Growing Pains

Updated on April 15, 2008
C.C. asks from Clyde, OH
53 answers

I have a beautiful 5 year old girl that wakes up at least 2 xs a week (often more) with extreme pains in her shins.This has been going on for over a year. Some weeks are worse than others.Then there are times when we can go 3 weeks without an episode. It's heartbreaking that I can't "fix it" for her but also starting to take a toll on me. The only thing that seems to help is firm rubbing from knee to ankle. Sometimes it takes over an hour for the pain to stop so she can fall back to sleep. Dad says he had growing pains as a kid and this rubbing is the only thing that helps. Also that she will just have to grow out of it. Have 2 older boys that never experienced this. Otherwise VERY healthy!! ANY ADVICE WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED!!!!

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H.B.

answers from Bloomington on

Hello C.,

My son had the same symptoms and he was Dx. with legg Perthes syndrome. I would take her to see her Dr. just to rule out any true problems.

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K.S.

answers from Indianapolis on

I had these same pains when I was a little girl. I remember the pain very well. Kind of a deep aching pain. My mom used to throw towels in the dryer and get them really warm. Then she would wrap my legs really tight with them. It made them feel better long enough for me to be able to get to sleep. Good Luck. Hope this helps.

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R.S.

answers from Terre Haute on

My baby brother (now 40) had growing pains like that. The doctor just said it was because he was growing so fast. At one point it looked like he had two knee caps.
The only comfort for him was rubbing as well. My older brother (we were 5 and 7 years older) and I would help rub his legs as he cried. He finally "out grew" this, but it was very heartbreaking.

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T.W.

answers from Cleveland on

Sounds like your baby needs a little more calcium in her diet. Rather than drinking more milk, which actually leads to the problem you are describing, find a chiropractor or doctor nearby that carries Standard Process products. They have the BEST calcium on the market. It comes in tablets or powder that can be added to smoothies and other foods.

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K.P.

answers from Columbus on

Extra calcium helps greatly. I experienced this from the time I was very young until well into adulthood and the rubbing helped, but it finally stopped when I learned that immediately drinking a large full glass of milk (sometimes two) would make it stop. If your daughter is not big on milk, try having her drink it over ice.

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E.D.

answers from Columbus on

ok, this may not touch the pain, but is worth a shot. i am glad that you have been using massage. we all could stand to do this. bc we stand and walk/run all day the lactic acid settles in our shins and ankles. circulation is trying to carry it all out of the body by traveling back up the legs towards the heart. so, what you are doing is helpful bc it increases and helps the circulation. you might try making this part of your nightly bedtime routine while reading her a story. first massage her ankles (and feet for a short while) and then her shins and calves. you can try rubbing some arnica gel or cream in while you are doing this. arnica is a homeopathic that is great for mild injury, bruising and swelling. it is great with pain! i have used it for all my 5yo boys boo boos. we have very few bruises or prolonged injuries. it is readily available at any health food store. it can also be taken orally as well if that is helpful. after massage have her lay on her back on her bed or floor in front of the couch and then have her put her legs up at almost a 90 degree angle. they don't have to be straight up but elevation is the goal. this allows for all that junk that causes pain in our muscles and bones to flow out and should help with the problem. hopefully doing it before bed will have a two-fold affect, helping her to relax going to sleep easier and also sleep through the night. i will be praying that this helps. this is something that i used to recommend to all athletes and patients that i worked with when i was practicing massage therapy. sorry to be so long winded.

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A.B.

answers from Fort Wayne on

http://www.herbalremedies.com/unmedsal.html
above is a link where you can find a SALVE called UNKERS that you could rub on her shins.... you could even put a layer on her then let her take a good warm bath before bed, to relax the muscles! we use it for everything.... even colds! it has a wealth of uses. there are "look alikes" out there with this product as well- it should be in a white jar with blue letters. it is very reasonably priced and with all its uses become a "cure-all" in your house.

My family and my sisters family have been using this for years and we love it!! there is a list on the site also of all its uses!!
Also i would make sure she was drinking a lot of water!
good luck!

