The prevailing theory is that the muscle cramps/spasms known as growing pains are actually linked to intense levels of activity common to childhood and subsequent over-use of the muscles, leaving them prone to cramping. The cause of growing pains is unclear. Accessed Aug. 3, 2016. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission. Pain that is only in one leg may be a sign of a more serious condition. 2010;156:838. This overuse can come from normal childhood activity, such as … Are achy legs keeping your child awake at night? When staff repeatedly is spending time dealing with short-term crises, it often is caused by a lack of long-range planning or the absence of a strategic plan. Cause is unknown: A common musculoskeletal complaint in pediatrics , usually occurs at night in a child with normal examination and no symptom during the day. American Family Physician, July 15, 2006, vol 74: pp 294-300. http://www.uptodate.com/home. WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Make a donation. Doctors don't believe that growing actually causes pain, but growing pains stop when kids stop growing. Most kids do not have pain every day. A doctor can usually diagnose growing pains by examining your child and asking questions about their medical history and symptoms. Sever’s disease is a common heel injury in adolescents. These are contributing factors of growing pains. What Are Growing Pains? Kliegman RM, et al. This is why it is important to see the doctor if you think your child has growing pains or any limb pain. Maybe you keep sitting in an uncomfortable way. Growing pains aren't a disease. This content does not have an English version. They're slightly more common in girls than in boys. Blood work and X-rays are usually not needed in this case. They may be experienced for months or even years. Various theories about the cause have been tested in studies, but none has been proven. Growing pains are painful and restricting medical conditions that affect children most often between the ages of 8 and 16 years. Learn what we do know here on SciShow Quick Question! Specializes in Pediatrics. Instead, growing pains may simply be muscle aches due to intense childhood activities that can wear your child's muscles out. What causes growing pains? They are common in children between 3 and 12 years old and are typically not serious. But there's no evidence that a child's growth is painful. 2014;51:379. Many children with these pains are very flexible (hypermobile) with flat feet. Musculoskeletal pain syndromes. what causes growing pains? Five-year outcome of children with "growing pains": Correlations with pain threshold. In: Berkowitz's Pediatrics: A Primary Care Approach. When the affected bones are palpated, they are most sensitive to the touch at the middle of the bone rather than at the growing region or at the joints. Most kids outgrow growing pains within a few years. Growing pains don't usually happen where growth is occurring or during times of rapid growth. All rights reserved. Growing pains usually cause an aching or throbbing feeling in the legs. Bone growth hasn't been proved to cause pain. Usually they happen when kids are between the ages of 3 and 5 or 8 and 12. The following things may ease discomfort and help your child feel better: If the pain does not get better, ask your health care provider if it's OK to give your child an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. These activities include running, jumping, and climbing. 20th ed. That theory has been disproven, but doctors don’t know what does cause them. Never give aspirin to a child. Ask about the appropriate dose for your child. What Are The Causes? Severe enough to interfere with your child's normal activities, Accompanied by other signs or symptoms, such as swelling, redness, tenderness, fever, limping, rash, loss of appetite, weakness or fatigue. in the evening or night-time (and goes away by morning) Growing pains are more common in active children and can come on after playing a lot of sports. RELATED: Charting Your Baby's Growth Spurts During Their First Year. Call your health care provider if this happens. It's inefficient for individual employees and the organization as a whole to be living from day to day, never knowing what to expect. Growing pains are more common in active children. But there's no evidence that a child's growth is painful.Growing pains don't usually happen where growth is occurring or during times of rapid growth. Not all types of leg pain in children are growing pains. With growing pains, the pains involve the musculoskeletal system (muscles and bones). Growing pains aren't a disease. This content does not have an Arabic version. Doctors can usually diagnose growing pains without having to order any tests. Orthopedic injuries and growing pains. Maybe you have flat feet or knock knees. Growing pains are cramping, achy muscle pains that some preschoolers and preteens feel in both legs. After growing pains start, a child may have them off and on for 1 or 2 years. It causes bone pain in the legs that feel like the growing pains you experienced during childhood. 5th ed. And they do not cause limping or fever. What Are Growing Pains? They tend to strike again in kids aged 8-12. 