Growing pains are a common symptom of many types of cancer. They occur during the growth stage of tumors, and they are caused by several factors including:
The tumor’s ability to support normal cell division.
Tumor cells’ inability to divide properly due to abnormal gene expression or other problems.
Chemotherapy drugs interfering with normal cell division.
In some cases, radiation therapy may cause them.
The cause of growing pains is unknown, but it’s thought to be linked to the central nervous system and the rapid growth that children experience at certain stages in their lives.
You don’t get over growing pains as you get older, so the term “growing pains” is a bit of a misnomer. You may experience the bone aches and pain for a few years until you stop growing or develop a condition that causes constant pain.
When Do Growing Pains Stop?
Parents always want to know when do growing pains stop. Kids will start to experience pain in the lower limbs, knees, ankles, and feet during their periods of rapid growth. As a child grows, the joints become more prominent and this causes pain in the knees and legs. The pain will increase with the activity level at this time.
There are instances when the pain will subside, but it typically won’t go away completely. It will be at its worst during puberty as rapid growth spurts occur and the body is learning to adapt and move in new ways.
When Should I Call The Doctor?
Parents should call the doctor immediately if the child is:
Not able to walk or is limping significantly.
Showing signs of extreme pain, such as yelling or crying when they move their legs.
Refusing to walk and is generally uncooperative.
Even if it doesn’t seem serious, you should get your child checked out if they’re experiencing leg pain. There are many different conditions that can lead to leg pain in addition to growing pains.
What Are Common Conditions That Cause Leg Pain?
There are many different conditions that can cause a child to experience pain in their legs. These include:
Diseases and infections of the bone, muscle, and joints. Some examples include juvenile arthritis, osteomyelitis, and osteochondritis dissecans.
Overuse of the muscles, tendons, or joints. This can be caused by participating in sports or activities that involve a lot of running, jumping, and changes in speed or direction.
Tumors, either inside or outside of the body. These can be cancerous or non-cancerous.
Stress and anxiety, which can cause pain either in the mind or in the body.
When Should I Get My Child Checked Out?
Most of the time growing pains are nothing to be concerned about, and they will go away on their own. However, there are instances when you should contact your child’s pediatrician or see a specialist. Some of these instances include:
The pain is interfering with your child’s quality of life.
The pain is interfering with sleep or school work.
Your child has other medical problems or a family history of bone conditions.
You believe the pain is being caused by something else.
Your child has other concerning symptoms, such as swelling, loss of function, or a fever.
How Are Growing Pains Diagnosed?
Most of the time your child’s pediatrician will do a physical examination to check for signs of other conditions. They may also take some blood to rule out other conditions, such as infection.
In some cases, your child may undergo testing to determine what is causing the pain. This may include an x-ray, MRI, CT scan, or even surgery in rare cases.
Once your child’s doctor diagnoses the cause of the leg pain, they can begin treatment. Depending on the cause, your child may need to wear a cast or brace. In other cases, your child may need to participate in physical therapy.
If your child is experiencing psychological distress, they may require therapy to lessen the pain or stress. This can be in the form of one-on-one counseling or in a group setting.
There are some ways to help prevent leg pain.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Growing pains (E Flamholtz, Y Randle – 1990 – doc1.bibliothek.li)
- Prevalence of “growing pains” in young children (AM Evans, SD Scutter – The Journal of pediatrics, 2004 – Elsevier)
- Growing pains (H Peterson – Pediatr Clin North Am, 1986 – fiftynorth.org)
- Gene therapy’s growing pains (E Marshall – Science, 1995 – go.gale.com)
- ‘Growing pains’: a clinical study of non-arthritic limb pains in children (JM Naish, J Apley – Archives of disease in Childhood, 1951 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Growing pains in children (Y Uziel, PJ Hashkes – Pediatric Rheumatology, 2007 – ped-rheum.biomedcentral.com)