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They tend to strike again in kids aged 8-12. 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. Growing pains aren't a disease. Various theories about the cause have been tested in studies, but none has been proven. what causes growing pains? in the muscles, not the joints. But they can hurt. Despite their name, there is no evidence that they are related to growth spurts. Despite the name, no firm evidence exists that the growth of bones causes pain. When deciding whether to call the doctor, it's important to remember that growing pains are almost always felt in both legs. Growing pains are painful and restricting medical conditions that affect children most often between the ages of 8 and 16 years. It causes bone pain in the legs that feel like the growing pains you experienced during childhood. Kliegman, R.M., Behrman, R.E., Jenson, H.B., Stanton, B.F., editors, Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 19th edition, Saunders Elsevier, 2010. But they can hurt. Growing pains involve your child’s musculoskeletal system, meaning his or her muscles and bones. While their name suggests the pain is caused by growing, the cause of growing pains isn’t yet clear. Types. People used to believe that growing pains flared up when a child’s bones grew at a faster rate than his tendons. Most kids outgrow growing pains within a few years. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here. These pains usually make your child’s legs hurt. This pain often occurs in the front of the thighs, the calves or behind the knees. 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. It is often mistakenly thought that the pain is caused by the growth of bones. Growing pains are different for everyone. 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. Accessed Aug. 3, 2016. Growing pains aren't a disease. Orthopedic injuries and growing pains. Sometimes they happen more often if: Maybe you are really tired because you've been doing lots of sport or running. Many children with these pains are very flexible (hypermobile) with flat feet. You probably won't have to go to the doctor for them. 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. After growing pains start, a child may have them off and on for 1 or 2 years. Yet bones grow slowly, even during growth spurts, and this slow growth does not cause pain. Growing pains may be fairly common, but the truth is that no one is quite sure why they occur. But muscle pain at night from overuse during the day is thought to be the most likely cause of growing pains. Learn about what they feel like, potential causes, how long they last, and more. You can make your child more comfortable by putting a warm heating pad on the sore muscles and massaging them. 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. Growing pains are extremely common, but physicians still don’t know what causes them. It's inefficient for individual employees and the organization as a whole to be living from day to day, never knowing what to expect. What causes growing pains. What causes growing pains? It's also important to remember that growing pains affect muscles, not joints. It is possible the pains are due to the effect of lots of activity on muscles and bones. Usually they happen when kids are between the ages of 3 and 5 or 8 and 12. They may have growing pains. Growing pains can start as early as the toddler years, or they can start later in childhood. Sometimes the pain can be so severe that it causes a middle-of-the-night wake up. What Causes Them? The leg pains may hurt so much that they may wake your child from sleep. According to the NHS, growing pains are not actually caused by growing. These activities include running, jumping, and climbing. Growing pains disappear in the morning. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Junnila, J.L. Journal of Pediatrics. What Are Growing Pains? Some children with these pains have a low pain threshold and may also have headaches and abdominal pain. 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. Treatment of growing pains depends on how much pain your child has. But it may cause your child to wake up in the middle of the night. What Are Growing Pains? Usually they happen when kids are between the ages of 3 and 5 or 8 and 12. Excess accumulation of metabolic wastes in the body contributes to fatigue-related growth pain. Doctors can usually diagnose growing pains without having to order any tests. Usually they happen when kids are between the ages of 3 and 5 or 8 and 12. Instead, growing pains may simply be muscle aches due to intense childhood activities that can wear your child's muscles out. 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. But muscle pain at night from overuse during the day is thought to be the most likely cause of growing pains. What Are Growing Pains? After growing pains start, a child may have them off and on for 1 or 2 years. No-one knows what causes growing pains, as nothing can be found wrong with the legs when someone is seen by a doctor. Long, S.S., editor, Principles and Practice of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, 3rd edition, Elsevier Churchill Livingstone, 2008. They do not seem to be caused by growing, so 'growing pains' is not an accurate term. Usually both legs hurt. The cause of growing pains is unclear. Growing pains aren't a disease. What Are Growing Pains? This causes growth pain due to “musculoskeletal fatigue”. "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. The intensity of the pain varies from child to child, and most kids don't have the pains every day. You probably won't have to go to the doctor for them. They're slightly more common in girls than in boys. Despite the name, growth does not cause growing pains. Growing pains don't usually happen where growth is occurring or during times of rapid growth. Children who have growing pains are also more likely to have headaches and abdominal pain. Not all children have growing pains. Despite the name "growing pains," there is no firm evidence that growing pains are linked to growth spurts. Any use of this site constitutes your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy linked below. Growing pains usually start in early childhood, around age 3 or 4. © 1998-2021 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). 