26 answers

Three Year Old Waking up in Middle of Night with Feet Pain

My three year old son keeps waking up in the middle of the night crying and writhing in pain. He explains that his feet hurt, but that is all he can tell me. He will eventually go back to sleep. Then in the morning he will tell me that they dont hurt anymore. This has been going on for months now. Sometimes he complains about his legs. He had blood work done recently and his sed rate (inflammation) and rheumatiod factor were normal. What could this be? Growing pains? Vitamin deficiency? Are they asleep?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi, S..
I have a 2 year old, and I remember my mom telling me about the similar thing that you son is going through when my brother was about 3. She said he used to wake in the morning with pain on his legs all the time, and when she took him to the doctor, she was told that it was "growing pains". And she said soon, he didn't have anymore pains and my brother grew perfectly normal without any problems, and now he's 33.

I have found some tylenol, I usually give less than needed, and a little massage usually helps my sons cramps when he gets them.. Growing pains is what I have been told they are..

My 4 year old son has had the same problem for about a year now. He occasionally wakes up in the middle of the night complaining of pains in his legs and feet. I usually give him Tylenol and a little massage and then he goes back to sleep. He always wakes up fine in the morning. My nephew has had the same problem also. All I've been told is that they are "growing pains" and it is very common.

More Answers

My nephew went through the same problem and would wake up crying because of the pain in his feet. It is actually a condition however, not sure of the name off-hand. He went to a pediatric ortho dr. and what it comes down to is that he can never be barefoot for long or wear any type of sandals or flip flops. Sneakers with a cushioned soul is what he has to wear. It may not hurt him during the day while barefoot or with a sandal but then come night time, the pain was very bad for him and they would have to massage his feet.

So even during hte day while playing, they try to have him keep his sneakers on, but make sure you buy a good brand that will help him. If you need more info, I can contact my brother but hope this helps in the meantime. Good luck!


My 3 year old does that too. I think it might be that they are asleep. My son sleeps with his feet tucked up under him and its makes them fall asleep. I just rub them until he settles and goes right back to sleep. when I check him and I see that his feet are tucked under I try to get them out from under him. Sometimes it helps.

After reading your post my first thought was that they were falling asleep. Maybe there is a nerve or something that easily gets pinched? I might try seeing a chiropractor. I have only been there once when my son was very young, but it did help. It could also be growing pains, but I've heard of them mostly in the legs and knees. You've got some good advice in the other posts. Some of the solutions are simple, so couldn't hurt to give it a try, like oj before bed.

What are his shoes like. Maybe they aren't supporting his feet enough. Get hima good pair..and try to watch what he does during the day, and even when he sleeps, that could cause this.

Hi S., There is no such thing as "growing pains" as a great doctor once told me. Take your son to a peds orthopedic doctor for an evaluation. When I was a child I too suffered at night with "growing pains". As an adult I found out that I had mis-aligned knees that could have been taken care of most likely without surgery had I been taken to an orthopedic specialist when I was little. Not to mention all the years of pain and now artritis. You know there has to be a problem, you just have to find the right specialist to figure it out. Good luck and best wishes.

I agree with several moms who suggested you look into fluids, vitamin deficiency (calcium, magnesium, potassium), and his shoes. It may be something else too, but I think you should make sure those basis are covered. Would a hot water bottle help if you put it around his areas of pain? People may say it's growing pains, but I don't think they should be so bad he cries and writhes! I feel for you. I wish I were there to help you comfort him. Did you call his doctor, the on-call nurse, when he was having one of these episodes? Just knowing there is a nurse on the other end during these might make both of you feel better.

Hi S.,
My 8-yr old daughter has gone through this for years - since she started walking. It was especially bad when she was a toddler through around age four. The episodes have lessened as she got older, but still occur sporadically. They were not leg cramps and her legs weren't asleep. To make a long story short, we took her to an orthopedic dr. who, after (expensive) xrays, said there was nothing wrong with her bones & she just had growing pains. Then she became very sick shortly after the ortho visit and our ped sent her to a rheumatologist (connective tissue specialist). The rheumatologist explained she has very, very loose joints and relatively (young) weak muscles, so she is experiencing a lot of movement within the joint. He said there's nothing really wrong, it's just how she was made. He told us she may benefit from physical therapy & exercising to strengthen her ankles and feet. He also said that people with this body type often become more achy than others with illnesses and flu viruses and tend to experience joint pain when they are ill. (She was experiencing severe, acute pain in the bridge of her nose during fevers). We were advised to continue using Ibuprofin at night whenever she had leg pain, or even before bedtime if she had an unusally physically active day. (For the nose pain during fevers we have a prescription for Naproxen, with the option to include Tylenol as needed.) And, while the ortho said to wear good shoes for play, the rheumatologist told us going barefoot would provide the most opportunity to strengthened her ankles and feet muscles. (He did recommend good supportive shoes for when she wasn't barefoot.) We decided to conciously increase her physical activity level somewhat and plan to take her ice skating more often (which she enjoys) to help strenghten her ankles. We agreed to she if she continues to experience regular episdoes, we would try physical therapy. We were relieved to know there was nothing serious about her condition. However, it did cost a lot of money to find all this out (not to mention tme) so I hope this information saves you both! Best wishes!

My daughter went through the same thing around that age. I am not sure what is was from either however what worked really well for her was one of those bags with rice in them. You heat it up in the microwave and it acts as a heating pad. That seemed to always comfort her and ease the pain. She would go right back to sleep. We noticed sometimes after a hard day of playing or running she would have these pains. Well, I hope this helps you. Good luck!

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.