Growing Pains – Are They Real?

When it’s nice outside, kids like to run, jump, ride bikes – the normal, every day summer activities. Many also play sports such as soccer, baseball, and football.  So when your child says their legs hurt it may not be a surprise, but as parents, when should we become concerned?  Is it just “growing pains”?

Well, guess what? Growing pains is actually a real condition. Growing pains are achy, throbbing muscles in the legs that affect some 25-40% of children between the ages of 3 to 5 and 8 to 12, but researchers do not know exactly what causes growing pains.

Your child might be experiencing growing pains if muscles in their thighs, calves, or behind the knee hurt in the late afternoon or evening. The pain might even get bad enough to wake them up.  If your child has had a full day of activity, there is a greater chance of having muscle pains or growing pains at night. Growing pains are typically felt in both legs and subside by morning.

How can we treat growing pains? 

The achiness and pain should go away with ibuprofen and gentle massage or heat. You may need to call a doctor if the pain does not subside, or if the muscles seem overly tender. If your child refuses to let you touch the area, this could be a concern.  Other signs to watch for are redness, or heat, or swelling especially in the joints, as growing pains do not affect the joints.

If you are concerned about the pain and symptoms your child is experiencing, please don’t hesitate to call the offices of Tucson Orthopaedic Institute for an appointment at (520) 327-KIDS (5437).

We have two board-certified and fellowship-trained pediatric orthopedic surgeons – Dr. Luis Piedrahita, MDand Dr. Brian Nielson, MD – on staff ready to serve your family’s needs.  They see patients at two locations – East or Northwest Tucson.

For more information on what we can do for you check out our pediatric orthopedic section on our website.

Dr. Brian Nielson, MD

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