Growing Pains

Your foot bones make up a quarter of all the bones in your body!

girl with growing pains in her leg

Growing Pains

What are growing pains?

Growing pains are generalised pain, aching, throbbing and/or discomfort in the legs of children. Most children experience these symptoms in the front of the thighs, back of the knees and calves. Growing pains originate from muscles rather than joints. The symptoms develop in the late afternoon or evening and can actually be severe enough to wake a sleeping child. This is not a good thing! Growing pains usually come and go over a period of time and are more likely to develop after a very active day.

The following signs and symptoms must be investigated by a doctor and/or podiatrist as soon as possible:

  • Persistent pain (i.e. pain that does not come and go)

  • Pain, swelling and/or redness in one particular area or joint

  • Limping

  • Fever and/or feeling unwell

  • Weakness and/or tiredness

  • Loss of appetite

What causes growing pains?

The cause of growing pains is unclear, but is presumed to be related to muscle strain and fatigue associated with growth and activity. The good news is that children stop experiencing growing pains when they stop growing. Hooray! But no parent likes to see their child suffer, so the symptoms have to be managed until this happens.

small boy with growing pains
growing pains in woman's leg

Treatment for growing pains

Initial treatment for growing pains usually consists of heat application (e.g. heat pack, hot water bottle or warm bath), gentle massage and taking Panadol (paracetamol) as needed.

If these treatment options are ineffective, the next step is to consult one of our experienced podiatrists who will develop a treatment plan specific to your child’s needs. This will usually include stretching exercises for the thighs (front and back) and calves.