and tears in their muscle tissue. This wear and tear will cause pain in the muscles rather than the bones and joints. Your child will often wake up in the middle of the night because the achy pain or cramp won’t let him/her sleep.

They will go through growing pain in two phases. The first phase strikes when your child is around 3 to 4 years old; after that, about 8 to 12 years old in the preteen phase. More importantly, research has not yet proved that this pain directly connects with the growth spurts. Overall, this pain is harmless to your child’s health. It is a very natural condition and will gradually reduce when your child reaches adolescence.

Do All Children Experience Growing Pain?

This statement is controversial to make because the pain comes and goes in childhood. Some children don’t experience this pain, while others want to get rid of it. Every child experiences growing pains at different levels, but some children feel it a lot more.

This pain could range from a few minutes to a few hours. It could be very painful or mild, and children may feel it in different areas of the legs. The areas that may experience growing pain include the front or shin of the leg, the back part of the lower leg or calves, the thighs, and the knees. There is also muscular pain in the legs that come late at night and vanish in the morning. Your child’s pain will occur in the leg, but the pain’s time and location may vary.

How Can You Find Out If Your Child Has Growing Pain?

There is no medical tool by which the diagnosis of the pain can be made. The doctor may perform a question and answer session with your child. Make sure you inform the doctor about any other growing symptom or problems your child might be facing. It will help eliminate the possible causes of the growing pain, or it can also help eliminate any other issue your child might be having. So meeting a doctor is very beneficial.

A physical touch on the area of pain will not hurt your child, but be a relief. But if your child is suffering from any other serious medical condition, They will get irritated if the affected area of the leg is touched. In both cases, the doctor will perform some preliminary observational tests and prescribe medicines for treatment.

When to meet your pediatric orthopedic doctor?

Growing pain is alright as long as your child can bear it, and it does not hamper his/her daily activities. But, by chance, if it worsens, you should consider taking your child to a pediatric orthopedic doctor.

Some special situations like too much pain at night time is when your child will require a specialized doctor, a second opinion is necessary. A proper diagnosis is especially needed when:

  • Your child has a fever, or he/she is suffering from excessive weight loss, and The pain is linked only in a specific region of the leg.
  • Your child’s pain is increasing as time passes.
  • Your child has a limping problem.
  • There may be abnormal joints symptoms in the legs like redness, swelling, tenderness, and warmth in the growing pain area. He/she is also experiencing a problem of restricted motion.

How Do You Treat This Problem In Your Child?

Even though growing pain is a natural phenomenon, some children cannot bear the pain. A lack of sleep at night will affect the physiological health of your child. So, if he /she is facing such an issue, a small amount of medication and treatment can be given, which will also act as a safety factor during extreme conditions.

Prevention or avoidance of growing pain is not possible. However, your child may feel better due to some practices as prescribed by the doctors. We have mentioned a few points that can give relief to your kid:

  • You can massage the painful area when the pain is maximum.
  • Stretching the muscles in the painful area can be another treatment mode that can make your child feel better and have a sound sleep at night.
  • Your child may be prescribed some medicines after the pain has started. Consumption of this medication may not heal the condition but can minimize the pain. Anti-inflammatory drugs fall under this category.
  • Warm baths or showers can have a good impact on the painful muscle area.

Growing pain in kids is nothing to be concerned about until some complications arise. It is a prevalent problem we see in kids. Growing pains can give sleepless nights to many kids. Your pediatrician may recommend some measures that will provide relief to your child.

Dr. Ratnav Ratan
Dr. Ratnav Ratan
Pediatric Orthopedist and Sports Medicine specialist​

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