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Growing Pains

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How Are Growing Pains Treated?

Treatment of growing pains depends on how much pain your child has. The following things may ease discomfort and help your child feel better:

  • Massaging the legs.
  • Stretching the leg muscles. This may be difficult for younger kids.
  • Placing a warm cloth or heating pad on the sore leg. Be careful not to burn the skin and do not use during sleep.

If the pain does not get better, ask your health care provider if it's OK to give your child an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Ask about the appropriate dose for your child. Never give aspirin to a child. Aspirin use in children has been linked to a life-threatening disease called Reye's syndrome.

When Should I Call the Doctor?

When deciding whether to call the doctor, it's important to remember that growing pains are almost always felt in both legs. Pain that is only in one leg may be a sign of a more serious condition. Call your health care provider if this happens.

It's also important to remember that growing pains affect muscles, not joints. And they do not cause limping or fever.

Call your child's doctor or nurse if leg pain occurs with the following symptoms. They aren't symptoms of growing pains, but your doctor will need to examine your child and run tests:

  • injury, such as a fall
  • fever
  • loss of appetite
  • limping or difficulty walking
  • rash
  • red, warm, painful, swollen joints
  • tiredness
  • weakness
  • weight loss

And of course, call your doctor if you have any other concerns.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Daniel Brennan, MD on July 11, 2014
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