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How do I know if my child's pain is serious or just growing pains?

Charles J. Sophy, MD
Adolescent Medicine

Worrisome symptoms that might indicate that something more serious may be going on include:

    • Persistent pain, pain in the morning or swelling, tenderness, and redness in a joint
    • Joint pain associated with an injury
    • Limping, weakness, or unusual tiredness

Growing pains typically occur between ages 3 and 7. The pain is triggered when bones grow. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, these pains have been linked to particularly active days and not growth. Growing pains are real discomforts for many children; often growing pains can awaken children from sleep.  Some children are predisposed to getting growing pains. If dad had them, his child will, too. The pains seem most intense after a day of vigorous jumping and running. Children typically feel the pains at night, then they disappear in the morning.  Check with your child’s doctor when your child complains about pain. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.