323577 hsg growing pains header

CARE

Growing pains: A guide for parents

When children wake up in the middle of the night with achy legs or arms, we often say they have growing pains.

There's no evidence that growth actually causes the pain, but the pain is real. And since it interrupts sleep, first for the child, and then for the parent, it's often something that parents worry about. Sometimes I encourage parents to keep a diary of when the pain occurs and what the child was doing that day. That's because it often happens when children have had an especially active day.

If you've ever wondered if your child's achy legs or arms could be growing pains, the infographic below provides some clues. If your child's pain seems different than what is described, check with your provider, especially if pain interferes with daily activities or lasts more than a few days. 

Growing pains infographic

As this infographic states: growing pains are most common in children ages 3-12. Pain occurs late in the day or at night, it may awaken the child from sleep. It often occurs after lots of physical activity. The pain occurs in both legs or in both arms at the same time. Pain is often in the lower legs, on the front of the thigh or occasionally in the lower arms. Treat with acetaminophen, ice, rest and light massage, and try light stretching before being active. Check with your provider if pain does not improve with treatment.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Share this article

MORE LIKE THIS

A parent's guide to daylight saving time

Continue reading

EMPOWER YOURSELF


Get fun, inspiring, provider-reviewed articles sent to your inbox.

Sign up for our email newsletter