Growing Pains Causes, Symptoms, Prevention And Treatment


Growing pains are frequently characterized as an aching or throb in the legs, typically in the calves, thighs, or area behind the knees. Growing pains typically affect both legs, happen at night, and can even cause a youngster to become awake.

Although these discomforts are referred to as "growing pains," there is no proof that growth is painful. Growing pains can also be related to psychological problems or a diminished pain threshold.

Growing pains are not very treatable. Applying a warm heating pad to the aching muscles and massaging them will help your youngster feel more at ease.

Your youngster may be having trouble sleeping due to sore legs. They could experience growth aches.

Some toddlers and preteens have cramping, and achy muscular sensations in both legs. Typically, the discomfort strikes in the late afternoon or evening. However, your youngster could wake up in the middle of the night as a result.

Around age 3 or 4, growing pains typically begin in early infancy. They frequently recur in children aged 8 to 12.


Growing pains have an unknown origin. However, there is no proof that a child's development is painful.

Growing pains are uncommon in areas where growth is taking place or during periods of fast growth. Growing pains and restless legs syndrome have been related, according to certain theories. The most likely source of increasing pains, however, is regarded to be muscular soreness at night following daytime usage. A child's musculoskeletal system may suffer from overuse from activities like running, climbing, and jumping.

Although they go by the label "growing pains," there is no concrete proof that they are related to growth spurts.

Growing pains may actually just be muscular aches brought on by strenuous childhood activities that might exhaust your child's muscles. These exercises consist of climbing, leaping, and running. A child's growing pains tend to occur more frequently after a very demanding day of sports.

How to check if you have Growing Pains?

If your child has leg discomfort and if the pain is severe, speak with their daycare provider. Seek medical attention if the discomfort is:

  • Persistent
  • Even in the morning, still present
  • Severe enough to prevent your youngster from engaging in their normal activities
  • Inside the joints
  • Connected to an injury
  • Accompanied by other symptoms or indicators, such as weakness or weariness, lack of appetite, redness, soreness, swelling, fever, limping, or rash

Growing pains are typically felt in both legs, particularly in the calves, front thighs, or behind the knees.

It is vital to keep in mind that developing pains are virtually always felt in both legs while considering whether or not to consult the doctor. One leg just being in pain might indicate a more significant problem. If this occurs, contact your healthcare practitioner.

Risk Factors

Children in preschool and school-age frequently experience growing aches. They affect girls somewhat more frequently than they do guys. Leg discomfort at night may be more likely if you exercise throughout the day, such as running, climbing, or leaping.


Legs will often feel achy or throbbing from growing aches. This discomfort frequently develops in the calves, behind the knees, or the front of the thighs. Both legs typically have pain. During bouts of growing pains, some children may also endure headaches or stomach pain. It does not hurt all the time. In and out it goes.

Growing pains frequently begin in the early afternoon or late afternoon and end by dawn. A youngster may occasionally wake up in the middle of the night from the pain.

Everyone experiences growing pains differently. While some youngsters experience severe discomfort, others do not. Most children do not experience discomfort every day.

Growing pains are cyclical in nature. They might last for weeks, months, or even years. Growing pains are often outgrown by children within a few years.

Prior to supper and before bedtime, the discomfort is typically felt in the late afternoon and evening. Leg aches might be so excruciatingly painful that they wake up your youngster.

Do not assume your child was lying if they were totally well in the morning. Mornings bring relief from growing aches. They often do not impede a child's ability to engage in physical activity or play sports.

Growing pains are typically felt in both legs, particularly in the calves, front thighs, or behind the knees. According to studies, growing pains may make kids more sensitive to pain. Headaches and stomach discomfort are also more prevalent in developing children.


To aid in the relief of pain, try the following:

  • Massage the legs of your youngster with gentle strokes
  •  Cover the afflicted region with a heat pack or covered hot water bottle
  • To relieve the discomfort, give youngsters paracetamol or ibuprofen.
  • A youngster under the age of 16 should not be given aspirin unless a doctor specifically prescribes it.


Growing aches are not specifically treated. Growing pains have no negative effects on other issues or growth. Within a year or two, growing aches often subside on their own. In a year or two, if they do not totally disappear, they frequently get less painful. In the meanwhile, self-care techniques like stroking your child's legs might help lessen their discomfort.

Home cures for pain relief include:

Massage your child's legs. Gent massage frequently and it elicits a response from the child. Others benefit from being hugged or cuddled.

Invest in a heated pad. Warmth helps ease aching muscles. When your child complains of leg pain or before bed, use a heating pad on a low setting. 

Disconnect the heating the moment your youngster has fallen asleep. A warm bath before night may also be beneficial.

Utilize a painkiller. Offer your youngster acetaminophen or ibuprofen (Advil, Children's Motrin, etc) (Tylenol, others). 

Stretching activities. Leg stretches throughout the day may assist to alleviate discomfort at night. Find out what stretches your doctor recommends.

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Page last reviewed: Mar 14, 2023

Next review due: Mar 14, 2025

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