What causes growing pains in children?

Many things get branded as “growing pains” but just because there's pain in a developing child does not mean it's a real growing pain. It is possible to dismiss pain in a growing child as growing pains. A genuine growing pain only happens at night and not during the day. The pain is also in the upper calf muscle and behind the knee. If the pain takes place during the day and in another location than the rear of the leg and knee, then it is not a true growing pain and is most likely due to something else that should be investigated. Generally, it only occurs in younger children and awakens the child during the night. There will be no history of trauma or any kind of injury to the location that the pain happens in.

Growing pains usually are relatively harmless and self-limiting, in that they do come right after eventually. Nevertheless, they could be distressing to the child and parents at the time and, more importantly, there are a few serious and uncommon conditions which may have signs similar to growing pains, so each case does need to be considered seriously and investigated to eliminate the other possible causes. The repercussions of neglecting these rare causes of similar symptoms is serious.

The typical treatment for growing pains is simply reassurance of the child. They need to be comforted and helped to get back to sleep. Gentle massage or rubbing of the leg will in most cases be useful. In some instances medication may be used to help the pain and relieve the returning to sleep. Stretching before going to bed and if the pain occurs might also be useful. Of most importance is education about the nature of growing pains and that it will pass and an evaluation of those possible rare and serious causes of the discomfort.




Leave a Reply