Relieving Aches from Growing Pains

Growing_PainsIt’s not unusual for kids to feel some aches and pains as they grow up.

Joint flexibility is the most common cause of musculoskeletal pain in children and is often responsible for what is known as “growing pains.”

Still, it can be just as hard on mom and dad as it is on their child to see her in tears from achy ankles or throbbing knees. The good news is there are many ways to manage this pain.

Dr. Andrew Shulman, a rheumatologist and arthritis specialist at CHOC Children’s, has some tips for treating growing pains:

  • Massaging and rubbing sore legs helps to soothe the discomfort.
  •  Strengthening exercises under the guidance of a physical therapist can help.  Strengthening the muscles that support the joints provides protection for the joints.
  • A physical therapist can help the child if he or she has flat feet, a condition wherein the ankles turn inward and flatten the arch in the foot. This can put stress on ankles, knees and legs of children who are flexible. Children with flat feet also can wear shoes with better arch support or orthotic inserts to help correct the turning inward of the feet.
  • Over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help, but in many cases they have no effect.

Growing pains are normal, but parents should also ensure that the pain isn’t accompanied by swelling, fever, injury or any other more severe symptoms. If it is, the hurt may be more than a growing pain.

“If the pain is frequent or interfering with activities, then it’s time to evaluate if the pediatrician should be called,” Dr. Shulman says. “We’re available to help the pediatrician. Certainly if arthritis is suspected, we want to be involved.”

Related articles:

  • Growing Pains in Kids
    “Growing pains are real because many children experience musculoskeletal pain,” says Dr. Andrew Shulman, a CHOC Children’s Pediatric Rheumatologist (Arthritis Specialist). “It’s a very common symptom but not a good ...

2 thoughts on “Relieving Aches from Growing Pains”

  1. This article really hit home for me. My twin girls are going through growing pains right now, and I feel terrible for them. Thank you for all the wonderful information packed into this article. I took it straight to heart.


    1. Thank you, Cheryl! Hopefully these tips can help your daughters — and you — get some relief!

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