Reasons you shouldn't Dismiss a Child's Leg Pain as 'Growing up Pain'

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Oct 20, 2014
Quick Bites

  • Growing up pain is distressing but seldom causes long-term harm.
  • Leg aches and weakness are common symptoms of viral illness.
  • Leg pain can be due to fractures and deep vein thrombosis.
  • Other serious causes are neuritis, septic arthritis and toxic synovitis.

If it is achy legs that are keeping your child up at night, don’t overlook it thinking ‘it's just a part of the body's development’. They are sometimes, signs of something serious.

leg pain children


Aches or pains in the lower legs among growing children most commonly occur in the evening or at night. Affecting children aged between three and 12, leg pain in children can be distressing but seldom cause long-term harm.


Causes of Growing Pain

Growing pain has nothing to do with its name as there is no conclusive evidence that relates growing pain to growth spurts. However, the more probable cause of growing pain may be muscle aches as a result of intense activities that can wear your child's muscles out. Running, jumping and climbing are some of such childhood activities that can be the reasons behind growing pain.


When it is a Sign of Serious Health Ailment?

Health experts agree that growing pain are triggered when bones grow, stretching the bone's thick covering. Typically, children feel the pain at night, and then it disappears by morning.

However, parents should take their children to the doctor if the child develops the following symptoms:

  • Persistent pain, pain in the morning or swelling, tenderness, and redness in a joint
  • Fever accompanied by pain
  • Joint pain associated with an injury
  • Limping, weakness, or unusual tiredness


The above-mentioned has to be investigated by a doctor and not be simply dismissed. These accompanied by leg pains may be juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA). It can also be a warning sign of vitamin D deficiency (rickets) or even leukaemia. Moreover, see a doctor when achy legs look red or swollen (puffed up).

What it may indicate?

Muscle cramps – Foot or calf muscles are prone to cramps that can occur during play and exercise.

Strained Muscles – Strained muscles can give you continuous acute pains (from hours to 7 days). Muscles are most commonly strained because of the strenuous activity or forgotten muscle injuries.

Viral Infections – Aches in both legs and weakness is common symptom of viral illness, especially influenza.

Other Serious Causes – Leg pain can be due to fractures, deep vein thrombosis, neuritis (nerve infection), septic arthritis (a bacterial infection of any joint space) and toxic synovitis.


Growing pain doesn’t interfere with daily activities and playing. If it keeps you from running, playing, and doing what you normally do, the parent must report the same to a doctor.




Read more articles on Pain.



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