Growing pains are harmless pains of the limbs in children. They often happen at night and last 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Growing pains do not happen from growing. The exact cause is not known. Things that may play a role are:
This problem is more common in children who are 4 to 14 years of age.
Other things that may raise the risk are:
Rapid growth does not increase the risk of this problem.
Growing pains often happen in both sides of the thighs, calves, or behind the knees. Some children may also have pain on one side or in the upper limbs.
The pain will come and go, but often lasts 30 minutes to 2 hours. It usually happens at night. This may cause problems sleeping.
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You will be asked about your child's symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.
Growing pains will go away with time. Home care may help. Choices are:
There are no known ways to prevent growing pains.
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
Canadian Paediatric Society
Growing pains. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/growing-pains . Accessed September 22, 2020.
Growing pains. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed September 22, 2020.
Growing pains are normal most of the time. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/orthopedic/Pages/Growing-Pains-Are-Normal-Most-Of-The-Time.aspx. Accessed September 22, 2020.
Mohanta MP. Growing pains: practitioners' dilemma. Indian Pediatr. 2014 May;51(5):379-383.
Last reviewed March 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Kari Kassir, MD
Last Updated: 9/22/2020