Growing Pain Myth #1 – Every child has growing pains.
Truth – Only 25 to 40 percent of children have growing pains at some point. Growing pains are usually more common between ages 3-5 and between 8-12. They can affect girls and boys equally, but are more common in girls. (3)
Growing Pain Myth #2 – Growing pains are caused by bones growing.
Truth – “There’s no evidence that the pain is caused by growing bones.” (3) “[B]ones grow slowly, even during growth spurts, and this slow growth does not cause pain.” (1)
It is more likely growing pains may be caused by:
• Poor posture – If your child stands, sits or walks awkwardly, he/she is putting greater strain on his/her muscles. (1)
• Stress or unhappiness, although this is not often the case in true growing pain situations (1)
• Tired muscles. Children play hard and this may be the most likely cause of muscle pain. (1)
Growing Pain Myth #3 – Pain can happen anytime, anywhere and involve muscles and joints.
Truth – Growing pain symptoms may include:
• Muscular aches and pains in both legs (calf, behind the knee and front of the thigh) and, sometimes in the arms
• Pain does not worsen with movement of the legs indicating the pain is in the muscles not the joints
• Intermittent or occasional pain lasting about 10 to 15 minutes and “affecting both sides of the body similarly (although not necessarily at the same time).” (3)
• Pain usually happens in the late afternoon or evening, or during the night, but is usually gone in the morning
• Headaches, but not fever, chills, redness, swelling, limping, or joint pain
Growing Pain Myth #4 – It’s just growing pains. There’s no need to see a doctor.
Truth – There are body aches and pains that should be examined by a doctor, such as:
• Pain in one particular spot, which may need X-rays or a bone scan
• Fever with the leg pain, without any other flu-like symptoms
• Difficulty or inability to put weight on one leg, or limping
• Persistent pain through the day