As a parent, it is natural to become concerned when your child starts to complain about leg or joint pains. While there are some instances of discomfort that can be chalked up to growing pains that go away on their own, there are some symptoms and signs that you can look for to tell if the joint pain your child is experiencing is something more serious.
Understanding Growing Pains
Believe it or not, growing pains are common in children. These leg pains will often be muscle aches that happen behind the knees, in the thighs or the calves. More than 30 percent of school-aged children will have chronic musculoskeletal pains and roughly half of them are caused by growing pains.
Some growing pain characteristics include:
- Taking place at night and often getting better by morning
- Can be severe enough where the child will wake from their sleep
- Pains can happen several nights in a row or intermittently
- The discomfort will usually take place in both legs instead of just one
- The pains will sometimes be accompanied by abdominal discomfort or headaches
While people used to contribute these aches and pains to growth spurts, studies are showing that it could simply be a result of actively jumping, climbing, running, and playing throughout the day. However, it is important to note that there could be other underlying health concerns in play, such as vitamin D deficiency, restless leg syndrome, low pain tolerance, and fatigue.
Dealing With Joint Pains/Growing Pains
There are some remedies that you can turn to when your child is dealing with joint pains. By talking to a professional podiatrist, you will be able to learn whether or not the joint pains are related to another potential health issue. In the meantime, they may suggest treatments like stretching, a warm bath, using a heating pad on the area, massage, or over-the-counter pain medication.
Cause For Concern
There are several health issues that can present themselves with a symptom like joint pain, including:
- Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
- Lyme Disease
It is important that you consult a doctor if your child has joint pain along with issues such as:
- Recent Injury
- Trouble Walking/Limping
- Tender, Swollen, or Red Joints
- Loss of Appetite
- Fatigue or Weakness
- Weight Loss
When you see a podiatrist for your child’s joint pain, they will be able to give you some insight as to whether or not it is best to seek further testing or care from your regular pediatrician. If the joint pains do not seem to be related to another health condition, your podiatrist will be able to offer guidance and support for treating the discomfort.
Mill Creek Foot & Ankle Clinic wants you to know that we have the ability to address the joint pains that your child might be experiencing. When you make an appointment, we will be happy to perform an assessment to find the right course of treatment.