Growing Pains

Does your child frequently complain about aches and pains in his legs? If so, he is likely experiencing growing pains, a common condition seen in children between the ages of 2-5 and again between the ages of 8-12. Although these pains are referred to as growing pains, no evidence has ever linked bone growth as a cause of pain.


Growing pains are more likely the result of energetic children who may be experiencing muscle aches from regular physical activity. However, activity isn’t always the cause and the pain kids feel isn’t the same as when you strain a muscle during strenuous exercise. Kids who don’t get enough calcium or vitamin D may also suffer from growing pains.


Kids describe growing pains as an aching pain, but it may also be referred to as an intense feeling in their thighs, calves or behind their knees. They are infrequent and don’t occur every day. Growing pains may happen for a few days in a row and then go away, or, they may only happen occasionally over the course of a few weeks or months. Growing pains usually occur in the afternoon or before bedtime, but have been known to wake a sleeping child. Growing pains usually last less than 2 hours.

Growing pains are pains in the muscles, not in the joints. If your child has pain in the knees or joints, it could be a sign of another condition, like rheumatoid arthritis. Growing pains don’t:

If your child is in so much pain that he can’t walk, another cause is likely.



If your child experiences any of the following, call your pediatrician for an evaluation:

It’s important to remember that growing pains cause real pain. Just because you can’t find something seriously wrong doesn’t mean your child is faking having the pain. Growing pains are real, but the good news is they will pass as your child grows.

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