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J.G.

answers from Cleveland on

This is not a cure, I'm afraid. A couple of my children went through a stage of leg pains at night, too, and my husband also remembers having them as a child. The best remedy I found was a warm bath. It relieved the pain very quickly, faster than I was able to achieve with rubbing. They can sit on the edge of the tub and just put their legs in it, but getting all the way in so their legs can be extended is probably even better (although they can't tolerate as warm a temperature of water that way). They all outgrow it eventually, of course, but it's no fun while they're going through it!

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H.W.

answers from Indianapolis on

I always had growing pains (or "leg aches, as I called them) as a kid, only mine were in my knees. They were especially bad when it was rainy weather, for some reason. What helped me was heat--my parents would put either Aspercreme or IcyHot on my knee when it hurt, or they would put the heating pad on it. Nowadays, you could get something like a rice sock that cools off on its own and doesn't have to be plugged in, if you didn't want to leave something like a heating pad in your little girl's bed. Over time, I did outgrow the leg aches, and I'm sure she will, too. Good luck!

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D.K.

answers from Indianapolis on

Actually, this is NOT the only solution. It's just the only one you know about. Wouldn't hurt for someone to do a gait analysis on her. Does she walk on her toes? Is she involved in ballet and/or gymnastics?

Go to the EGOSCUE website and pull of SUPINE FOOT CIRCLES AND POINT FLEXES. These are NOT comfortable if you do them correctly. HOWEVER.the more you do, the easier it gets. It involves ALL of the gait muscles in the lower extremeties, from the knees down. Also......icing may help if there is any inflammation.

In addition, there are exercises you can do to strengthen the anterior tibialis (muscle on the shin). Let me know what you find.

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D.R.

answers from Cincinnati on

Hi C., I had this when I was a kid and my daughters have had it too. What I have done for them is just wrap the part that they tell me is hurting with an ace bandage.

When I was little and had this trouble I found the more I moved the worse it got (it seemed like it happened in the evenings after I had been running around and playing a lot). So I tell my kids to lay as still as they can until the pain goes away.

Also, I think the Hyland company that makes the homeopathic products like the colic tablets and teething tablets, bed wetting tablets or drops (can't remember which one it is), etc., I'm pretty sure they also make a product for growing pains also. You can find them in most any store now, in the drug section. They are all 100% natural so no worries there. I used to use the ones for teething on my kids when they had that problem and they worked really well.(We called them 'Happy Pills' HaHa!! Cause it made them and us much happier!)

Hope this provides a little help...good luck...let us know how it goes okay? :) D. R.

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E.V.

answers from Cleveland on

I can relate! My son is 5 years old and has suffered from growing pains for years and on a fairly regular basis as your daughter does. I am afraid to say I only just now took him to a doctor about it a week ago. Here is what his recommendations were: stretching the calf muscles by standing on a step with his toes and letting his heels drop (as bone grows faster than muscle and tendons and can increase growing pains), using a heating pad, taking tylenol or any over-the-counter pain medicine, and massage.
Good luck and God bless.

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T.N.

answers from Fort Wayne on

I have a 3(soon to be 4) year old and she too has growing pains. I also massage her legs. But the thing that I find most helpful is a heatiing pad. I wasn't sure if it really helped but it always made her feel better. She would go to sleep shortly after I turned it on. I would then just urn it off and we would make it through another night.

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A.S.

answers from Canton on

My son is almost 7 and he experiences the same thing. It started when he was about 5. He gets the pains in his shins, ankles, and hips. I was concerned and talked to his doctor, who said it was just growing pains. I found that what works best for him is a rubbing, a warm bath or a little bit of icy-hot where he's hurting. Good Luck!

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J.O.

answers from Columbus on

My daughter, now 7, went through the exact same thing. At first I would get up and rub her legs and she would eventually go to sleep, but it was happening at least 4 nights a week and some weeks 5 or 6 nights. I asked the Dr and he assured me it was just growing pains and recommended that i give her motrin. I don't like to give my kids a lot of medicine but she was in agony and i wasn't getting any sleep, plus,I remember how painful my growing pains were. So I did it and it really helped, i gave it to her when she woke up in pain and within about 15 minutes she would be back to sleep. She has for the most part grown out of them now, but that 2 years was long and I will pray for you!!!