1 doctor answer. Despite the name "growing pains," there is no firm evidence that growing pains are linked to growth spurts. A child’s legs — especially the thighs — typically start bothering her overnight. Growing pains, after all, are the most common cause of musculoskeletal pain in children, with up to 37 percent of children impacted. What Are Growing Pains? Growing pains may be linked to a lowered pain threshold or, in some cases, to psychological issues. What causes growing pains? What causes growing pains. Doctors don't know why children have growing pains. Usually they happen when kids are between the ages of 3 and 5 or 8 and 12. A few theories have been suggested as potential causes, though. Usually they happen when kids are between the ages of 3 and 5 or 8 and 12. The pains can be hereditary and have no clear cause. Psychological factor: Psychosomatic pains occur in the stomach, accompanied by anxiety induced headaches in few children. The good news is this type of cancer is easily treated with radiation and chemo and the prognosis is good as long as the cancer is confined to the bone. Growing pains: Practitioners' dilemma. While the cause of … People commonly assume that growing pains are caused by bones stretching, but even during a growth spurt bones grow really slowly, too slowly to cause pain. The most likely cause of growing pains is muscle pain caused by overuse during the day. The intensity of the pain varies from child to child, and most kids don't have the pains every day. Treatment of growing pains depends on how much pain your child has. Despite the name, no firm evidence exists that the growth of bones causes pain. You probably won't have to go to the doctor for them. What causes growing pains? Sometimes teens have growing pains. The pain is usually: an aching or throbbing in both legs. Berkowitz CD. In some cases, though, your doctor may order blood tests or X-rays to help rule out other problems that may be causing your child's signs and symptoms. You probably won't have to go to the doctor for them. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. What are the causes of growing pains? This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here. These pains usually make your child’s legs hurt. Growing pains are often described as an ache or throb in the legs — often in the front of the thighs, the calves or behind the knees. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. There’s also little evidence to link “growing” pains with actual growth spurts. Consult your child's doctor if you're concerned about your child's leg pain or the pain is: The cause of growing pains is unknown. Sometimes teens have growing pains. Growing pains may sound like an old wives’ tale. Overuse from activities such as running, climbing and jumping can be hard on a child's musculoskeletal system. Some children may also experience abdominal pain or headaches during episodes of growing pains. Sometimes the pain can be so severe that it causes a middle-of-the-night wake up. But it may cause your child to wake up in the middle of the night. Palo Alto Medical Foundation web site: "Growing Pains.". But they can hurt. You probably won't have to go to the doctor for them. The leg pains may hurt so much that they may wake your child from sleep. The pain or discomfort caused by what is known as growing pains may cause sleepless nights for children and worry for parents. Vaccine updates, safe care and visitor guidelines, and trusted coronavirus information, Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Mayo Clinic School of Continuous Professional Development, Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education, Book: Mayo Clinic Guide to Raising a Healthy Child, FREE book offer – Mayo Clinic Health Letter, New Year Special -  40% off – Mayo Clinic Diet Online. Bone growth isn’t actually painful. You can make your child more comfortable by putting a warm heating pad on the sore muscles and massaging them. © 1998-2021 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). Some kids have a lot of pain, others do not. My son is a healthy, active boy and his symptoms seemed to fit the bill: The pain occurred typically at night and typically in his lower extremities. Sometimes they happen more often if: Maybe you are really tired because you've been doing lots of sport or running. If your child seems perfectly fine in the morning, don't be quick to think they were faking. Journal of Pediatrics. Growing pains tend to affect both legs and occur at night, and may even wake a child from sleep. Growing pains can start as early as the toddler years, or they can start later in childhood. In general, growing pains are felt in both legs, especially in the front of the thighs, back of legs (calves), or behind the knees. Smart Grocery Shopping When You Have Diabetes, Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Dogs and Cats, Coronavirus in Context: Interviews With Experts, Sign Up to Receive Our Free Coroanvirus Newsletter, Developmental Delays in Children Ages 3-5, Placing a warm cloth or heating pad on the sore leg. Excess accumulation of metabolic wastes in the body contributes to fatigue-related growth pain. You probably won't have to go to the doctor for them. Despite their name, there is no evidence that they are related to growth spurts. It comes and goes. Growing pains disappear in the morning. Growing pains usually start in early childhood, around age 3 or 4. Growing pains involve your child’s musculoskeletal system, meaning his or her muscles and bones. The pains can persist for a couple of weeks before disappearing altogether. Growing pains. The exact cause of the growing pain is unknown. Despite the name, growth does not cause growing pains. Lehman TJA. Long, S.S., editor, Principles and Practice of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, 3rd edition, Elsevier Churchill Livingstone, 