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Growing pains

ache; pain; muscle; growing; grow; tired; hurt; growing; pain ;


Maybe you've heard other kids talk about 'growing pains', or maybe you've had them yourself.

growing pains

What do growing pains feel like?

  • It's usually a pain or ache in the leg muscles or behind the knees.
  • It usually hurts in both legs at the same time.
  • It usually comes at night or when you're asleep, and can be so bad that you wake up.
  • It doesn't hurt the next morning.
  • The pain can come on for a few days, then go away and not come back for many weeks or months.
  • There isn't any swelling or redness.

They usually start around 3-5 years of age and finish before 15-18 years.

About 1 in 3 children get growing pains.

They are nothing to do with growing.


growing pains


What causes growing pains?

No-one knows what causes growing pains, as nothing can be found wrong with the legs when someone is seen by a doctor.

Sometimes they happen more often if:

  • skeletonMaybe you are really tired because you've been doing lots of sport or running.
  • Maybe you keep sitting in an uncomfortable way.
  • Maybe you have flat feet or knock knees.
  • Maybe you are feeling very upset or scared about something.

What you can do

  • Do some leg stretches before you go to bed, and get mum or dad to rub the muscles gently.
  • Put a hot water bottle or heat pack on the sore bits.
  • Your parents may give you a pain relief tablet which could help lessen the pain.
  • Don't worry. If your doctor says that you have 'growing' pains then you'll grow out of them!

If you have a pain in just one leg, your joint is swollen, or it hurts when you move, the pain might be caused by something else, so ask mum or dad if they think you should go to the doctor.

Kids talk about growing pains

  • growing pains"Try to relax and put a warm wheat bag on your legs to make you feel better." Kelly  KellyKelly
  • "Don't worry, you do grow out of growing pains," Madeline
  • "I got growing pains when I was younger but I don't have them any more." David
  • "Just lie in bed and rest. Mum may give you a paracetamol tablet if it really hurts and is keeping you awake." Lewis

Dr Kate says:

Dr KateIf you are often waking up in the night with leg pains ask mum to take you to see your doctor. If you are doing lots of exercise make sure that you warm up before exercise and cool down properly afterwards.

Even when children are growing fast (in a growth spurt) they are still growing so slowly that the growth cannot cause pain. Growing pains are not caused by growing. They happen at the same time as children are growing, but are not caused by growth. However, since no-one really knows why they happen they will probably go on being called 'growing pains'.

Growing pains are silly
Over the night
With a lot of pain
In your legs and arms
Nothing to fear
Get mum to help

ains in your muscles
Aches in your legs
In your bed
Not for ever
Soon they'll be over

Growing pains are very bad
Growing pains make me very mad
Growing pains come at night
Growing pains give me a fright

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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