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C.H.

answers from Indianapolis on

C.
It may very well be growing pains but I hope you have called the doctor!!! My daughter had something like that but she had had a virus awhile before the pains started and it turned out to be rumantic fever ( I know I spelled it wrong ) but it got to the point that she couldn't walk. It was arthristis in her legs which was caused by the fever and it finally passed with no side effects. We were lucky. So please call your doctor.this was 31 years ago so they have better treatment now days.Just check with your doctor and give her only what the doctor says to give her.Try rubbing her legs before she goes to bed and keep them warm.Good luck and God Bless

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K.H.

answers from Cleveland on

I know what you are going thru! My daughter is now 7 and would wake me up crying her legs hurt. I asked my pediatrician and it is growing pains, she is very tall and is often mistaken for a 9 yr old. I would give her Tylenol Jr chewables, and a few minuets of rubbing and she would go back to sleep. The episodes are less now thank goodness, I hope this helps

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N.R.

answers from Elkhart on

Have you tried banana? When my son has his growing pains, we make sure he is getting a banana a day. The increase in the potasium almost always helps.

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T.H.

answers from Terre Haute on

C.,

I have a 5 (soon to be 6) little girl. She is the only one out of my 3 daughters that has had horrible growing pains. My husband and myself take turns on rubbing her legs. I also give her a little bit of pain medicine like Tylenol. I have also found that a warm bath will help soothe the pain and help relax her muscles. I am still going throught the growing pains with her and she has had them really bad ever since she was almost 2 years old. We have our good nights for months and then BAM!! they hit her like a mack truck. We are up about every other night for about 3 weeks or so. I have also used a heating pad on her legs.

DH and myself we take turns on rubbing her legs or who gets to give her the warm bath to try to relax the mucsles. That way it is not just me or him not getting any sleep. I know it is really hard but I just hope that one day she will grow out of it.

Good luck.

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L.P.

answers from Indianapolis on

I had this with my younger son (now 10) but not my older son. I noticed this happened at night when sleep was interrupted. I did alot of rubbing as well. One other thing that seemed to help my son was sitting with him in a chair which was more upright. Then the pain seemed to pass more quickly and he could fall back asleep faster. Good luck with this and congrats on the upcoming baby!

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M.P.

answers from Indianapolis on

C.,

My son is 6 and has horrible growing pains for the last couple years. Massaging definitely helps, but so does putting a pillow between his shins when he sleeps. It keeps his legs warm and is a cushion for him. It is also something he can do himself: if his legs hurt in the middle of the night, he grabs his baseball pillow for his legs and is able to go back to sleep. If that doesn't work, I usually give him Tylenol Jr. Hope this helps because I know how heartbreaking this can be!

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D.I.

answers from South Bend on

It may just be growing pains but it sounds like an awful long time if it has been going on for a year now. I would suggest trying to add more calcium and potassium to her diet. Sometimes the pain in the legs like that is from not getting enough calcium and or potassium in your diet. Make sure she drinks at least 3 8oz. glasses of milk a day or you can substitute with yogurt or cheese and have her eat 1 banana a day. Try that and see if it helps. If it doesn't help contact her pediatrition and schedule an appointment for some tests.
D.

I am 31 and have been married almost 12 yrs. My husband and I have 3 boys ages 10,7 and 4. My husband works full time as a diesel mechanic and I work part time doing construction work.

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T.S.

answers from Columbus on

Congrats on the new baby. I love big families. I am a christian stay at home mom with 6. Anyway, I am wondering if maybe she does'nt have that restless leg syndrom. I have had it since I was a child and it can be very painful. Maybe check with the pediatrician. They may be reluctant to put this label on it, but it might be worth checking. Good luck & God Bless! T.