2008. People used to believe that growing pains flared up when a child’s bones grew at a faster rate than his tendons. Sometimes leg pain may be caused by underlying conditions that can be treated. It is often mistakenly thought that the pain is caused by the growth of bones. These aches are probably not related to growth. The most common cause of the pain is likely muscle fatigue. Mohanta MP. It is important to rule out any other possible causes of the pain before making the diagnosis of growing pains. But below are some of the common triggers believed to cause growing pains: Intense physical activity such as running, swimming, climbing or jumping during the day could tire the muscles and cause pain later in … Call your child's doctor or nurse if leg pain occurs with the following symptoms. Aspirin use in children has been linked to a life-threatening disease called Reye's syndrome. Experiences of Others "Growing pains" in adults can be unsettling. Growing pains aren't a disease. They usually do not interfere with the child's ability to play sports or be active. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. But they can hurt. It is possible the pains are due to the effect of lots of activity on muscles and bones. What Are Growing Pains? Growing Pains are real, but no one seems to know why exactly kids get them. This pain often occurs in the front of the thighs, the calves or behind the knees. Although growing pains often strike in late afternoon or early evening before bed, pain can sometimes wake a sleeping child. Growing pains may be fairly common, but the truth is that no one is quite sure why they occur. Sometimes the pain awakens a child in the middle of the night. There's no specific treatment for growing pains. Children who have growing pains are also more likely to have headaches and abdominal pain. Not all children have growing pains. Not all children have growing pains. Growing pains aren't a disease. The pain is usually felt in the late afternoon and evening, right before dinner time, and at bedtime. Growing pains don’t occur during periods of more rapid growth and … Growing pains usually occur in both legs, in the calves, front of thighs, and behind the knees. Doctors don't know why children have growing pains. According to the NHS, growing pains are not actually caused by growing. Junnila, J.L. Causes of Growing Pains Despite the name "growing pains," there is no firm evidence that growing pains are linked to growth spurts. In: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. Usually they happen when kids are between the ages of 3 and 5 or 8 and 12. What Causes Them? Usually both legs hurt. Running, climbing or jumping during the day might increase the risk of leg pain at night. There is no conclusive evidence that the pains are linked to growth spurts. After growing pains start, a child may have them off and on for 1 or 2 years. Growing pains are different for everyone. Any use of this site constitutes your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy linked below. It's been suggested that growing pains may be linked to restless legs syndrome. Doctors don't believe that growing actually causes pain, but growing pains stop when kids stop growing. What causes growing pains? Growing pains often strike in the late afternoon or early evening and disappear by morning. While their name suggests the pain is caused by growing, the cause of growing pains isn’t yet clear. It's also important to remember that growing pains affect muscles, not joints. Check out these best-sellers and special offers on books and newsletters from Mayo Clinic. It's been suggested that growing pains may be linked to restless legs syndrome. One study found that children with these pains have less bone strength than the normal population. Studies suggest that children who have growing pains may be more sensitive to pain. Some children have growing pains on and off for many years, but usually they go by mid-adolescence. The cause of growing pains is unknown. No-one knows what causes growing pains, as nothing can be found wrong with the legs when someone is seen by a doctor. Accessed Aug. 3, 2016. But muscle pain at night from overuse during the day is thought to be the most likely cause of growing pains. We do not know the cause of growing pains, but there are several theories. The pain doesn't occur every day. © 2005 - 2019 WebMD LLC. Growing pains are extremely common, but physicians still don’t know what causes them. They're also more common in children with flexible joints (double jointed). Yet bones grow slowly, even during growth spurts, and this slow growth does not cause pain. Growing pains are musculoskeletal pains that affect some children. Some children with these pains have a low pain threshold and may also have headaches and abdominal pain. Growing pains seem to be more common after a kid has a particularly full day of sports. Although these pains are called growing pains, there's no evidence that growth hurts. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.org," "Mayo Clinic Healthy Living," and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Learn about what they feel like, potential causes, how long they last, and more. There’s a common misconception that there’s nothing that can be done when growing pains develop and that they’re a natural part of ageing in kids, but this isn’t the case at all. At this time, no one knows what causes growing pains. Kliegman, R.M., Behrman, R.E., Jenson, H.B., Stanton, B.F., editors, Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 19th edition, Saunders Elsevier, 2010. Be careful not to burn the. Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Growing pains are common in preschool and school-age children. Elk Grove Village, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2014. Doctors don't believe that growing actually causes pain, but growing pains stop when kids stop growing. Doctors don't believe that growing actually causes pain, but growing pains stop when kids stop growing. The pain usually occurs in the late afternoon or evenings. They do not seem to be caused by growing, so 'growing pains' is not an accurate term. All rights reserved. Dr. Florence Nwofor answered. Three of the most common disorders to cause growing pains in puppies and young dogs include: Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy They aren't symptoms of growing pains, but your doctor will need to examine your child and run tests: And of course, call your doctor if you have any other concerns. Overuse from activities such as running, climbing and jumping can be hard on a child's musculoskeletal system. But muscle pain at night from overuse during the day is thought to be the most likely cause of growing pains. The pains are common in … Uziel Y, et al. If your child has growing pains, the doctor will not see anything abnormal during the physical exam. But they can hurt. But they can hurt. Growing pains can start as early as the toddler years, or they can start later in childhood. Types. Indian Pediatrics. Growing pains can come and go. This causes growth pain due to “musculoskeletal fatigue”. Growing pains are a type of musculoskeletal pain that usually affects children. What causes growing pains? in the muscles, not the joints. Growing pains are not the same as a growth spurt. When deciding whether to call the doctor, it's important to remember that growing pains are almost always felt in both legs. They may have growing pains. 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'S also important to remember that growing pains do n't usually happen where growth is occurring or during times rapid. Child, and this slow growth does not cause growing pains don ’ t what... If you think your child 's muscles out abdominal pain or discomfort caused by underlying conditions that can your... Sleepless nights for children and worry for parents bones grew at a faster rate than his.! To child, and behind the knees serious condition usually start in early childhood around! Been proved to cause pain periods of more rapid growth and … what are growing pains, the calves front. At this time, and climbing, right before dinner time, and this slow does... Age 3 or 4 learn about what they feel like the growing pain is likely muscle fatigue no clear.! Are cramping, achy muscle pains that some preschoolers and preteens feel in both legs to think were... Pediatric Infectious Diseases, 3rd edition what causes growing pains Elsevier Churchill Livingstone, 2008 or her muscles bones! Pains on and off for many years, or they can start as early the. Seems to know why children have growing pains are very flexible ( hypermobile ) with flat feet years. Is a common heel injury in adolescents as growing pains stop when kids growing! To intense childhood activities that can wear your child ’ s musculoskeletal system feel like the growing pain is.! Usually happen where growth is occurring or during times of rapid growth causes! Years old and are typically not serious Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics ; 2014 muscle... More often if: Maybe you what causes growing pains really tired because you 've been doing of... Exact cause of growing pains may be fairly common, but growing pains stop when kids are between the of! Any limb pain ” pains with actual growth spurts during their First.! Flat feet of the pain varies from child to wake up often between the ages of 8 12. Usually happen where growth is occurring or during times of rapid growth night, and behind the knees used! Important to see the doctor for them slightly more common in children are growing pains stop kids! Academy of Pediatrics ; 2014 be hereditary and have no clear cause,. Treatment of growing pains often strike in the body contributes to fatigue-related growth pain due to intense activities. And jumping can be unsettling to child, and climbing much that they may wake your child has pains! About their medical history and symptoms has been linked to growth spurts child more comfortable by a... Always felt in both legs and occur at night from overuse during the day thought... At bedtime s disease is a common heel injury in adolescents with pain or. 74: pp 294-300 n't be Quick to think they were faking nothing can be found with! Body contributes to fatigue-related growth pain 's ability to play sports or be....: Correlations with pain threshold when kids are between the ages of 3 and 5 8..., Elsevier Churchill Livingstone, 2008 not joints strength than the normal population, meaning his her... To affect both legs perfectly fine in the legs that feel like the growing pains. `` and may have! Not all types of leg pain may be experienced for months or years! May have them off and on for 1 or 2 years massaging them kids are the... Evening before what causes growing pains, pain can sometimes wake a child ’ s disease is a common heel injury adolescents. Or running and occur at night from overuse during the day “ musculoskeletal fatigue.. Is usually felt in both legs your Baby 's growth spurts sever ’ s grew... Is seen by a doctor any use of this site constitutes your agreement to the doctor for..