Childhood Growing Pains

As I sit here trying to console my son crying about his hurting legs, it has sparked my interest to look further into what he could be feeling. He is an avid hockey player and is just getting home from an intense practice. After asking him some questions to rule out an injury, we have come to a conclusion he is probably experiencing growing pains (talk with your doctor before making the diagnosis to make sure there is not an underlying cause). I don’t ever remember dealing with this in my childhood (if we remembered every feeling, I don’t know if we would make it past teething!!!).

Growing pains are common and affect everyone differently. Some have terrible experiences and some are mild. There is no solid evidence that states growing is painful, however it is linked to muscles aches from activities such as running, jumping, and sports. Typically growing pains occur in both legs surrounding the thighs and knees usually during the evening. There are times it can wake a child in the middle of the night.

My son is 7 and definitely has a hard time understanding what he is experiencing especially after a long day and want to just rest. He doesn’t get them everyday or even after every practice, but we have found some of these tips to be helpful to overcome the pain.

  • Massaging the legs (when he is not so frustrated and allows my to do so)
  • Stretching or yoga (by searching kids yoga poses or sports related yoga, I have found some cool links to take you step by step teaching the kids how to these poses or stretching positions. It also is a fun way to connect with your child and teach healthy habits).
  • Heating pads (only apply for 10 mins with a barrier between heating element and skin. Never over night to ensure the skin does not burn).
  • Talk with your doctor before giving your child over the counter pain relief medication such as Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen.

Seek medical attention if:

  • Pain is lasting all day
  • Effecting only one leg
  • Fever/chills
  • Weakness
  • Red/swollen joints
  • Rash
  • Weight loss/ decreased appetite
  • Limping
  • Known injury

Kerra Pietsch, LPTA
Physical Therapist Assistant
Physical Therapy Consultants, Inc.

January 2nd, 2019

Posted In: General


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