Growing pains

Growing pains include cramping, achy muscle pains which preschoolers and preteens can feel in legs. Pain usually occurs in the late afternoons or evenings - but may wake them in the night.

Growing pains


Over the last 150 years the average height of children in industrialised nations has increased approximately 10cm. Modern children are taller than those from eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. So why this sudden growth? In the 20th century incomes rose faster with an improvement diet as a result of that. Most geneticists believe that the improvement in childhood nutrition has been the most important factor in allowing humans to increase so dramatically in stature. The quantity of the food intake and quality enhanced.

With taller children, growth pains are something that are common in young, growing and healthy children. Are achy legs keeping your child awake at night? He/she may have growing pains. Growing pains are cramping, achy muscle pains that some preschoolers or preteens feel in both their legs. The pain usually occurs in the late afternoons or evenings. but it may cause your child to wake up in the middle of the night. Growing pains usually start in early childhood, 3-4years. They tend to strike again in kids aged 8-12 years.

Causes of Growing Pains

Despite the name “growing pains” there is no firm evidence that growing pains are linked to growth spurts. Bone growth doesn’t hurt, but it is not just the bones that are getting bigger. As the bones growth the ligaments, tendons and muscles grow and lengthen as well. Those parts of the body may not be growing at the same pace.
Instead, growing pains may simple be muscle aches due to intense childhood activities that can wear your child’s muscle out. these activities include, running, jumping and climbing. Growing pains seem to be more common after a child has a particularly full day of sports.

Symptoms of Growing Pains

  • Growing pains are different for everyone. Some kids have a lot of pain, others do not. Most kids do not have pain everyday.
  • Growing pains come and go. They may be experienced for months and even years. Most children outgrow their growing pains.
  • The pain is usually felt in the late afternoon and even, right before dinner time, and at bedtime. The leg pains may hurt so much that they may wake your child from sleep. They disappear the next morning and does not interfere with the child’s ability to play sport.
  • Growing pains are generally felt in both legs, especially in the front of the thighs, back of the legs (calves), or behind the knees.
  • Studies suggest that children who have growing pains may be more sensitive to pain and are also more likely to experience headaches and abdominal pain.

How are Growing Pains diagnosed?

The medical professional will ask questions with regards to your child’s medical history and symptoms. It is very important to rule out any other conditions before making the diagnosis of growing pains.


Treatment depends on the amount of pain the child is experiencing. It may include:

  • Heat therapy
  • Magnesium and potassium supplements

Meanwhile, what can you do to help when your child regularly wakes up in agony? Try a firm massage of the lower leg muscles and joints. If your child is doing lots of exercises and is very active, make sure that they warm up before exercise and cool down properly afterwards. Supportive footwear – trainers with arch supports and Velcro fastening – might help too.

If all else fails, go and see your health care provider. We are always there to help.

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