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Growing Pains


Disease: Growing Pains Growing Pains
Category: Bones, joints, muscles diseases
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Disease Definition:

Growing pains is when a child experiences occasional nighttime leg pains without an apparent cause. Growing pains aren't really a disease, and because there's no evidence that growth hurts, "growing pains" may not be an appropriate name for it. However, a child still feels these pains, which should be taken seriously, because in some cases, an underlying condition that could be treated may be the cause of these pains. Some simple comfort measures could help the child make it through the night, and by the teen years, growing pains usually end.

Work Group:

Prepared by: Scientific Section

Symptoms, Causes


An ache or throb in the legs is usually how growing pains are described. These pains usually occur in both legs, in the front of the thighs, the calves or behind the knees. During episodes of growing pains, some children may experience headaches or abdominal pain as well.


Sometimes, growing pains awaken the child in the middle of the night. These pains usually strike in the late afternoon or early evening and disappear by morning. Parents should contact their child's doctor in case his/her pain is:


  • Persistent
  • Located in the joints
  • Still present in the morning
  • Associated with an injury
  • Accompanied by swelling, redness, fever, tenderness, loss of appetite, rash, limping, fatigue, weakness or other signs and symptoms
  • Severe enough that it interferes with the child's normal activities.


Although running, jumping and climbing could be hard on a child's musculoskeletal system, but there isn't any evidence that a child's growth is painful. Growing pains are most likely due to overuse of muscles during the day that cause muscle pain at night.





Massaging the child's legs or other self-care measures could help ease the discomfort, however, there's no specific treatment for growing pains.


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