Growing pains

If your child has pain in their legs in the evening or night, this may be what is known as “growing pains”. Growing pains are harmless – and actually have nothing to do with the child growing. 


The cause of growing pains is unknown, and bone growth is not actually painful. The most likely cause of growing pains is muscle pain caused by overuse during the day. This overuse can come from normal childhood activities, such as running around and playing games, which can be hard on muscles. Growing pains are more likely to happen after a child has had a particularly athletic day.


Growing pains mainly affect children between the ages of 3 and 12. The pain comes in the evening and at night – not during the day – and can last from half an hour to a few hours.


Growing pains manifest themselves in different ways. Some children have severe pains, others do not. Growing pains can appear and disappear. They bother some children for months or even years, but most “outgrow” them within a few years.


It is important to note that with growing pains, not one, but both legs are sore, especially in the front of the hips, back of the legs (in the calf) or behind the knees.
Studies show that children who experience growing pains are also more likely to suffer from headaches and abdominal pain.


Growing pains are a common problem, under which a number of orthopedic problems can be masked. Therefore, for example, if a child complains of pain in the thigh, hip or knee joints, you should definitely contact an orthopedist to rule out the onset of another disease, as early diagnosis is always recommended.


Things that may help ease growing pains include:


  • massaging 
  • stretching
  • placing a heating pad on the area
  • giving ibuprofen or acetaminophen 


Do not give aspirin to a child or teen, as it has been linked to a rare but serious illness called Reye syndrome.

When to consult a doctor

It is important to remember that growing pains are usually felt in both legs. Pain in only one leg can be a sign of a more serious illness. In this case, you need to see a doctor.


Also, do not forget that growth pains affect muscles, not joints. And with this pain there is no limping or fever.


It is necessary to consult a doctor if pain in the legs is accompanied by the following symptoms:


  • lameness
  • it’s difficult for the child to move around
  • increased body temperature
  • joint pain
  • the pain appeared after an injury
  • loss of appetite
  • rash
  • red, warm, painful, swollen joints
  • fatigue, weakness
  • weight loss.

How APPOTEK can help

Our doctors are available for online consultations, individual diagnosis and prescriptions or referrals where necessary.


Vadym Diadiun, Doctor of Medicine, M.D.