51 answers

Toddler Has Leg Pains

My 2 1/2 year old son has complained 5 or 6 times in the last few months of leg pain. I don't think it is cramps because it's all over his thighs and shins that he points to. It seems to be aches; mostly happens when sleeping but has happened once in daytime. thoguht it might be from running and jumping but not so sure now. Last night he couldn't hardly sleep - very restless. Only when I rubbed his legs did he fall to sleep. Have call into doctor but moms seem to have great suggestions. Thanks for help.

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Thanks moms! It is amazing how many of you have said "growing pains" which I thought it could be but my husband thought I was nuts. God Bless you all for taking the time to respond.

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Don't want to scare you, but I reacently read an artical about
cancer common in boys (sorry dont remember the name of the cancer)that commonaly starts with leg pain. It is very treatable if diagionased early.

i had that problem as child. my mom said she used to be up with me all night long. she would rub my legs and cover them with heating pads to relieve the pain. the doctor's said i poor circulation in my legs but there was nothing they could prescribe. My mom said I had the problem consistently for many years. i'm 33 now and feel it only occasionally. needless to say my mom and dad had many restless nights up massaging and applying heat to my legs.

Try giving him Banana's, he may have a potassium deficiency. It could be growing pains, but that's a last resort to settle with. If it doesn't ease up, take him to the Dr. there could be several medical conditions causing it.

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I believe you might be talking about "growing pains". This is really quite common in boys....I had three.....I am not sure(it's been too long) what causes it, but I know it does pass as they get older. My grandchildren also had this strange pain.

B., I agree with the growing pains thing, but was wondering if your son has a tricyle or bicycle that he has been riding recently or is he in a tumbling class? My daughter woke up the other day and was screaming about her legs hurting (she is 5) and I pointed out to her that she had been rollerskating and had used muscles that she hadn't before. Is he doing anything to get muscle aches?

Maybe it is growing pains. My daughter gets them sometimes. Mostly around bedtime or sometimes she wakes up in the middle of the night because her legs hurt. I put a heating pad in her bed and give her some tylenol.


Hey B. it sounds like growing pains :) If I had to guess he probably just grew a couple of inches or so and when that happens the legs especially will start to ache in different places....At night when the body is relaxed the muscels are allowed to just stretch with out having a different job to focus on ie. running, climbing, chasing you .. So that would explain the night aches however if it is severe and continues for 4 to 5 days you should contact your doctor he might have injured himself...
Hope that helps

My 4 yo complains about this on occassion, too. As a matter of fact, he did last night. It's most likely just growing pains - I remember having them when I was little, and it's just awful. I give my son a little bit of infant's ibuprofen and put him to bed. I don't think it's anything to be concerned about unless it's bothering him constantly for a long time.

It's got to be growing pains. I'm almost positive. Maybe measure him and in a month measure him again and I bet you anything he will have shot up considerably. I don't know if there's anything that can soothe the pain though. That is something that you would probably have to ask your doctor about.

C. M.

Hey B.,
It sounds ike it may be growing pains. I have four children ages 13, 10, 7 and 5. The pains usually happen at night when your body is trying to rest..and the only thing that does help is to rub their legs or if it gets really bad try giving him some children's motrin. These pains are common in 2, 4, 6, 10 and 12 year olds..every two years the kids go thru growth spurts. I hope this helps a bit. : )

My son, age 26 now, had what the dr. called "growing pains" from 3 to 18 or so. So it could be he is entering into a period of rapid growth. But I think you are right in taking him to the doctor. It's a good way to relieve your mind!

Don't want to scare you, but I reacently read an artical about
cancer common in boys (sorry dont remember the name of the cancer)that commonaly starts with leg pain. It is very treatable if diagionased early.

I grew up having those same aches and pains in my legs. My parents thought it might be because I didn't get enough calcium--I have an allergy to milk. I spent many nights in my mom's bed as she rubbed my legs until I fell asleep, something I didn't fully appreciate until my own son started waking up with aching legs at night.:) It wasn't until I was in junior high, still waking in miserable pain, that one of my doctors suggested that it may have been caused by my "fallen arches" on my feet--very flat arches--and thought that orthodics (arch supports) would help. The effect was amazing. I still had achy legs at times, but for the most part it helped completely. Anyway, maybe ask your doctor about that next time you go in.

