27 answers

12 Year Old Son with Extreme Leg Pain. Growing Pains?!

Have any of you had kids with extreme leg/knee/muscle growing pains? We have visited our normal doctor, a orthopedic doctor, and my son even had an MRI to see if there was anything going on. Everything has come back negative. Doc's keep saying it's growing pains. I'm just surprised - nobody we know has kids that seem to suffer so badly. Day or night - and no other pattern I can see. It comes and goes over a period of a few days - and then disappears for months at a time. Any similar experiences out there...

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So What Happened?™

Thank you for all of your suggestions and experiences. i wish I could say that I received a solution to the problem. My sons legs have not been hurting him in the last months. He is VERY active right now playing football and basketball. So I know with certainty activity is not the cause. I guess I will continue to assume that this is growing pains. But it's surprising to have him crying over it. These pains were only ever in his legs. Hot baths, Advil and taking it easy is what brings some relief when he's going through it. Maybe he's going to be taller than my 5'8" hubby :)

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My 15 year old started to get growing pains at 12. They come and go. Most recently, he was having really "crushing" chest pains. It was hard for him to breath, cough and sneeze. We did pretty much the same thing, searching for answeres and nothing really came of it. The doctor prescribed nepraxin ( allieve) for pain. It took 3 weeks to calm down and he's finally better. He's also had back pain that put him down for a few days. It will pass.

I can't say I know for certain, but as a teen (and even as an adult) a lack of calcium has always caused severe leg cramps for me. It came and went all through puberty, but I finally had a doctor (when I was 21) who correctly diagnosed it. He gave me two shots of calcium, and the extreme pain was gone instantly.

I know females tend to be more susceptible to calcium deficiency, but it's worth a look. Be careful not to have him take calcium and iron at the same time, though... calcium will be absorbed, iron won't.

Also, is he really athletic? Intense activity contributes to the feelings... though the pain goes far beyond a simple muscle ache.

Good luck.

More Answers

My step-son had them well into his teens. Sounds normal. I would start giving him some supplements of calcium and magnesium. Also add some potassium to his diet to see if this helps minimize the pain and occurance. Epsom Salts baths will help after any sports activities or active play. A quick fix we found was to use Hyland's Leg Cramps, it helps alleviate the pain in less than a minute and it puts magnesium into the body right where it hurts to help provide longer relief until supplements or a bath can help soothe things.

1 mom found this helpful

My husband had horrible growing pains when he was young (about 15)... He grew so fast over a short period of time.. He said the pain was unbearable at times in his legs. they ran tests on him back then and everything came back negative as well...

I would check for electrolytes for sure. The epsom salt is good I would reconsider taking a bath after exercise. Due to the fact that exercise causes trauma to muscle so you do not want to increase inflammation by applying heat (hot Bath).I know the hot bath feels good when your in it but I would apply ice 10 to 15 min on 5 off take inflammation away then maybe later on have a epsom salt bath make sure to apply ice after. Ibuprofen, good make sure taking it with food.Hard on your gut.

Froggyfitness

I give my Son Isotonic Calcium and Vitamin D with K2 in the am on an empty stomach and right before he goes to bed. i feel as that this is responsible for him getting relief. I got the supplements at my doctors office but you can also find them here: http://www.visionary-wellness.com. Hope you Son is on the mend real soon.

I honestly can't say if this is the reason, I'm just going on our son. My, now 16-year-old, son had horrible leg cramps as well. He's always been tall for his age. He's had the leg cramps when he was younger, but they really hit him hard in 6th/7th grade. By the time he turned 13 he was 6' tall. At one point he had grown 3 1/2 inches in 2 and 1/2 months. We had to take him to the doctors (for something not related to the leg pains) where they took his measurements, then we came back for a follow-up and the nurse was quite shocked and remeasured him.

He used to have a hard time learning how to control his body, since he grew so quick (think back to when you're pregnant and you still think you can fit behind a chair, but realize that no, the belly has grown, or your not as stable as you once were). He was kind of klutzy. His feet grew so much the poor kid had a hard time walking down the stairs. I used to think he was messing around when he would slip down the stairs. It wasn't until I had him put his foot on the stair that I realized half the ball of his foot and his toes hang over.

His leg cramps seem to have tapered off and he doesn't appear to be growing in height anymore, I think he was an early bloomer, but he grew fast. We just chalked it up to growing too fast. Again, I wouldn't count on that being medically correct, it was just our theory. When he would get the cramps he discovered it helped if I kneeded his calves. That's where the pain was the worst. His thighs just ached and we would give him advil for that.

