If your child has ever complained of not being able to sleep at night due to leg pain, he or she may be experiencing what many people refer to as growing pains. They are common for kids during their growth and development years.
Growing pains are often characterized by a sharp, throbbing pain in the leg muscles, or knees and usually occurring during the night and sometimes late afternoon without an apparent cause. While there is no evidence that a child's growth is painful, these pains often occur during an active day of running, jumping, ascending stairs or swimming.
Whenever a child is afflicted by episodes of recurrent leg, heel or foot pain, it is always best to have them evaluated. Other more serious foot and leg conditions should be ruled out before a diagnosis of growing pains is made. If they are simply having growing pains there are some simple treatments that can help relieve them.
Consult with a physician or a podiatrist if aching legs or feet are a complaint, or if the child is noticing it daily. Persistent pain and other unusual symptoms may indicate a more serious problem. The following symptoms are not due to growing pains and should be evaluated by a doctor:
- Persistent pain
- Swelling or redness in one specific area or joint
- Loss of Appetite
- Abnormal behavior
Parents can help ease the pain with simple home remedies.
- Massage and rub the child's ache until the pain passes
- Stretch your child's legs throughout the day and before bed
- Heating pads or warm baths can help soothe sore muscles
While growing pains are commonly seen in young children during the growth and development years, lower extremity pain can also be caused by mechanical misalignments and structural imperfections. A thorough evaluation is crucial in order to determine the exact cause of your child's leg pain. If growing pains are the cause of your child's discomfort, rest assured that the pain is only temporary and will pass with time.