What Your Pediatrician Wants You To Know #6
Growing pains are crampy, achy muscle pains that some preschoolers and pre-teens feel in both legs. These pains usually occur in the late afternoon or in the evening, and can even cause your child to wake up in the middle of the night.
Despite what the name suggests, there is no firm evidence linking growing pains to growth spurts. Instead, growing pains may simply be muscle aches due to intense childhood activities such as running, jumping and climbing, which tire your child’s muscles out. You might notice that growing pains are particularly more prevalent after a day full of sports.
Growing pains are different for everyone. Some children experience a lot of pain, while others do not. Most children do not have pain every day, but pain can be experienced for months or even years. The pain is normally felt in the late afternoon and evening, right before dinner time and at bedtime. Growing pains normally disappear by morning, and should not interfere with your child’s ability to play sport or be active. In general, growing pains are felt in both legs, especially in the front of the thighs, in the calves or behind the knees.
How can we ease the pain?
- massage your child’s legs
- stretch the leg muscles (this might be more difficult for younger children)
- place a warm cloth or heating bag on the sore area **Be careful not to burn the skin and don’t use during sleep**
- pain medication before bedtime, especially if your child has had a very busy day
If the pain does not go away or gets worse, or if there is any swelling, tenderness or redness present, contact your child’s doctor to exclude other causes.