Sorry I wasn't more help, hope that you get some great ideas for him.

My 15 year old started to get growing pains at 12. They come and go. Most recently, he was having really "crushing" chest pains. It was hard for him to breath, cough and sneeze. We did pretty much the same thing, searching for answeres and nothing really came of it. The doctor prescribed nepraxin ( allieve) for pain. It took 3 weeks to calm down and he's finally better. He's also had back pain that put him down for a few days. It will pass.

My youngest son get pains in his legs. He has mild CP, and his muscles tend to be tight on his left side. He is active and scateboards, ice skates, and does everything a 13yo should do.
This is how we deal with the times his legs hurt. We stretch, stretch, stretch.... Get into the habit of stretching several times a day. This will help the muscles keep up with the bone growth. Then when he does have leg cramps we make sure he's getting enough calcium. I recommend a liquid calcium with magnesium in it. Then last but not least, we do massage on the areas afflicted. Sometimes I have a LMT work on it, other times I do the work myself. This helps my son greatly and he rarely wakes up at night hurting. Good luck!

Sounds like the growing pains my son-in-law experienced during growth spurts from toddlerhood through his teens. Usually they are more common at night, though. That's when bone growth happens, and surrounding tissue must stretch to accomodate.

Since your son also has them during the day, he may need extra massage, warm or cold packs on the achy places. Stretching excersises may help. And ibuprofen or acetaminophen would probably relieve some of the pain.

It would be interesting to track his growth, and see whether he's gaining altitude during these episodes.

My 10-year-old daughter has had them since she was 3 y/o; at that young age she would scream in pain for 2+ hours at a time so I also insisted on x-rays though told they were only "growing pains," but they were negative. Up until 8 years of age they were as often as three times a week, usually in the middle of the night but occasionally during the day. I was told to immediately give her children's Tylenol which I have faithfully done as well as heat pack and massage when it occurs. Hers are almost always behind the knee. I made extensive efforts at the beginning to discover if exercise, food, stress caused the pain and kept a diary but NOTHING AT ALL made a difference in whether she would have them or not. I even tried daily bananas thinking low potassium could be an issue, but no difference whatsoever. We were told that some growing pains go away as teenagers but I have discovered adults that suffered as kids who still suffer. Thank God the frequency has much decreased and over the last year or so she is having them only about twice a month. She is very active with dance and gymnastics and it does not hold her back in any way, so all I can say is GOOD LUCK and hopefully the growing pains will become less over the years! I really now believe there is nothing we can do but accept the pain and suffer a little with them each time.

Hi, just wanted to know have they did blood work on your son? Not to scare you but my son had leg pain to the point he would scream not to touch them. I took him to the drs and they said growing pains. Well couple of days later he became very ill and did a urine culture and they found out that he had blood and protein in his urine. Please have them do blood work and urine test.

Is you son very active? We were involved in competitive soccer and were extremely active. I had terrible pains around that age, in shins up to my knee. (especially in the shins!) It turned out I had really bad shin splints. I was put on a regimen of NO athletics, anti-inflammatory, and leg stretches. You might ask your Dr. about it!!

My 3 year old and my husband have experienced the same.

Did you ever find any relief? My 16 year old son has severe leg pain and we haven't found any cause/treatment yet. I'm very curious how your situation is going. Thanks!

Looks like you have some good advice, I just wanted to say I remember as a kid, and maybe even as a teen (can't remember for sure) I used to get really bad growing pains. They would wake me up crying at night sometimes. I don't have any other problems now, so hopefully this is all it is.

i have celiac's and in fact just came across these posts while researching numbness. many of the people sound just like you, they've been to every doctor only to be told that everything looks ok.

http://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/topic/55007-joint-pain-...
http://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/topic/55007-joint-pain-...
http://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/topic/67672-growing-pai...

(sorry for the duplicate link but i can't get it to post correctly without the extra one. weird.)

I can't say I know for certain, but as a teen (and even as an adult) a lack of calcium has always caused severe leg cramps for me. It came and went all through puberty, but I finally had a doctor (when I was 21) who correctly diagnosed it. He gave me two shots of calcium, and the extreme pain was gone instantly.

I know females tend to be more susceptible to calcium deficiency, but it's worth a look. Be careful not to have him take calcium and iron at the same time, though... calcium will be absorbed, iron won't.

