This is a common condition, especially in the age group of 3-10 years. Classically symptoms are worse at nights. Usually the child wakes up in the middle of the night complaining of pain in both legs or knees. After a short period of massage and rubbing the painful area, symptoms resolve and the child goes back to sleep. In the day time symptoms are uncommon.
The exact cause of growing pains is unknown. It has been postulated that skeletal growth which mainly takes part at night, increases the limb length and this increases the stress on the soft tissues which tend to lag behind in growth.
Growing pains is a diagnosis of exclusion. Mode of presentation, age of the child and bilateral nature of the symptoms are strongly suggestive. However, thorough clinical examination and plain radiographs are needed to exclude rare but serious conditions such as tumours or infection which could mimic growing pains.
Treatment for this condition is symptomatic. Regular stretching exercises and a short course of mild painkillers at night could be helpful. In the long-term this condition spontaneously resolves.
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