13 answers

My Sons Legs Hurt

My son who is 4 woke up on Tuesday morning crying cause his legs hurt and told me he couldn't walk. He hadn't taken any falls or anything so I assumed he had a charlie horse or growing pains. I gave him a warm bath, masaged his legs and gave him motrin. He then walked with a limp but much better than he was walking before and still complained they hurt. I kept him home from daycare and just watched him, he still said his legs hurt all day but walked much better. This morning we started all over with the sore legs he walked like a robot not bending his knees. I gave him motrin and massaged them but he is still complaining they hurt. He is walking still with a little limp but will go off and run and play and then a little while later complains his legs hurt. I don't see any swelling or abnormalities so could this be a charlie horse or growing pains or should I be taking him to the doctor. He has no fever and nothing else hurts? Any suggestions would be great. I don't think he is faking cause this morning we decided to walk to work and he asked if he could ride in the strolled which he has never done in his life cause he loves walking.

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"Pediatrician and editor of "The 3a.m. Handbook", Dr. William Feldman says “growing pains, by definition, means that it occurs in both legs usually around bed time. It can usually be made better by rubbing the legs or giving a little acetaminophen.”

Typically growing pains occur at night while a child is off his feet and in bed. And unless the pain is caused by something else, Dr. Feldman says parents can rest assured that growing pains will pass in time. “Growing pains, if you’re sure that they are growing pains, should never be a sign of concern. There are a couple of hallmarks of growing pains. First it always affects both legs, so if a child only has a pain in just one leg, never the other, then that’s not typical and should be seen by a physician. If you notice redness around the joints, swelling around the legs, a rash, fever or a limp then it’s not growing pains and the child should be seen.”

Dr. Feldman adds that growing pains are “always gone by morning”. If these pains are still present upon awakening this could signal something more serious. "


I would say growing pains, but because he is limping and it goes on through out the day, I would at least call the nurse's line to see if that is consistent behavior for growing pains. It could very well be that.

1 mom found this helpful

Our son went through growing pains, and still does occasionally (he's 12 now). It tends to be more noticeable if he has been really physically active.. as that does a lot of stretching of the muscles when they are already stretched due to growth spurts.

But, he also had a strange thing go on around age 5... we were on a trip, and when he woke up in the morning, he complained of his legs hurting. It hurt to extend them while standing. Just extending them will lying down wasn't a big deal, but he couldn't do it with any weight on them. So he hobbled and cried trying to walk. We thought, oh growing pains, etc... it'll relax as the day goes on. Well, it didn't really.. of course, we were in the car most of the day, so he didn't get to stretch much. But, he had been fighting off a cold, and that particular day didn't drink much of anything but water (pushing fluids due to the cold). The next morning, he was still unable to stand and bear the weight of his body, so we took him to the ER (we were at my mom's out of town and it was a Sunday, so couldn't see our regular doc). They did all sorts of bloodwork, and really found pretty much nothing. While waiting for the results of the blood work, he was thirsty/hungry. So I walked down to the vending machines and got him a Powerade and pack of crackers. He drank about 1/3 of the 20 oz Powerade, and when the Doc came back in to go over the blood work results, and recheck his legs again, he was FINE. COMPLETELY recovered from whatever it was. At this point, I believe it was more of an electrolyte imbalance. His bloodwork showed they were slightly off, but nothing dramatic, but then they didn't really have "normal" values for a kid his size (if i remember what they told me correctly) without having run the bloodwork when he was healthy as a benchmark. So maybe it was really WAY off for him.
Obviously, I wouldn't not go to the doctor based on what I have shared about our son's story, but it certainly couldn't hurt him at all to drink an electrolyte beverage or two to make sure everything is in balance.
Just a thought..

1 mom found this helpful

My son did the same thing at that age. It turned out it was just 'growing pains' they went away after a while- but even now, over the summer (he is 10) he had some again- and shot up about 2" in a month! So you could get him checked out, but it sounds very similar to what my son went through .

1 mom found this helpful

yes it could be growing pains. my husband went threw the same thing at that age and so did his cousin. the males in his family are 6 foot and above. Does your family have a tallness in there genes?
go ahead and take him to the docor, but it sounds like what my ghusband went threw.
by the way my husbands was a rare case brcause it was so severe.
good luck

1 mom found this helpful

It cannot hurt to call the MD and get him looked at. I think it is just growing pains, but still call put your mind at ease.

1 mom found this helpful

I'd go to your primary care physician and let them rule out the things they suspect but I'd guess you need to go to a ortho. Could be a bone disease, something to do with the foot, hip.. whatever. But I wouldn't let this be. This extreme of a change of behavior and constant gripe should be checked out in my opinion.

I had "growing pains" bad when I was little, but I remember them because I was about 5 or 6. My mom would have me lay on the cool kitchen floor while she massaged each leg... and probably gave me baby aspirin at that time. I agree that you could wait a few days and see if it passes.....if not, take him to the doc. You do want to rule out arthritus for sure.

I wouldn't panic or anything but would continue to be concerned if it isn't gone in a day or two. Spinal problems can cause leg pain. I would say take him to the doctor on Friday if he is still complaining of leg pain, not walking normally, or not acting like himself. It is probably nothing serious but sometimes it is just best to go in and make sure. Let us know.

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