Growing pains are muscular pains generally affecting children between the ages of three and five years, and from eight to 11 years. Boys and girls are equally affected.

Some young people may continue to experience growing pains into their early adolescence or teenage years. Growing pains are generalised leg aches which occur in 15–30 percent of children. The pain is most commonly experienced in the muscles in the front of the thigh, behind the knee and the calf and feels like a muscle cramp. It is often worse in the afternoon or evening and is often worse after very active play. Sometimes, the pain can wake a child from their sleep.


The cause of growing pains is unclear, and is probably related to general muscle fatigue in very active children through periods of rapid growth.


Most pains are eased by the use of:

  • Massage and gentle heat (warm bath or application of mild heat pack)
  • Muscle stretches may be helpful before the child goes to bed
  • Review and use of supportive footwear for active play and sport
  • Assessment of foot and leg postural alignment to ensure there is nothing increasing load on lower limb muscles.

If necessary, give paracetamol or ibuprofen as directed by your doctor or pharmacist


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