Growing Pains

Are achy legs keeping your child awake at night? He or she may have growing pains.

Growing pains are cramping, achy muscle pains that some pre-schoolers and preteens feel in both legs. The pain usually occurs in the late afternoon or evenings. But it may cause your child to wake up in the middle of the night.

Growing pains usually start in early childhood, around age 3 or 4. They tend to strike again in kids aged 8-12.

Causes of Growing Pains

Despite the name "growing pains," there is no firm evidence that growing pains are linked to growth spurts.

Instead, growing pains may simply be muscle aches due to intense childhood activities that can wear your child's muscles out. These activities include running, jumping, and climbing. Growing pains seem to be more common after a kid has a particularly full day of sports.

Symptoms of Growing Pains

Growing pains are different for everyone. Some kids have a lot of pain, others do not. Most kids do not have pain every day.