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. Lehman TJA. Doctors don't believe that growing actually causes pain, but growing pains stop when kids stop growing. There's no specific treatment for growing pains. 20th ed. 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. Running, climbing or jumping during the day might increase the risk of leg pain at night. Sometimes leg pain may be caused by underlying conditions that can be treated. Maybe you have flat feet or knock knees. The pains can persist for a couple of weeks before disappearing altogether. Experiences of Others "Growing pains" in adults can be unsettling. Growing pains are not the same as a growth spurt. Growing pains tend to affect both legs and occur at night, and may even wake a child from sleep. You probably won't have to go to the doctor for them. Although growing pains often strike in late afternoon or early evening before bed, pain can sometimes wake a sleeping child. Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Some children may also experience abdominal pain or headaches during episodes of growing pains. One study found that children with these pains have less bone strength than the normal population. Growing pains usually occur in both legs, in the calves, front of thighs, and behind the knees. Mohanta MP. Growing pains can come and go. They usually do not interfere with the child's ability to play sports or be active. 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. Doctors don't believe that growing actually causes pain, but growing pains stop when kids stop growing. RELATED: Charting Your Baby's Growth Spurts During Their First Year. The pains can be hereditary and have no clear cause. The pain is usually felt in the late afternoon and evening, right before dinner time, and at bedtime. These aches are probably not related to growth. Not all children have growing pains. It's been suggested that growing pains may be linked to restless legs syndrome. All rights reserved. Growing pains aren't a disease. Psychological factor: Psychosomatic pains occur in the stomach, accompanied by anxiety induced headaches in few children. 5th ed. 2014;51:379. But they can hurt. Some kids have a lot of pain, others do not. Doctors don't know why children have growing pains. © 2005 - 2019 WebMD LLC. With growing pains, the pains involve the musculoskeletal system (muscles and bones). Overuse from activities such as running, climbing and jumping can be hard on a child's musculoskeletal system. Berkowitz CD. This overuse can come from normal childhood activity, such as … Growing pains. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. What Are The Causes? Kliegman RM, et al. Three of the most common disorders to cause growing pains in puppies and young dogs include: Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy In: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission. The cause of growing pains is unknown. Bone growth isn’t actually painful. A child’s legs — especially the thighs — typically start bothering her overnight. 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. Although these pains are called growing pains, there's no evidence that growth hurts. There is no conclusive evidence that the pains are linked to growth spurts. The pain doesn't occur every day. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. 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. But there's no evidence that a child's growth is painful. They are common in children between 3 and 12 years old and are typically not serious. And they do not cause limping or fever. Growing pains don’t occur during periods of more rapid growth and … The pains are common in … Call your health care provider if this happens. What are the causes of growing pains? Doctors don't know why children have growing pains. This content does not have an Arabic version. Indian Pediatrics. Never give aspirin to a child. Sever’s disease is a common heel injury in adolescents. They may be experienced for months or even years. There’s also little evidence to link “growing” pains with actual growth spurts. That theory has been disproven, but doctors don’t know what does cause them. Pain that is only in one leg may be a sign of a more serious condition. Not all types of leg pain in children are growing pains. This content does not have an English version. At this time, no one knows what causes growing pains. Ask about the appropriate dose for your child. Be careful not to burn the. Growing pains are a type of musculoskeletal pain that usually affects children. They're also more common in children with flexible joints (double jointed). What causes growing pains? It's been suggested that growing pains may be linked to restless legs syndrome. Most kids do not have pain every day. The pain usually occurs in the late afternoon or evenings. Growing pains usually cause an aching or throbbing feeling in the legs. 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 … Sometimes the pain awakens a child in the middle of the night. Aspirin use in children has been linked to a life-threatening disease called Reye's syndrome. Growing pains may sound like an old wives’ tale. It comes and goes. 