Growing Pains in Children vs. More Serious Pain
It can be difficult for parents to know if their child is just feeling growing pains or if something is really wrong. How can you tell the difference between growing pains in children from something more serious?
Growth doesn’t hurt, at least not physically. Growing pains in children invariably come on at night and can awaken the child who complains, “My legs hurt.” You can soothe these sore legs by massaging, and your child will grow out of them. I believe many of these pains are muscle strains left over from daylong jumping and twisting. Also, I have observed children whose pains subsided after an arch and heel lift was put into their shoes, taking some of the strain off leg muscles during standing and walking, especially in a child with pronated flat feet.
The Characteristics of Growing Pains Are:
- Occurs in both legs
- The child does not limp
- Occurs in the evening
- Plays normally during the day
- Does not always awaken your child at night
- Your child is perfectly well otherwise, and you don’t notice any abnormal changes in his walking, running, or appearance of legs
- Vague in the description of where pains are, and cannot localize site of pain with one finger
Signs That Demand Medical Attention, and Are Not Growing Pains:
- Awakens child in the middle of the night, especially if only in one leg
- Change in walking or running styles
- Complains of back pain and hurts when bending over
- Points to a localized area of pain with one finger
- Weight loss
Note to Parents: Growing pains do not cause a limp. If your child limps, that is a definite sign to seek medical attention.