It sounds like he could be having growing pains; I've heard that kids grow more at night and this could be why he's having trouble sleeping. Good luck! :)

My son had leg pains all the time for many years - woke up many nights.
my pediatrician referred to them as "growing" pains (he is now 27 and grew to be 6'3" tall) and i usually gave him tylenol. It is common among children.
however - now you hear about restless leg syndrome. I have had that pretty much all my life where It seems the same - my legs would either ache or the muscles would tighten where you had to move your leg to ease the tension. Although there are special meds for that -i usually use ibuprofin.

Since it isn't anything critical - just annoying and uncomfortable, I suggest going to www.webmd to review the problem and get more info. Unless pain gets so severe that "over the counter" meds dont work - or other symptoms crop up - its not worth a trip to the doctor.

About me - i am a 53 year old mom of two - now grown. My mom, sister, and two brother-in-laws are nurses - so i receive a lot of info and advice - whether i want it or not...:-).

Try giving him Banana's, he may have a potassium deficiency. It could be growing pains, but that's a last resort to settle with. If it doesn't ease up, take him to the Dr. there could be several medical conditions causing it.

my daughter is 15 now. She has had leg pains since she was a toddler as well. It would get so bad at times that she would cry. I even took her to the doctor because I thought she might have juvenile arthritis. Fortunately, no other diagnosis other than "growing pains". I did just what you did...rubbed them, used heating pads, gentle stretching. My pediatrician recommended tums for more calcium intake. For some reason my daughter decided on her own that putting on dad's dress socks made her legs feel better...so she spent many nights sleeping in dad's socks! They are a tight, compression sock (gold toe), so maybe there was some ligitimate reason for wearing them! If it becomes regular, I would give him some motrin before bed on those nights. A warm bath may feel good too!

My son is 11 years old...and always has leg pains. He started having them when he was around 2. My doctor and my mother-in-law told me it was growing pains. He has started to complain about his arms hurting also. Motrin would always help for these pains. Hope this helps. Good Luck!!!

he might be having growing paing. but definately call your dr. good luck.

i had that problem as child. my mom said she used to be up with me all night long. she would rub my legs and cover them with heating pads to relieve the pain. the doctor's said i poor circulation in my legs but there was nothing they could prescribe. My mom said I had the problem consistently for many years. i'm 33 now and feel it only occasionally. needless to say my mom and dad had many restless nights up massaging and applying heat to my legs.

I would bet an arm and a leg that your little boy is having growing pains. My daughter had them and now my son who is three just started complaining about the same thing. I just give them a recommended amount of tylenol or advil (children's of course). I bet if you try this is it will work wonderfully!!

I have a son who is 20 and a daughter 18. My son had the same problem at that age. I took him to doctor after doctor and they called them growing pains. As difficult as it is to see your child in pain what you are doing is the best medicine...rubbing his legs.

When my son was little, and even now, he would get shin/calf pains in the evenings, I thought he was faking and dind't want to go to sleep at first as they were always at bedtime. It turns out his dr. said he was playing hard during the day and not getting enough fluids - mainly water. When we made him drink more water and not so much the juice or milk he got better. Worth a try anyway. Good luck!

Both of my boys (now 9 and 15) complained of this discomfort as well as myself growing up. I would add more potassium to the diet. I also noticed that massaging below the ball of the foot with my thumbs helped resolve the discomfort. Neither of my boys suffered long. Notice the growth spurt shortly following.

OLIVE OIL works wonders for growing pains. just massage it into the legs. i use it on my 3 yr old son as he suffers alot a night with achey legs.

Hi! My family deals with this issue regularly. It's plain old growning pains. Bones and muscles don't always grow at the same rate, causing one or the other to ache similar to a dull toothache. Rubbing always feels good and helps, warm baths before bed helps and the best for us was ibuprofren when the aching starts. My oldest has had them in her legs for years off and on but at 13 has finally outgrown them. My brother had this so bad that in highschool he was on crutches alternating the walking leg in order to stay off them as much as possible. I would offer Motrin or Advil when it's bad enough he wants to stay off them and follow his cues. Hopefully he'll get through his growth spurts easier as he gets older.

Sounds like "growing pains". My younger daughter had them about a dozen times in the few months before she turned three. They are real, but not much is really known about the cause. Web MD and similar sites have great info on them. They normally don't last more than an hour (though seems much longer than that at the time). They happen most often at night after an active day, but not always. The things that helped with our daughter is a heating pad, we have a vibrating neck pillow that we would put under her knees, and long massage strokes down and up her legs. We would alternate between the three based on what she said helped the most. We never did Tylenol or Motrin as by the time it would have any effect on the pain, it would have been gone anyway.

