Categories: Orthopaedics

Growth Pains: What is it all about?

Growth pains or growing pains can refer to pain in a child’s limbs, usually the legs though the exact cause for this pain is not known as yet to medical science. Children sometimes complain of pain in their legs after their routine activities. Parents should never ignore these pains since any pain in the body is a warning signal or health alerting message.

Such “growth pains” usually affect children aged between 3 and 10 years. The root cause of such pain may be a medical mystery but this pain can be treated.

Growth Pain is detected through the diagnosis of exclusion or eliminating all other possible medical reasons until the doctor decides there can be no other explanation for the pain than as “Growth Pains”.

As with other medical conditions, a detailed patient history becomes crucial. The child complains of pain in the legs towards the end of the day, but the day started pain-free. Physical examinations of the child show normalcy, likewise Hematological Parameters: various conditions specific to growing children such as infections of the bone, nutritional deficiency, etc. which exhibit similar symptoms as Growth Pains. A thorough clinical examination is needed.

As mentioned earlier, the exact cause of “Growth Pains” is not known to medical science. One possible cause is that growing children have their muscles and bones growing at a different rate meaning the bones grow faster than muscles. This imbalance causes muscular shortening and stretching of muscles, thereby causing pain for the child busy in physical activities. Here, physiotherapy has a very important role in the treatment of Growth Pains.

Not all children suffer from Growth Pains, and this adds to the mystery surrounding the origins of Growth Pains. The Muscular Fatigue theory explains Growth Pain due to muscle fatigue from the child’s physical activities.

Signs of Growth Pains in the Child that needs medical attention:

  1. The pain is severe enough for the child to wake up in the middle of the night and is unable to sleep.
  2. Persistent pain throughout the day that is severe enough to restrict the child from normal physical activities.
  3. The child’s weight decreases by more than 10% in the last 3 months.

The child must be taken to a Paediatric Orthopedic as early as possible if the above warning signals persist.


If every other possible reason is ruled out and the pain is confirmed as Growth Pain, the child will grow out of the pain gradually through growing older. This means Mother Nature has set the balance right in the growth rate of muscles and bones. In the interim though, physiotherapy becomes very important to give the growing child relief from pain. Physiotherapy includes both muscle stretching and strengthening. Anti-inflammatory medicines, hot fomentations, and massage to the sore muscles can also give the child relief until the child grows older and grows out of the Growth Pains.

Dr. Mohit Kumar Arora, Orthopedic Surgeon, Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Gurugram

Narayana Health

Recent Posts

सर्वाइकल कैंसर या बच्चेदानी के मुंह का कैंसर

बच्चेदानी के मुंह का कैंसर महिलाओं में होने वाले कैंसर में दूसरे स्थान पर आता…

2 weeks ago

Cervical Cancer Screening

Regular cervical screening can prevent about seven or eight out of every 10 cervical cancers…

2 weeks ago

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: All you need to know

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis Table of Content: What is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis? Who gets ALS? What…

3 weeks ago

Brain Angiogram: Why Is It Done?

Brain angiogram, also known as a cerebral angiogram, is one of the common diagnostic tests…

3 weeks ago

All you need to know about Ataxia

Table of Content: What is Ataxia? Causes Symptoms Risk Factors & Complications How is it…

3 weeks ago

पोस्ट कोविड सिंड्रोम में तेजी से बढ़ रही पल्मोनरी फाइब्रोसिस और एम्बोलिज्म (खून के थक्के) की समस्या

जयपुर। कोरोना संक्रमण से ठीक होने के बाद भी फेफड़ों पर इसका असर लंबे समय…

3 weeks ago