Symptoms of growing pains
The symptoms for growing pains differ from child to child. Some children may experience intense pain on a daily basis, whereas others only experience mild growing pains every once in a while. Growing pains are usually felt in both legs on the calves, behind the knees, and in front of the thighs.
If your child wakes up feeling leg pain first thing in the morning, and the pain goes away after they’ve been moving around, they may be suffering from a condition known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA). According to Thomas JA Lehman, MD, chief of pediatric rheumatology for the Hospital for Special Surgery at Weill Medical College of Cornell University and author of the book, “It’s Not Just Growing Pains,” children who exhibit signs of JRA should see a podiatrist as soon as possible for evaluation.
Lehman says that JRA can worsen if times goes by and the condition is left untreated. JRA is also associated with symptoms such as joint stiffness, joint pain, and joint swelling. Parents who dismiss their children’s growing pains with hopes that they’ll go away on their own could be increasing their child’s risk for disabilities later on in life. Over time, JRA can lead to more chronic arthritis, limits on physical activity, and ongoing pain and stiffness.
Diagnosis and treatment for growing pains
In most cases, your podiatrist may be able to diagnose growing pains and related conditions by performing an examination on your child and asking questions about the symptoms they’re experiencing. A podiatrist can arrive at the proper diagnosis, and rule out other possible causes of pain.
Treatment for growing pains will vary depending on the severity of pain your child is experiencing. Your podiatrist may recommend that your child have their legs massaged, do a series of leg stretches, and place a warm compress or heating pad on the sections of their legs that hurt the most.
Is leg pain preventing your child from sleeping peacefully through the night? Call Kansas City Foot Specialists to schedule an evaluation at (913) 338-4440, or request an appointment online so we can provide the proper diagnosis to get your child back on his or her feet.