Are growing pains normal?

Are growing pains normal?

What are growing pains?

Firstly, what are “growing pains”? They are the leg muscle pains experienced by children and adolescents often at the calf, front of thigh or behind the knees, that do not have an obvious cause. Despite the name, growing is not what causes the pain, except in the case of Server’s disease, where the calf bone has grown faster than the Achilles tendon. Growing pains are often worse in the afternoon or evening. Sometimes, the pain can wake a child from their sleep. The cause is not known, but running, climbing, or jumping during the day might increase the risk of leg pain at night.

When is it concerning?

All pain can cause worry, but typically the kinds of pains resolve themselves quickly.

Pains in the back, neck or headaches are not the same as growing pains and should be assessed. If your child has leg pain that is preventing them from going about their life comfortably, then assessment is advised to rule out more concerning causes.

What can be done?

Unfortunately, not a lot can be done to prevent or treat growing pains, but stretching and gentle movement, like walking, may help some.

The takeaway message

The term “growing pains” has been used to describe any pain felt by a child or teenager for a long time, but this is not the case and is dismissive of what children feel. Growing pains relate to often at the calf, front of thigh or behind the knees. If your child is experiencing pain elsewhere, or their leg pain does not resolve itself quickly it is a good idea to have them assessed.

Chiro for Kids Special

To coincide with the April school holidays this year we are running 2 special offers for families of The Chiropractic Domain.

  1. Standard visits for all patients under 18 years old get an extra $5.00 off their standard or reactivation visits.

  2. New patients under 18 years old get 50% off their first AND second visit.


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Mohanta MP. Growing pains: Practitioners' dilemma. Indian Pediatrics. 2014;51:379.

Kliegman RM, et al. Musculoskeletal pain syndromes. In: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016. Accessed Aug. 3, 2016.

Uziel Y, et al. Five-year outcome of children with "growing pains": Correlations with pain threshold. Journal of Pediatrics. 2010;156:838.

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