How Long Do Growing Pains Last?

Medically Reviewed on 12/10/2021
How Long Do Growing Pains Last
Growing pains vary from child to child. Some feel pain for a few minutes while others feel pain for several hours

Growing pains vary from child to child. Some feel pain for a few minutes while others feel pain for several hours. Pain is usually intermittent, although sometimes it can occur on a daily basis. Most children outgrow growing pains within a few years.

What are growing pains?

Growing pains are cramping, achy pain that usually occurs in the legs, and typically affects children between the ages of 3-12. 

Characteristics of growing pains are as follows:

  • Occurs late in the afternoon or at night and typically goes away in the morning
  • Affects both legs (thighs, calves, or behind the knees)
  • Not related to growth or growth spurt
  • Occurs due to increased physical activity
  • Doesn’t require specific treatment
  • Stops as the child becomes a teenager
  • Cannot be avoided or prevented

When should you call a doctor?

Growing pains are no cause for concern, as they are normal, common, and typically resolve on their own. However if you notice the following symptoms in your child, talk to your doctor:

  • Pain is persistent and will not go away
  • Pain can be felt in the morning
  • Unusual rash
  • Less active than usual
  • Always tired or weak
  • Complains of joint aches or fever
  • Starts to limp or favor one leg
  • Swelling or pain in joints

Swelling or pain in joints could indicate juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Growing pain shouldn’t affect your child’s movement or reduce their strength.

What causes growing pain?

Although the name is misleading, there is no evidence that growth causes growing pain. Potential causes of growing pains include:

  • Increased physical activity may cause overuse of the muscles, resulting in pain.
  • Children with growing pains may be more sensitive to pain and are more likely to have headaches and abdominal pain.
  • Children with flexible joints or flat feet may have growing pains.
  • Less bone strength due to low vitamin D levels can cause growing pains.

How can you manage your child’s growing pains?

  • Gently massage affected areas
  • Stretch the leg muscles
  • Place a heating pad or warm cloth on affected areas
  • Give over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Have them wear shoe inserts (if your child has flat feet)
  • Encourage exercise to strengthen flexible joints
  • Encourage them to take breaks during any physical activity
  • Give them a warm bath before bedtime to ease sore muscles


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Medically Reviewed on 12/10/2021
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