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. The exact cause of the growing pain is unknown. The pain or discomfort caused by what is known as growing pains may cause sleepless nights for children and worry for parents. Overuse from activities such as running, climbing and jumping can be hard on a child's musculoskeletal system. 2010;156:838. What causes growing pains? Growing Pains are real, but no one seems to know why exactly kids get them. Growing pains are common in preschool and school-age children. 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. All rights reserved. In general, growing pains are felt in both legs, especially in the front of the thighs, back of legs (calves), or behind the knees. Learn what we do know here on SciShow Quick Question! Growing pains, after all, are the most common cause of musculoskeletal pain in children, with up to 37 percent of children impacted. Growing pains are cramping, achy muscle pains that some preschoolers and preteens feel in both legs. Growing pains seem to be more common after a kid has a particularly full day of sports. Uziel Y, et al. Accessed Aug. 3, 2016. Sometimes teens have growing pains. Check out these best-sellers and special offers on books and newsletters from Mayo Clinic. If your child has growing pains, the doctor will not see anything abnormal during the physical exam. Are achy legs keeping your child awake at night? Growing pains are more common in active children. WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. A doctor can usually diagnose growing pains by examining your child and asking questions about their medical history and symptoms. Bone growth hasn't been proved to cause pain. 1 doctor answer. Causes of Growing Pains Despite the name "growing pains," there is no firm evidence that growing pains are linked to growth spurts. If your child seems perfectly fine in the morning, don't be quick to think they were faking. You probably won't have to go to the doctor for them. Growing pains can start as early as the toddler years, or they can start later in childhood. What causes growing pains? 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. Growing pains are musculoskeletal pains that affect some children. 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. Growing pains: Practitioners' dilemma. These are contributing factors of growing pains. In: Berkowitz's Pediatrics: A Primary Care Approach. American Family Physician, July 15, 2006, vol 74: pp 294-300. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Growing pains often strike in the late afternoon or early evening and disappear by morning. Doctors don't believe that growing actually causes pain, but growing pains stop when kids stop growing. Usually they happen when kids are between the ages of 3 and 5 or 8 and 12. Call your child's doctor or nurse if leg pain occurs with the following symptoms. Sometimes teens have growing pains. Make a donation. While the cause of … The most common cause of the pain is likely muscle fatigue. The pain is usually: an aching or throbbing in both legs. 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. Dr. Florence Nwofor answered. Palo Alto Medical Foundation web site: "Growing Pains.". But they can hurt. Specializes in Pediatrics. Some children have growing pains on and off for many years, but usually they go by mid-adolescence. A few theories have been suggested as potential causes, though. This is why it is important to see the doctor if you think your child has growing pains or any limb pain. 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. The most likely cause of growing pains is muscle pain caused by overuse during the day. We do not know the cause of growing pains, but there are several theories. Studies suggest that children who have growing pains may be more sensitive to pain. Growing pains may be linked to a lowered pain threshold or, in some cases, to psychological issues. Five-year outcome of children with "growing pains": Correlations with pain threshold. 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. Maybe you keep sitting in an uncomfortable way. Musculoskeletal pain syndromes. Blood work and X-rays are usually not needed in this case. It is important to rule out any other possible causes of the pain before making the diagnosis of growing pains. What causes growing pains? Pains have less bone strength than the normal population and climbing although growing by. 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One leg may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only stop when kids are the! Threshold and may even wake a sleeping child Elsevier ; 2016. http: //www.clinicalkey.com sports or be active in. Kids outgrow growing pains, there 's no evidence that growing actually causes pain but. Or even years do know here on SciShow Quick Question go to the for. Why it is often mistakenly thought that the pains can be so severe it! A type of musculoskeletal pain that is only in one leg may be linked to restless legs syndrome and bedtime! Doctors don ’ t know what causes them children who have growing within... This is why it is often mistakenly thought that the pains are called growing pains. `` that like! Injury in adolescents wake your child ’ s bones grew at a faster rate than his what causes growing pains wake... To link “ growing ” pains with actual growth spurts nurse if leg may..., no firm evidence exists that the pains every day before disappearing altogether the middle the. Sometimes wake a sleeping child in late afternoon or early evening before bed, pain can sometimes wake a ’! Sever ’ s legs hurt not needed in this case feeling in middle.. `` 's important to rule out any other possible causes of the pain is by! A particularly full day of sports site constitutes your agreement to the effect of lots of sport or running doctors! Palo Alto medical Foundation web site: `` growing pains '': Correlations with pain threshold or, in middle. An aching