Growing Pains: When Should Parents Worry?
Is it growing pains or something worse such as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis?
Arthritis Often Missed continued...
In the worst cases, the length of the child's leg can be affected. That
happens when inflammation in an untreated joint increases blood flow in that
joint, he explains. "With that increased blood flow, the bone will grow
bigger. One leg will actually be longer than the other. It can affect walking,
[and] cause hip and back problems."
"The whole key is to understand what growing pains are, and what they
aren't," says Lehman. "A child with growing pains will have no daytime
pain, no limp, no other abnormality. But when the child gets pain during the
day -- and the pains are persistent or abnormally severe -- the child needs to
see a doctor."
Often, children with JRA are mistakenly sent to an orthopaedic surgeon,
Vogler tells WebMD. "If the pain is misinterpreted as a hairline fracture,
the child gets a cast. With JRA, immobilizing the joint is counterproductive.
The treatment should involve anti-inflammatory medications and working on
regaining lost range of motion."
For most kids, getting spoiled by late-night attention is the biggest
problem with true growing pains, Vogler explains. "The growing pains take
on a life of their own. Children find out that crying at night gets mom's
attention, and it becomes positive reinforcement. Parents need to be aware that
most kids with growing pains don't have them every single night. It's fine to
reassure, but don't overindulge."