Growing Pains in legs: Sign, Cause & Treatment


What is growing pain?

Growing pain is an ache/throbbing pain in the legs, mainly in the front of the thigh, calf, or behind the knees. It tends to affect both legs and primarily come in the night, may even wake up a child from sleep.

Sign & Symptoms of Growing Pain :

The child will have pain in the leg, especially in the thigh, calf & behind the knee. There will not be any swelling or redness. Usually comes in midnight and late evening but disappear by morning. These pain don’t interfere with playing sports. This pain came and went off and on. Most common in 3-4 years of age. But may reappear in 8-12 years of age.

How to diagnose :

Diagnosis of growing pain can be made by taking a detailed history of the child. In most cases doesn’t need any investigation. If we are in doubt, then we do an x-ray or blood investigation.

Risk factor :

Growing pains are common in preschool and school-age children. They’re slightly more common in girls than in boys. Running, climbing, or jumping during the day might increase the risk of leg pain at night.

Home care by the doctor for growing pains :

Gentle massage with oil gives good relief to the child. Heat application & warm bath before bedtime also helps in relieving the pain. Pain killer should be avoided if possible. Stretching exercise in the daytime may prevent pain at night. Parents are advised to increase liquid intake to the child.

When to get an appointment with Doctor :

Suppose the child has any symptoms like persistent pain in the morning interfere with the child’s activities, pain in the joint, history of trauma, and other symptoms like swelling, pain, tenderness, fever, limp weakness, etc. In that case, parents need to consult a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.

What are the Treatment :

There is no specific treatment for growing pains. They don’t affect growth & became less painful with time. Oil massage, stretching exercise, vitamin D & calcium supplement is being advised to parents for same. Rest assured to parents regarding the good outcomes in most of the cases.

Leg Deformities X-Ray - 1
Limb Deformities X-Ray - 2

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most common causes of growing pain?

Muscular pain in the legs without any obvious cause is the most common sign of growing pain.

What are the common treatment available for growing pain?

Massage and stretching exercises are commonly used as primary treatments for growing pain.

When should parent concerned about childhood pain?

Parents should look out for the following symptoms:-

  1. Swelling
  2. Stiffness
  3. Redness
  4. Walking with a limp
  5. Continuous pain in a particular area.

Last Updated Recently

Dr. Jitendra Kumar Jain is a famous name in the field of childhood physical disability pediatric orthopedic problems in North India. He has been an MS Orthopedics, DNB Orthopedics, Pediatric orthopedic surgeon & also a cerebral palsy specialist for over 21 years.

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