I have herd from my pedi someting called "growing pains"
he explained to me that some children get this kind of pains due to the fact that their bones are growing and that causes them pain but he said "childrens motrin" will help. Any way you should ask your pedi don't relay on my advice.

Growing pains are possible. Heating pad helps...and maybe tylenol.

my son now is 23 yrs. But when he was 2 - 3 years he always complained his legs hurt, We rubbed him with asbobine jr at that time. Seemed to relieve some sometimes doing for long periods of times. I thought growing pains, and the pediatrician too. At age 9 he was diagnosed with Jr RA Jr rhumatoid arthritis. And dr said was probably born with it. You may talk to your dr about this especially if you have family histories of arthritis. They sometimes grow out of this.

Growing pains are very real. At 2.5 your child may just be very sensitive to this sensation. My son, who is now 12, has always felt his growing pains (as in everyday right now). I have a theory that children who are going to be taller have greater pain 'cause they have further to stretch!

Feed his bones, love and talk to him about it! Maybe low doses of motrin along with the message will help...he has a long way to grow!

Best of luck!

I'm not completely sure at his young age but it sounds like growing pains! My 6 year has been going through the same for almost 2 years now.. I put her in dance and exercising seems to help, every now and then she does have some pains and the dr says just to give her some motrin for discomfort.... I hope I've helped!!

My mommy told me that it was growing pains. My son , now 8, had the same symptoms. I would give him Tylenol. He grew out of it though. Hope this helps.

My 8yr old sometimes to this day complains of leg pain at night and I have noticed that it is when he has been very active outside playing. I have rubbed his legs with rubbing alcohol and that seems to help. I have just called them growing pains. You may want to try rubbing your sons legs with the alcohol.

In addition to the rubs, motrin (sometimes), I would also give a banana to my daughter to get the potasium back in her. Most of the time the banana worked best. She's 5 now and the leg pains don't seem to come as often.

Soumds like growing pains. I used a heated rice packs for my daughter and son during these "spurts", usually only lased two or 3 weeks. They also ate alot and slept hard.

They are most likely growing pains. Not cramps. It is very common in kids. Best thing is to give him some Tylenol. If it is happening often right now just plan on giving him some before bed. They will go away soon but every time he goes through a growth spurt they will probably return. I don't mean his constant growing but you will probably notice a significant height and weight difference in the next few months. Being a boy he will have them even worse around puberty. It's his bones that hurt not. My son complains of them also.

I relate all too well with my 8 yr old son. He too gets leg pains. In my day those were sometimes referred to as 'growing pains'. Sometimes the pains come from not having enough water in his diet. Bananas can help because of the potassium naturally provided in them. If it happens at night and I know he has not had the water and bananas that I know he needs daily, I will give him some childrens motrin or some other form of pain reliever to get him down without the severe pain that can bring on tears. I hope that helps. Goodluck and trust your gut, sometimes thats all we moms can do.

I wonder if someone so young could have restless leg syndrome. As a child, my sister would experience leg pains or cramps and only when my mom would wrap her legs did she have some relief. I remember her crying a lot due to the pain. As an adult she's been told it's restless leg syndrome.
I read about a remedy where a woman found that if she put a bar of soap at her feet in between her sheets at night she did not experience in pain or discomfort in her legs. After a few nights of no pain she decided to take the bar of soap out to see what would happen. The pain was back. She decided not to ever sleep without the bar of soap. It's worth a try.

I had pretty bad growing pains as a kid. My mom just massaged my legs a little, and when it was really bad, had me rest. I now have two boys, 6 and 8, and the 8y.o. has started having them, and there's just not much you can do. I guess give a pain reliever if you feel it's that bad, but you can also tough it out. They do go away. I tell him that it's part of growing tall like his Papa, 6'0 (and me, though I'm not really that tall, 5'8), and that really does help- a little.

All my sons have had this same problem. Try a warm bath and use motrin to help with the pain. They probably are growing pains.


I have a son the same age doing the same thing; I'd love to hear what others say...I am hoping that perhaps they are growing pains. Please let me know what you learn from the dr. also. If he complains again I'm going to take him in too.

