Growing pains are aches or throbs in the muscles of legs of children. It mainly affects children aged between 4 and 12. Late afternoon or evening period is the time when the pain becomes severe. The growing pain are harmless and do not affect growth of the child. Growing pain is sometimes experienced in teenage or early adolescence period.
The cause of growing pain is still not known. However, they are supposed to be not linked with deficiency in diet, or flat feet, or growth spurts. The assumed causes are:
- Activities such as jumping, running, etc
- Restless leg syndrome
The symptoms often differ for every person. The common symptoms are:
- Intense pain in legs, thighs or calves
- Abdominal pain
Tests are usually not required to diagnose growing pains. Tests such as blood tests or X-rays are done to detect any other deformities. Past medical history of child is also useful. No special treatment are done to treat growing pains in a child. Within a year or two the pain completely vanishes or goes low on its own. The following methods can be used to ease the discomfort:
- Leg massaging
- Stretching muscles of legs
- Applying hot or cold packs on affected area
Even after the pain is lowered, the massaging of legs should be continued. It is a good option to relief pain and swelling. Regularly apply hot and cold packs simultaneously. They tend to improve the growing pain in legs. Stretching exercises also helps to increase the mobility of muscle tissues of legs. If the pain persists, then medications may be used as prescribed by the doctor.
The growing pain once diminished may again occur after some time. It becomes difficult for the child to participate in sport related activities. Severe pain is felt in the legs mainly in night. This affects the sleep of the child and hence may cause some other discomforts.