As the child grows, they tend to develop pain in legs more so during evening or night. Kids might wake up in middle of night with pain and will be relieved by massaging and comforting.
Many parents have gone through it; also known as Growing Pains of childhood.
It occurs in around25% – 40% of kids around the globe.
Age of onset: 3 -5 years and later in 8- 12 years.
Signs and symptoms:
- Muscular pain, do not involve joints.
- Common site is calves, thighs or behind the knee.
- Joint are normal appearing (if some other joint disease is there then joint might look warm, swollen, red or tender )
- Never in morning, mostly occur in evening or late night; sometimes even might wake kids up from sleep.
- Never Daily
- Intensity of pain might vary from child to child.
What is the cause of growing pains?
It occurs due to daily activities of child like running, jumping, climbing and playing around whole day. Bone growth has not been proven to be associated with any pain.
It is a clinical diagnosis of exclusion. Most important factor is that child responds to touch when in pain i.e children loves gentle massage. In other serious illnesses children do not like your touch, they do not like to be handled or moved as movement can make pain worse.
However other serious illnesses should be ruled out with help of Child specialist. A good history and clinical examination is required to rule out other illnesses. Sometime few blood test and x-ray might be needed.
What can be done at home?
Few things that will ease out the pain are:
- massaging the area where maximum pain with oil.
- Gently stretching the involved muscle
- Warm water bag can be applied to relieve the pain
- Can give ibuprofen or paracetamol if very severe pain not subsiding after local measures.
( aspirin should be avoided)
When to see a doctor?
If any of the below mentioned symptoms are there along with pain then we should consult doctor:
- Pain which starts in morning, long-lasting pain
- Swelling or redness in one particular area or joint
- pain associated with any localized injury
- difficulty in walking
- unusual behavior
Growing Pain usually subsides by morning, so some parents might feel that child is faking pain. But this is not true. Your constant support and reassurance will help child outgrow these growing pains of Childhood.
Dr Rahul Varma