13 answers

3 1/2 Year Old Complaining That His Legs Hurt

Hi Momma's-

My 3-year old has been complaining that his legs hurt him *all* of the time. Initially I thought it was growing pains and then I thought it was just mimicking me since I was in my 3rd trimester with my second child and complaining that I couldn't bend. Now that I have had my second child, he is still complaining that it hurts him. Can anyone tell me if they have experienced this with their 3-year old and how long it lasted? It seems like he has been complaining about this for about 5 months. Is this normal?

Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

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Have you taken him to a doctor to rule out any actual pains? If so, then maybe it's his way of getting extra attention. I saw an episode of Super Nanny where a little girl started complaining about foot cramps as soon as her parents had another baby. She finally admitted she only did it, b/c her mom would pay more attention to her instead of the other baby. It's crazy, but could be an option...

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My sister went through something similar with her daughter. Her daughter would complain all the time that her ankle hurt. Her doctor at the time brushed it off as "normal" and didn't look into it further. She was 2 when it started. It continued on for I want to say around 7 or 8 months before my sister switched her daughter to a different pediatricians office because the doctor office she had been at was brushing it off while her daughter was in pain. She was 3 by then. That office right away said that they need to figure out why she is in pain and did a whole bunch of tests. It was scary at the time because they were testing for all the really bad stuff first to weed them out. It turned out that her diagnosis was juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. They got it under control with medicine so that she didn't need to be in pain anymore. She is now 7 and has been in remission for over a year. They think it is permanant remission. I'd definitely check into it with his pediatrician so he doesn't have to be in pain all the time. Poor little guy! Best wishes to you in finding the cause of the pain and getting rid of it!

1 mom found this helpful

I would call the dr and have him looked at. My sister let her sons go after him complaining of his arm hurting and leg she finally took him to the er...even after the dr said don't worry if its not swollen or bruised don't worry about it. Well her dr was wrong he broke his arm and leg they were only minor but if it was looked at right away he wouldn't be going through physical therapy right now. Don't put it off. Have your son checked.

This happened to me when i was 11. With me it was Diabetes. Does your son drink alot? Go to the bathroom alot? Eat good but lost any weight? Seem tired alot? Just things to watch for and maybe ask a Dr. about.

My 7 yr old neighbor had leg hurting problems and hers was Leukemia. Maybe another thing to ask a Dr.

I hope it's nothing and there is a good chance that it is nothing but keep your mind open to other possibilities. Catching any illness early is important.

Congratulations on your new born. Hoping both you and baby are healthy. Now about those legs. My son complained frequently for about 2yrs on and off and then it tapered off, but still an occasional complaint now and again - he just turned 6. The first thing I did was make sure he could move them without pain. I also had the doctor check him on one of his regular check-ups. After my son checked out okay I observed him. I observed him when he made mention of pain and when he did not make mention of pain. Was he playing, jumping, laughing, eating etc. There was no real difference so I felt comfortable with growing pains. Some things I did to comfort him was massage his legs with with massage oil that had a little lavender, rosemary etc in it. It comforted him and made him feel like we were addressing the issue. Good luck.

I had the same problem with my now 7 year old and they developed into really bad leg cramps as he got a little older.

I was told to give him bannanas and gatorade. I also found that taking him to the Chiropracter has helped because he hasn't had a problem since.

My sister when we where younger used to have really bad leg pains to where she would just sit and cry and all they was was growning pains. May be a good idea to have checked by doc. though to be on safe side. Best of luck!

my son is now 23 years old before he could even talk he would point to his legs and you could tell that something hurt....by the time he was able to talk he complained with his legs hurting...as time went on we even ended up in emergency room with him screaming and crying with them.
We tried warm baths, having him walk, we tried muscles rubs etc.. was told he just had growing pains, flue virus, etc, even tested him for leg perthies disease.... at age 5 they finally sent us to a neurologist.......he was diagnosed with restless leg syndrome, was placed on medication and till this very day still takes medication for it.......lots of times you cant see or feel anything, other times you can feel and be able to tell if the muscles or extremley tight and hard feeling.......like that of someone who walked or ran for a very long time. etc.... please dont disreguard his pain,
it could be a real disorder that could be easily treated.... ask your doctor to have him seen by a neuorlogist and pay close attention to muscles etc... and if the times he complains the most are times when hes tired, or has been sitting for long period of times etc.... sometimes there are no clues of any kind......except the pain........hope this helps someone........it took us 5 long years and many trips to e.r. and doctor etc..........

Hi N.,

I think it would be best to mention it to his doctor. Sometimes kids make up something like that for attention, but it's best to rule out any medical issues just in case. I remember that I used to get leg cramps very often when I was little and it would be so painful I wouldn't be able to walk. I'm 35 now and still get leg cramps, just not nearly as often as I did as a child. My mom always gave me St. Joseph's Aspirin and within a half hour the pain would go away and I would fall asleep from the exhaustion of being in pain.

Good Luck!

Have you taken him to a doctor to rule out any actual pains? If so, then maybe it's his way of getting extra attention. I saw an episode of Super Nanny where a little girl started complaining about foot cramps as soon as her parents had another baby. She finally admitted she only did it, b/c her mom would pay more attention to her instead of the other baby. It's crazy, but could be an option...

My son is also 3 an he is complaining about his leg right above his foot. It has been going on for about 6-7 months but its not every day maybe like once every two weeks. Lastnight he woke up twice crying becuse his leg was hurting. I'm not sure what kind of Dr I should take him to (foot and leg)?
I might take him to the hospital to day. I will let you know what they say.


I have two sons, 6 1/2 yr and 4 yrs that complain all the time too. The older one since he was 3 yrs old- the doctors ruled everything but RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome). I would not let the doctor test him -medication would be too much and testing for a 5 year old would be crazy for RLS. My younger son one started when he was 2 1/5 yrs old and we went through the same thing. Now we just give the boys Tylenol when they have a VERY busy day since they can get dependent on the Tylenol.

One thing I wonder, is the pain just at night or ALL the time (night and day). That would be something different. That is the one question I was asked ALL the time, is it all day or just at night. Best thing, take him to the doctor to get some things ruled out.

If you can, post what you found out...

I understand what you are going through, my 6 year old used to come in EVERY night with leg aches. I would give him Tylenol and wrap his leg with an ace bangade and send him bac to bed. When I talked to the Dr about it, they asked if it was both legs or just one. I noticed it was one consistantly and they did X-rays to be sure, but nothing was broke or wrong. I do notice that when my son plays on concrete, like in the basement or outside on the driveway, he will ALWAYS wake up with problems. I also know that for awhile I would let him crawl into bed with me if he woke up in the night, and I think it was more behavioral. With a new baby at home, I wonder if it isn't more of the attention he gets from you or your husband. I would look for a payoff, like why is he doing it. I have a niece with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and when it moves into a new joint, she has SEVERE swelling, like 2xs the size. I would watch for swelling. My family also does have a strong history of juvenile arthritis. I would mention it to your Dr. just to be safe. If you have a gut feeling that something could be wrong, go with it. Mom's guts hardly ever fail them!
Good luck!

Hi N.: My son is now 4 but when he was 3 he complained about his legs hurting him and he would cry. After I gave him a massage on both legs he said he felt better. I mentioned it to his pediatrician and she said especially for boys, they experience that kind of pain and that it is growing pains. Boys grows in spurts, all of a sudden they grow and inch so their joints tend to hurt more than girls. That is what she said and another Dr. confirmed that same theory. If your son has too much pain, tylenol will usually do it. Hope this helped.

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