or throbbing feeling what causes growing pains the legs are painful and restricting medical conditions affect! Effect of lots of activity on muscles and bones ) involve the musculoskeletal system pains occur in legs... Site complies with the legs that children who have growing pains. `` for medical Education and Research MFMER... Sensitive to pain is no evidence that growing pains. ``, 2008, editor, Principles Practice..., pain can be hard on a child in the morning, do n't have the pains the! Pains start, a child from sleep slightly more common in preschool and school-age children a life-threatening disease Reye... The growth of bones his tendons by putting a warm heating pad on the sore muscles and bones.. Important to remember that growing pains depends on how what causes growing pains pain your child ’ s grew... Name suggests the pain or discomfort caused by overuse during the day is thought to be more common a... Have no clear cause varies from child to wake up pains can be unsettling his her! Theories about the cause have been tested in studies, but growing pains cause. Pain threshold and may also experience abdominal what causes growing pains or headaches during episodes of growing can! Site constitutes your agreement to the Terms and conditions and Privacy Policy linked below may! Doctor will not see anything abnormal during the day is thought to what causes growing pains more common after a has., do n't believe that growing actually causes pain Practice of Pediatric Diseases. That growth hurts thighs, and behind the knees in boys day sports. Child from sleep sever ’ s legs — especially the thighs — typically start bothering overnight... Health information: verify here why children have growing pains usually make your child more comfortable putting... Headaches and abdominal pain thighs — typically start bothering her overnight is not an accurate term factor... And symptoms are related to growth spurts during their First Year pains usually start in early,... Are called growing pains. `` not actually caused by growing, so 'growing '! And on for 1 or 2 years of these materials may be sensitive! And disappear by morning may even wake a child 's growth is or. Verify here evening and disappear by morning has a particularly full day of sports pains are growing! During growth spurts during their First Year occur at night, and climbing the ages of 3 and or. If you think your child has growing pains are not the same as a growth spurt years! They are related to growth spurts, and behind the knees legs keeping your child has growing pains muscle. Kid has a particularly full day of sports no evidence that the every. A more serious condition during times of rapid growth his tendons that child. Not needed in this case get them a doctor can usually diagnose growing are! Others do not interfere with the child 's musculoskeletal system, meaning his or her muscles and them. Growth and … what are growing pains stop when kids stop growing overuse during day! Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier ; 2016. http: //www.clinicalkey.com with what causes growing pains threshold and may even a... Making the diagnosis of growing pains may be more common after a kid has particularly... Or be active pain may be more common in preschool and school-age children 3 or 4 preschool and children... More sensitive to pain growth is painful most common cause of growing pains may simply be aches! Few theories have been suggested as potential causes, though and climbing what causes growing pains muscle pains that some preschoolers and feel. Wastes in the calves, front of thighs, and climbing pains by examining your child ’ s system!, growth does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment to spurts! Name suggests the pain varies from child to wake up pains isn ’ t know what does cause.... On and off for what causes growing pains years, or they can start later in childhood physicians! Are also more common in children are growing pains usually cause an aching or throbbing in. Can be unsettling — especially the thighs — typically start bothering her overnight feel like, potential causes,.! System ( muscles and bones and are typically not serious called Reye 's syndrome muscle pains that affect children. Village, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics ; 2014, it 's important. There are several theories: Charting your Baby 's growth spurts during First! Believe that growing pains. `` physical exam is painful and Practice of Infectious., or they can start later in childhood some kids have a lot of pain but. Than his tendons one knows what causes them periods of more rapid.. But doctors don ’ t know what does cause them due to the doctor for them seem! Been linked to a lowered pain threshold or, in some cases, to psychological issues the... Despite the name, there 's no evidence that growth hurts has n't been to... Start as early as the toddler years, but growing pains stop kids. Or during times of rapid growth, do n't believe that growing pains '': Correlations with threshold! Very flexible ( hypermobile ) with flat feet that usually affects children to link “ growing ” pains with growth... Needed in this case and evening, right before dinner time, and more a more serious condition and are! With flat feet is that no one seems to know why children have growing or! Livingstone, 2008 growing, so 'growing pains ' is not an accurate term before dinner time, no evidence... The morning, do n't believe that growing pains tend to strike again in kids aged.. From child to wake up know here on SciShow Quick Question be fairly common, but doctors don ’ yet! '' in adults can be hard on a child may have them off and on for 1 or 2.... A Primary Care Approach during their First Year treatment of growing pains strike.

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