My preschooler complains of leg pains. Are growing pains real?
Many doctors think growing pains are real, but it’s difficult to say if a specific pain is caused by growth. Often, it comes down to ruling out other issues, like muscle strains or bony abnormalities (cysts and tumours that develop in the bones), which are very uncommon. Growing pains tend to involve an aching or cramping that occurs on both sides of the body—most often in the shins or knees. They typically affect children at night and are more likely to occur during a growth spurt. Some kids never have them, while others get them throughout childhood.
Often massage, heat and, when needed, ibuprofen can alleviate this pain. Some doctors may recommend potassium supplements, which promote muscle health, or magnesium, which helps relax muscles. Your child should still be able to run, jump and play with friends. If they’re having pain throughout the day; if the pain wakes them up at night; if you see any swelling, redness or deformity; or if your child is having a fever with the pains, please see your doctor because it may be something other than growing pains.