Having a child suffering with growing pains can be extremely frustrating – they’re painful for the sufferer, they can come and go unpredictably, they can last on and off for years, there’s nothing actually wrong that can be ‘fixed’, and there’s no sure-fire way to ease the pain.
It’s estimated that about one in five children between the ages of three and fifteen will experience growing pains, and that boys and girls are affected equally. Growing pains usually come and go for a few years, but disappear permanently by mid adolescence.
See your doctor if you are worried by the extent of your child’s pain, or suspect that there is something more serious going on – such as persistent and severe pains, if there is a limp or swelling, or an affected part is tender or feels hot.
What are growing pains?
- Muscular aches and pains in both legs – usually in the calf, behind the knee and in the front of the thigh. Occasionally growing pains affect the arms muscles as well. Growing pains shouldn’t cause any pain in the joints.
- Growing pains can be intermittent – coming every night for a week and then disappearing for a week, only to return again.
- Growing pains usually begin in the late afternoon or evening.
- Growing pains are usually at their worst during the night and the pain can be strong enough to wake a sleeping child.
- The pain is then gone by morning.
- Growing pains should not affect your child’s ability to move easily, or to run and play. Headaches may occasionally accompany growing pains.
- Growing pains do not result in any long-term health problems.