My toddler has growing pains

Is your toddler having trouble falling asleep and complaining of pain in his upper legs? Maybe he/she has growing pains. Growing pains are harmless, yet some parents still worry about their toddler’s pain.

Growth pain is usually pain in the muscles of the upper legs. Caused by their physical development. But growth pain can also occur in the knees, calves, thighs, and shins. How it is that some children suffer from growing pains is not known. Has your toddler been active during the day, did he enjoy playing at preschool, the playground or did you go on a walk? Then he/she is more likely to suffer from growing pains in the evening and at night. The pain is more likely to occur after a day when your toddler has been active. Most of the time growing pains occur in the evening and at night.

Children also experience growing pains, but not be bothered by them. They are probably too busy playing to care. When they lie quietly in their beds they become aware of the pain.

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Shooting pain

Growing pains never last very long: about ten minutes to fifteen minutes. But the pain can come in shooting pains and wake up your toddler. Shooting pains can also occur several times a night, waking your toddler more often. This results in broken nights for both of you. Growing pains are harmless and you do not need to go to the doctor. However, there are a number of things you can do to relieve growing pains in your toddler:

  • Massage the places where your toddler has growing pains.
  • Warmth reduces pain: your toddler can take a warm bath.
  • Let your toddler stretch his legs so there is better blood flow. This can also relieve the pain.
  • You can give your toddler paracetamol, especially for children (read the leaflet before use).

Does the pain persist? Does your toddler have significant swelling in his leg? Is the pain only in one leg? Or does he have pain symptoms not only at night but also during the day? Then it is wise to contact your doctor.

Facts about growing pains

  • A study on lambs showed that 90% of their bone growth is during sleep and that the bones grew only when the lambs were lying down. So that may explain why growing pains occur mainly at night.
  • Growth in young children is with leaps. They don’t grow for a few weeks and then they can grow 2 millimeters in 1 night. This rapid growth can cause growing pains.
  • Your toddler may also get headaches and abdominal pain during growing pains. It can also make him tired and make him cry.
  • Girls seem to suffer from growing pains more often than boys.
  • Children can suffer from growing pains as young as 2 years old. When children are about 12 to 13 years old, they usually no longer suffer from growing pains.

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