Your child wakes up at night with painful legs. You may wonder if it's growing pains. You may feel worried that it could be something serious.
Many people call it "growing pains" when children have pain during their growth years. But the pain is not caused by the child's growth. Nor is it caused by a medical problem. Doctors don't know why children have this pain.
Growing pains hurt, but they are not serious. They will not cause any long-lasting problems.
Growing pains may start when your child is a toddler. After they start, your child may have them off and on for 1 or 2 years. They can also start later in your child's life. Sometimes teens can have growing pains.
Your child won't be in pain all the time. He or she may go days, weeks, or months with no growing pains. The painful area won't feel warm, and there won't be any swelling or redness or other colour changes.
Not all children have growing pains.
Call your doctor or nurse call line if your child's pain:
Growing pains have a certain pattern of symptoms. If you are unsure about whether your child is having growing pains, talk to your doctor. He or she will ask about your child's pain. If it doesn't fit the usual pattern, the doctor may examine your child.
It is probably not growing pains if your child looks sick, has pain during the day or during an activity, or has pain that gets worse over time. In these cases, your doctor may do more tests.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
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Current as of: March 27, 2018
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics & Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
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