My youngest daughter who is now 3 use to complain of a similar pain in her legs when she was littlier and I found that it happended when she was sitting funny on her legs or after she woke up from a nap or sleeping. It turned out that her leges were falling asleep. There was nothing to do but rub them a little when it happened to help them wake back up and to help her learn to sit right so her legs would not go to sleep. Hope this helps.

Hi B.,

Leg pains could be growing pains and they do tend to happen at night time especially if they had been quite active that day. When this happens give him some Tylenol or Motrin for the pain and have him eat a banana. It could also be that he is lacking potasseum. Rub some Vic's Vapor rub on his legs and bandage it lightly so he won't get it on his clothes but mainly to keep his legs warm. This helped me when I was going through this with my little boy. Hope these tips help you.

We have 2 boys with this as well - motrin & compression socks are GREAT for it. We actually buy the thin Adidas soccer socks at Target. They are tight and go up to mid thigh - they are great and make their legs feel better. This was recommended by our pedi after we had the x-ray thing too.

My son also suffers from leg pain. Some studies show that boys tend to suffer from "growing pains" however leg pain can be a sign of somthing more. I would take him in for a check up if everythings seems to be normal ask your doctor to do some blood work. He will need to check blood cell counts. If everthing there turns out good in crease calcium and potassium in the evening.
I hope this helps

My 6 yr old grandson has leg pains too. I remember having them for years when i was a child, they even caused me to have severe nightmares. Usually they occur during a growth spurt. I think it's just from growth, or days of strenuous play. Look on webmd.com and they tell you several things about it. Massage seems to work the best, and elevating the knees.

I gave my kids calcium and had them drink more milk. My kids are older now and the ones that are still at home I have them take calcium even now when they have leg cramps and there legs hurt.And if nothing else it will help strighthen there bones.I think the leg cramps are due to growing and hard playing all day.One of my Twins is in ROTC which is a Milatery class for kids who want to go into the Milatery when they get out of high school.And We find with her working out and dose not take the calcium she has leg cramps at night. Her twin brother dose to.I think it is because he is always runing around. He is Autistic.My other kids if they don't get enough calcium they have the same problem.Try that. Check with your dr first before you do this though to make sure it is ok.It was ok for my 8 kids.

My son complained of the same thing when he was around that age, i took him to a pedi specialist (the name sliped my mind as soon as i started to type sorry), anyway, it happened at night also, he did xrays and found that one leg is smaller than the other, everyones is but his is alot smaller than it should be and his bones "twist" inwards. He told me that right now there isnt much to do about it, but for me to go back in a year, i havent done that yet, but i do need to make the appt., the pain isnt as bad now, but he still gets it, he also said that it could come from sitting on his legs instead of his bottom. Good Luck, I hope this helps you and your baby, i know how painful it can be.

I keep a 3 year old that has leg pains all the time. I took her to the pedetrician and he told mw that she is having growing pains. What you are doing is all that can be done except for giving her tylenol for the pain. I also rub her feet and legs for awhile. The tylenol will help and he will sleep better also. Hope this will help you.

A hot water bottle and Tylenol. That's what I did with my little girl.

I have a 10 year old boy who goes through spells like this... most commonly in his feet, although he has complained of his back and legs and arms....Some nights he is up 3/4 times in tears cause it hurts so bad. We have gone to the docs before and left feeling a little silly when it turned out to be growing pains. i know it isn't the best of all solutions but usually the rubbing is what works best to get the pains to subside. some people have suggested that i should increase the amount of calcium they get. Hope it gets better for him (& you)!!!

Sounds like "growing pains" - seriously. I am a 44 year old mother of three (13, 11 & 7) and all three of my children experienced this throughout their growing years. My 7 year old still gets it from time to time. Our pediatrician suggested massaging their legs with rubbing alcohol and it has always done the trick. If the pain was real bad we followed up with a little Tylenol or Motrin. Best of Luck!

My (then) toddler often had pain in his feet, mostly at night. It seemed that soaking and massage were the only things that helped. His father experienced the same thing when he was the same age. I believe that it is connected with their rate of growth at that age and that he will soon get past it, just like my son did. We all think about growing pains when kids are in their tweens/teens, but they grow by leaps and bounds as toddlers, too, and it makes sense that they would feel discomfort at any growth spurt...don't you think? Anyway, if your pediatrician doesn't have any diagnosis or solution, I would administer gentle massage and maybe warming packs to relieve aching until he grows out of it.

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