Sneh Children Hospital

Understanding Growing Pain: Symptoms, Causes and Prevention

If your child is waking up frequently at night and complaining of leg pain, it may not be just a ploy to stay up later. These symptoms could be a sign of growing pains, a real phenomenon that affects many children. Growing pains typically occur in two stages of development: between ages 3 and 5, and again between ages 8 and 12 (although they can occur between ages 5 and 8 as well). Fortunately, most children outgrow these pains by adolescence.

Although growing pains are typically harmless, it’s important to distinguish them from potentially serious health issues. Understanding the symptoms of growing pains and when to seek medical attention can help ease any concerns. If you’re unsure whether your child’s discomfort is due to growing pains or something else, don’t hesitate to contact the top pediatrician in Ahmedabad.

About Growing Pains:

It’s important to distinguish between growing pains and growth spurts. Growing pains specifically affect the musculoskeletal system, while growth spurts are simply periods of rapid growth. Typically, growing pains will cause discomfort in a child’s legs, particularly the thighs, and may even wake them up in the middle of the night. However, by morning the pain will have subsided and the child will be able to resume normal activities without any issues. 

Cause of Growing Pains:

The exact cause of growing pains in children is still unknown, and some children may be more susceptible to them than others. While there are several theories about what may increase a child’s risk of experiencing growing pains, there is no definitive answer.

Overactivity: Parents have reported that their children’s growing pains seem to intensify after particularly active days. However, it’s important to distinguish between growing pains and overuse injuries that can occur in sports. For example, the discomfort from a shin splint may be mistaken for growing pains. It’s helpful to keep track of your child’s activity level and observe if there is a correlation with their pain at home.

Hypermobility: Hypermobility, also known as being double-jointed, is a condition that affects approximately 20% of people. It can affect a few joints or every joint in the body and is often hereditary. While hypermobility itself does not cause growing pains, studies have shown that children who are double-jointed are more likely to experience growing pains.

Symptoms of Growing Pains:

Growing pains in children are not easily diagnosed through tests or scans. However, there are some common symptoms to look out for, such as pain in the shins, calves, thighs, or behind the knee. The pain may be aching or stabbing and typically occurs in the afternoon or at night, especially around bedtime or after a few hours of sleep. 

It may also affect both sides of the body, but not necessarily every time. Fortunately, the soreness usually disappears by the morning and can be relieved with massage, heat, or over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol or Motrin.

When to See the Doctor for Children’s Growing Pain?

Child experience growing pain: If your child is experiencing persistent pain, it’s important to contact their pediatric doctor in Ahmedabad. While growing pains can happen occasionally, if the pain is happening every night for weeks or during the day, it’s important to seek medical attention. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s doctor if you have concerns about their pain.

Other symptoms than pain: If your child is experiencing pain accompanied by swelling that does not decrease or worsens after 24 hours, muscle lumps, redness or warmth over the affected area, fever, dark urine, or swelling, it is important to seek medical attention. These symptoms may indicate a more serious underlying condition and should not be ignored.

Experiencing pain in a specific area: If you are experiencing pain in a specific area such as your hip, thigh, or knee, it is important to see a doctor to rule out other potential causes such as a fracture or infection. Identifying the source of the pain is crucial in determining the appropriate treatment plan.

In addition, If your child is experiencing pain that is causing them to limp, it may be necessary to have an X-ray taken to determine if there is a fracture or break. Growing pains are a common occurrence in children and are typically characterized by pain that occurs at night, affects both sides of the body, and is not visibly apparent. If your child is experiencing these symptoms, it is likely that they are experiencing growing pains.

Dr. Khanjan Shah

Dr. Khanjan Shah

Dr. Khanjan Shah, M.D. in Pediatrics with a Fellowship in Pediatric Critical Care, is the author of this article. He ensures that all information provided from Sneh Children Hospital is backed by thorough research conducted by himself and other specialists, guaranteeing authenticity and reliability.