We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Growing Pains?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated Feb 05, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Growing pains are pains that may occur in children during the ages of 3-5 and 8-12. They often manifest as pain in the legs, or painful cramping of the muscles around the thighs, the calves or the shins. Actually, most doctors don’t believe that growing pains are associated with growing. Instead they suggest that growing pains are muscle exhaustion from kids playing hard during the day.

However, growing pains normally stop after growth periods stop. They become far less common after children have stopped growing. Further children seem more susceptible to these pains during rapid growth spurts.

Generally growing pains occur late in the day or sometimes in the middle of the night. They may affect one or both legs. If they are accompanied by fever, they may not be growing pains but may indicate others sorts of illness. Also if they occur with great frequency, it is probably best to get a doctor’s advice regarding them. Sometimes the early stages of conditions like rheumatoid arthritis can be dismissed as growing pains. As well, pain associated with fever may indicate injury to the leg or the beginnings of influenza.

When other conditions have been ruled out, or when growing pains are infrequent, a few things can help make a child more comfortable. If the pains occur late in the day, a warm bath can help alleviate cramping. As well, ibuprofen or acetaminophen may help alleviate the pain associated with cramped muscles.

A child can also use a heating pad but this is generally recommended for older children only who are under supervision. Especially in the middle of the night, if a parent or child forgets to turn off a heating pad, the child could suffer accidental burning of the child’s sensitive skin.

Giving ibuprofen at night may head off growing pains, according to some doctors. This advice should be taken only under a doctor’s care because there are some risks associated with consistent use of pain medication.

However, if a child is occasionally subject to growing pains and has played very hard during the day, the occasional use of ibuprofen or acetaminophen at bedtime might help eliminate cramping at night. This use should only be sporadic and should not exceed more than a couple of days in succession, unless one is otherwise directed by a physician.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By Ana1234 — On Nov 19, 2014

@pleonasm - I've never realized that there was a real condition called growing pains. I always thought it was just a reference to the emotional trials of growing up, rather than to literal pain. It was the kind of thing my parents would say when one of us had a tantrum or was miserable over something at school, that we just had growing pains.

By pleonasm — On Nov 18, 2014

@Mor - Just be careful that both you and your child know and trust each other enough to know when something is serious. You don't want to dismiss an ache as growing pains and then find out it was appendicitis or something like that.

An easy check is whether they have a fever or other symptoms like swelling around where they are sore. If it is hot or swollen or they seem feverish then you should give them an anti-inflammatory and see if that helps. If it continues for more than a day or starts getting worse then absolutely get them to the doctor.

But kids do have various aches and pains while growing up that just come and go and may never have an explanation.

By Mor — On Nov 17, 2014

It's difficult to know how seriously to treat things like growing pains. I tend to try and just be practical about it. You don't want to make too much of a fuss over something that is probably going to be gone by morning, but you also don't want your child to think you don't care.

I've worked with children whose parents acted like every little scrape and sore muscle was a crisis and they quickly learn to treat them like that as well. But if the adults around them just treat it as another part of life they will too.

So be kind, but practical. Offer them rest and compresses and things like that, but don't rush them to the doctor or anything.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.