Does your Child Complain of Leg Pain? Growing Pains May Be the Cause and PT Can Help!

As a parent, you are constantly learning about your children’s needs and figuring out how to solve them on the go. There is no training or book that teaches you exactly what to do when your children complain of sicknesses, aches or pains. From the many bumps and bruises they get when they are learning how to walk, to when they are finally able to talk and let you know about their aches and pains, it is very hard to decipher what needs medical attention and what exactly to do about it. We recommend as a rule of thumb to be proactive regarding your children’s needs and listen to their complaints and concerns.


A very common complaint between the ages of 3-10 is leg pain. As many as 37% of 4-6 years olds experience "growing pains" also known as achy leg pain that occurs in both legs. Children report feeling leg pain in the front of the thighs, back of the knees and or surrounding the calves. The pain generally occurs in the late afternoon or evening, may become worse at night, and typically disappears by the morning. 

Growing pains are very inconsistent and it may seem like children are faking. One minute they are complaining of achy pains in their legs, or even possibly crying about severe pain and the next minute they are completely fine running and jumping around. This is very common and most parents are not sure exactly what to do about it. Should you ignore the pain and let it pass? Should you bring your child to the doctor? Or bring them to the ER?


You should always listen to your child’s complaints and never ignore the pain. If there are any other associated medical symptoms such as a fever, an unusual lump or swelling, lack of energy or any type of weight change/loss than you should bring your child to the medical doctor immediately.


If your child is not showing the additional medical symptoms stated above then you can bring your child directly to a pediatric physical therapist to start them on the path to feeling better. With direct access, physical therapists can now see your child for any musculoskeletal condition without the need for a prescription from a medical doctor. A physical therapist will be able to evaluate your child and discover which muscles are tight or weak and what exercises would be best to perform specifically for them. A pediatric physical therapist will be able to tailor the exercises to look like your child is playing, making the session interactive and fun while getting your child to stretch the muscles of their legs appropriately. This will help decrease the discomfort experienced by growing pains and in just a few sessions your child will start feeling better.


Your physical therapist will be able to perform hands-on stretching and soft tissue mobilization on your child’s upper and lower legs. Your physical therapist will be able to teach you exercises and stretches to perform on your child as well. In addition, a physical therapist will also be able to notify you if any other serious medical condition is taking place and will refer you to a medical doctor if necessary.


You can now search and find the right physical therapy clinic for your family and schedule an appointment through your mobile phone or through your computer with betterPT.  Don’t wait to get your child feeling BETTER. Book an appointment with a physical therapist today!

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