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My child has leg pain, is it normal?

Updated on 10 May 2023

It can prove to be frustrating for a parent to be unable to identify what is causing their child pain. However, in the case of specific leg pain, the answer is much clearer.

Leg pain occurs in many young children between the ages of 3 and 6 as part of the normal growing process.

Usually, it also reappears during pre-puberty, between the ages of 8 and 12.

While growing pains in the legs are rather common, it is important not to view them as trivial.

After all, leg pain could also be a red flag to the presence of a biomechanical problem or other pathology in your child.

Here are tips for distinguishing normal growing pains from leg pain that should be closely monitored.

Recognizing growing pains

Before you begin to worry about the condition of your child’s legs, you should take the time to identify any potentially concerning symptoms.

In your child’s case, a surge in growth will likely cause:

  • Pain that occurs throughout the night;
  • Cramps that disturb sleep;
  • Pain that manifests itself in the thighs and sometimes even in the knees;
  • Muscle discomfort instead of joint pain;
  • Pain that returns spontaneously without being seasonal;
  • A rapid build-up of fatigue;
  • Irritability and more frequent crying.

But there are also many less common physical signs that can occur during a growth spurt.

Therefore, you may benefit from seeking the advice of a professional to distinguish between symptoms.

Growth and discomfort

Many factors play a role when talking about discomfort during the regular development process.

Usually, it is linked to:

  • The irregular growth rate of muscles, tendons, and bones;
  • A very active child, in which the structures of the musculoskeletal system tire more quickly;
  • The child’s legs or feet aligned in a particular way, such as valgum or varum knees.

Relieve pain in a natural way

It’s absolutely understandable that, as a parent, you would want to relieve your child’s pain.

However, when it comes to pain that can be caused by a multitude of factors, like that of growing up, it may be difficult to know how to proceed.

Fortunately, there are several quick and simple remedies:

  • Give aching muscles and tendons a light massage.
  • Adopt a stretching routine before going to sleep, paying special attention to the calves, quads, and the back of the thighs.
  • Encourage taking hot baths.
  • Apply heat compresses.

These solutions are easy to use, but not necessarily effective if the pain is caused by something other than growth.
If you wish to determine the optimal treatment, the podiatrist can offer invaluable advice.

When to seek professional help?

Growing pains are quite common, thus some conditions cause symptoms similar to these.

The following red flags may indicate the need for professional intervention:

  • Swelling or redness in the joints of the legs;
  • Repeated pain at night;
  • Difficulty moving or maintaining balance;
  • A buildup of fatigue;
  • Weight loss;
  • Pain that persists or worsens during the day;
  • Pain that always occurs during or after physical activity.

A podiatrist’s intervention has for purpose to assess your child’s pain to get a clearer diagnosis.

Subsequently, if they consider that the experienced discomfort has no natural causes, they will suggest an appropriate treatment.

For example, in the case of a deformity such as a flat foot, the podiatrist may offer foot orthoses, especially if your child is older.

PiedReseau has clinics throughout Quebec for the treatment of leg pain in children

Even though your child’s leg may stem from the process of growing, it should not go ignored.

See a podiatrist as soon as you catch unusual symptoms, in order to prevent a seemingly trivial situation from becoming a problem.

Contact a PiedReseau clinic near you today.

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