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Growing pains

Growing pains can go hand-in-hand with growing up, and they are something that many children experience. Although they are harmless, they can be very painful.

Who gets growing pains?

Growing pains are usually experienced by children in primary school, with experts suggesting the pains stop by the age of 12. Whilst the cause of the pain is unknown, growing pains are thought to be more common in active children and children with flexible joints.

How long to growing pains last?

There is little evidence to suggest that growing pains are only associated with growth spurts. In fact, they can be experienced over months or even years.1

What do growing pains feel like?

Understanding the child’s pain can be tricky if you didn’t experience growing pains, or if you’ve forgotten the sensation.

Growing pains mainly affect the legs and, importantly, the pain is experienced in the muscles rather than the joints. It is a throbbing or aching feeling that frequently occurs in the evening and during the night. Though it should go away by the morning, it can sometimes disrupt a child’s sleep.

Treating growing pains

There is no specific treatment for growing pains, but there are a few ways to make a child more comfortable and ease the pain. For example:

  • Gently massaging your child’s legs
  • Use hot water bottles or heat packs on the painful area
  • Run them a warm bath before bed
  • Ensure they are wearing supportive shoes throughout the day, or uses orthotics if required
  • Encourage the child to stretch
  • An age-appropriate anti-inflammatory medication