Also, is he really athletic? Intense activity contributes to the feelings... though the pain goes far beyond a simple muscle ache.

Good luck.

Definitely growing pains. I used to cry all night long from them right around that age. My oldest son has suffered from them as well. If your son is very active he could also have Osgood-Schlatter disease. My husband has it from being involved in too many sports at the same time. It is a bump just below the knee - very tender. Although, I would think that would have been one of the first things the doctors would have tested for.

I give bananas - potassium - to my son when he is going thru these pains - his pains are as random as your son's. It really helps! The lack of potassium can has something to do with the pains.

My son just turned 13 and has been having these pains recently. He has also grown an inch in the last month. My husband and I both remember extreme leg pain at that age in conjunction with a growth spurt. Some kids are just more affected than others. (Our younger son will mention a little pain and not even need pain meds with a growth spurt.) We provide Tylenol or Advil which seems to help. His are worse at night but he does have them during the day as well. I'm going to try the magnesium/calcium/potassium that others have mentioned to see if this brings relief. Good luck.

Bananas. I had these growing up and my son has them as well. I was always told it was a lack of potassium and sure enough bananas seem to really help. I recommend eating them regularly, but if he is like my son and I who don't particularly care for them, eating them when it hurts provides relief as well.

My son's had 3 years (at 4, 6 and at 8) where he shot up 4 inches each year. His poor legs would ache almost anytime of the day, but the night would be the worst. He'd wake up almost crying the pains would be so bad. I'd have him take a warm bath and take some Tylenol and it seemed to work most of the time. His long bones in his legs and arms would get the aches, usually one at a time. He's 11 now and I'm expecting another massive growing year any time now. His pediatrician always said he had potential to reach 6'4" by the time he reaches his full height, but I didn't think he'd get there so fast.

I did have pains like this they were worse at night and about at that age so yes I say it's probley growing pain, I'd expect him to grow a bit in the next year and for me I grew 6 in in 3 month hurt before also hurt pretty bad after for about a year.

I went on line and looked up "growing pains in children" and there is a wealth of information you may want to check out.

N.

With my teen that seems to be related to magnesium deficiency.

He also loves epsom salt baths (which is also magnesium).

Good luck.

My son also had "growing pains" that would keep him awake at night. We went to a pediatric podiatrist. He needed custom orthotics. The Dr. said that leg pains in children are often caused by problems with the feet. After running around all day and then lying down at night, the muscles start to cramp and spasm. Fixing his feet took away is leg pains completely. If he goes without shoes for too many days (in the summer) his legs start to hurt again.
B.

WOW Tisha A....that is so strange my 15 year old son has the same everything as your son !!! He also around 12 started the growing pains thing. I would buy 'Sombra' its a natural gel you can rub in to help with the pain. But he too has gotten these crushing chest pains - I thought he was having something wrong with his heart (he's a healthy kid with no health history of anything like this), I took him to 3 doctors and the first one had no idea, the second one gave him an EKG, came back normal he said maybe its acid-reflux and wanted him to go on RX meds for it (to try if that was the true problem) I knew it had NOTHING to do with his digestive tract, it was in his heart area - finally the third doctor seemed to figure it out - it is called Tietze syndrome or costochondritis -- you may want to check out this info. I have on it. Its nothing serious, says its quite common, he prescribed Orudis for the inflammation for 8-10 days, said it could come back anytime. This is what I found:

http://www.tietzessyndrome.com/articles/tietzes-syndrome-...

http://www.medicinenet.com/costochondritis_and_tietze_syn...

http://orthopedics.about.com/cs/sprainsstrains/a/costocho...

I have a 15 year old daughter that suffers from really bad growing pains. She's suffered since she was 7 but after a few years they went away for the most part. In the last 3 months, the pain has started anew and so have our sleepless nights. The difference between now and when she first started having them is the fact that the pain is also in her arms now, before it was only her legs. I have tried everything and she's had multiple tests with the same results, all negative. Advil, Aleve, Tylenol, hot baths, Bengay, Tiger Balm do little to relieve her pain and it usually ends with me rubbing her legs and arms until the pain eases enough for her to sleep a little. She had pain last night and finally fell asleep as 10am, She got up at 6pm and was still in pain so I can look forward to another sleepless night tonight as well. Any other suggestions as to what I can do to help her? It breaks my heart seeing her in so much pain and being unable to help her :(

my 12 year son right leg is is in pain he limps around i dont know what a doc. can do for him .can growing pains be in 1 leg....

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