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You can suspect a child's growing pains when they complain about leg pain. They can be especially troublesome at night. Such pain in the muscles and tendons in children is quite common and is due to the intensive development of a young organism. How to recognize that it is definitely growing pains and not a more serious ailment? And how to help a child suffering from pain?

Growing pains , which are related to the development of a young organism, affect children up to 10-12 years of age. They are mainly felt in the legs.

The muscles hurt (not the joints!) On the front of the thighs, in the calves and behind the knees, mainly in the evening or at night. Pain usually lasts 10-30 minutes, but it can be longer, even several hours. It is paroxysmal - it occurs every few days or months.

Growing pains: causes

Some specialists estimate that growing pains occur in 25% of children, others say about 40 percent. There is also no single theory that would explain the causes of the ailments.

Some doctors see them in the high physical activity of most young people, incl. jumping, running, which forces the muscles.

American scientists put forward another hypothesis. Since limbs grow mainly at night, it can be concluded that the growth process is abrupt and more intense during sleep. How do they explain it?

The growth plates at the ends of bones are made of delicate tissue. So they compress when your baby walks or runs, and this slows growth. The arrears are made up while the child is asleep. Then there is no pressure on the plates and they can develop freely. Bones grow faster, which can, however, be painful.

It has also been noticed that during the period of intensive growth, the tendons turn out to be too short from time to time in relation to the faster growing bones. Then the child, for example, is unable to touch the toes without bending the knees. The tendons are very tense and this can cause various discomforts.

The cause may also be disorders in the body structure, e.g. flat feet, and other much more serious he alth problems.

Growing pains: symptoms

The following symptoms are not associated with growing pains. The presence of one or more of them may indicate a serious illness. Therefore, do not delay visiting a doctor ifyou observe in a child:

  • continuous and persistent pain
  • pain in the morning
  • swelling, stiffness or redness in the joints
  • injury-related pain
  • fever
  • limping (limping)
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • weakness or fatigue
  • pain worsening when touching a sore spot

Growing pains: diagnosis

The further treatment depends on what causes the symptoms.

First, let's check how the child reacts to the touch in times of pain. If even gentle stroking increases the pain reaction, a more serious illness may be suspected.

Children who have growing pains like to be touched and massaged to relieve them. But our own judgment of the situation is not enough.

Only a doctor can determine the cause of trouble. And since there are no special tests for growing pains, pediatricians use what is known as a 'growth pain'. diagnosis of the exclusion.

This means testing for diseases that give similar symptoms, such as joint diseases or cancer. Blood counts and X-rays are the most frequently requested.

In children who suffer from growing pains, the test results are usually normal.

How to relieve growing pains?

Although growing pains are not dangerous to he alth and are not associated with any serious medical conditions, you should certainly try to alleviate them in order to help a suffering child. Here are some proven ways:

  • Gentle massages of aching muscles and warming compresses can be very helpful, a warm bath will also bring relief.
  • After consulting your doctor, you can also reach for mild painkillers containing paracetamol or ibuprofen. Attention, a child under 12 years of age must not be given aspirin, because it can cause very serious Rey's disease (RS), which affects the brain and liver. It is rare, but it's better to be safe than sorry.
  • It's a good idea to encourage your child to stretch their feet (stretching their feet and straightening their fingers upwards), even when they are in pain. They will also be useful after the discomfort has subsided, to prepare the muscles and tendons for the next growth spike.
  • Give your baby plenty of fluids during the day, preferably natural fruit and vegetable juices diluted with water.
  • Remember about a proper diet. In the period of intense bone growth, calcium, vitamin D3and zinc are especially important. These ingredients are mainly found in milk, cheese, yoghurt, lean meat, fish, vegetables and nuts.

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