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M.A.

answers from Columbus on

My daughter is also 5 almost 6 and she has also had her trouble with growing pains. The doctor reccomended keeping her legs covered to keep them warm at night. Which has helped immensly. And also massage. After we started to keep her legs warmer at night it seems to have lessened the frequency of the episodes. I have also given her tylenol before she went to bed after waking up the 2 nights before with the awful pains. (Out of desparation.) Well good luck.

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C.F.

answers from Cincinnati on

Just another quick suggestion: My mom's friend gave my daughter a "Beddy-Bear" that you heat in the microwave for 2 minutes(or less). It kind of works like a heating pad, but you don't have to worry about turning it off or fire hazard. It says it's manufactured by Intelex Ltd. and contains treated wheat grains. My daughter loves it and it seems to do the trick for her leg pains.

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S.C.

answers from Evansville on

When I was little I had similar "growing pains" in my shins. Our pediatician told my mother I had to wear well fitting, supportive tennis shoes (sneakers) that tied across the top of my feet. No more slip ons, sandals, flip-flops, or buckle shoes. It worked for me. The pain lessend & eventually I grew out of it all together.

Good Luck!

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J.J.

answers from Evansville on

C., I can sympathize although my daughter doesn't have them that often. She started having them at age 2 and is 10 now. My other 2 children don't have them. i have heard there is something you can rub on their legs. We always give my daughter Tylenol when she gets hers. She won't let me touch her leg. She says it hurts worse. Good luck. J. (Mom of 3)

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V.T.

answers from Cincinnati on

Hello C.,

Although a pediatrician may have some medical reasoning behind your daughter's growing pains, I just wanted to let you know that when I was 5 years old until about 7 years old, I had growing pains in my shins. I whined to my mom everyday but as soon as my best friend came to play with me, I convinced my mom that I was able to play. I remember being in pain, but that running outside actually helped the pain go away... at the very least it kept my mind from thinking about the pain. So I would recommend that you have some activity for your daughter to be involved in.

Just remember that "This Too Shall Pass." I will keep her in my prayers.

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L.M.

answers from Fort Wayne on

Have you aproached her doc on it?? I would if I was you,maybe there is something that he can suggest or do for her..

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A.B.

answers from Columbus on

I have the same thing with my 9 year old, we've been lucky enough to not have to go through it with my youngest. But yes rubbing them is the only thing that helps. And his symptoms are just like you explained. When I asked the doctor about it at one of his check ups she sent him for an x-ray just to be on the safe side, but everything came back AOK.. so we just pray that he outgrows it soon. We've been quite awhile without any, but I know for sure he's not done growing. Sometimes if it's really bad I will give him some Ibuprofen and that eases it sometimes.

If anyone else knows any home remedies, I'd be glad to know them too.

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D.C.

answers from Toledo on

My husband had severe growing pains when he was young. He said the only thing that helped him was massage. Can you possibly teach her how to do it? He also said sometimes a heating pad would help. I'm sorry I don't have better advice:(

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L.W.

answers from Cleveland on

Hi there, My name is L. and I experienced growing pains myself. Heat really helps. My parents used to put me in a hot bath, the bain usually went away within 5 minutes. I learned to use a hot water bottle (found at walmart) and/or a heating pad.....Ror my worst pains I also used childrens pain relief(ibprofen etc) I hope this helps!

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T.M.

answers from Columbus on

Adelle Davis author of "Let's Get Well" tells us that inadequate calcium intake can cause leg cramps and muscle spasms. Taking calcium and magnesium oxide, vitamin B6 and pantothenic acid a half hour before bed time many times helps. I know that in my own family when I found that out, we started taking calcium more and it really helped.

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T.K.

answers from Indianapolis on

C.,
It looks like you've gotten some good responses. My daughter started going through the same thing just before she turned 3, she's now 4 and still wakes up about once a month. She's a very active kid and I do find that more activty can make it worse. We found out the hard way that it doesn't go away quickly so we almost always give her motrin. We also apply heat. She really likes a buckwheat neck pillow I have that can be heated up in the microwave. (it's seafoam green and I got it from Bed Bath and Beyond for about $20) I give her that and it helps almost immediately. I find Deb's comments interesting. I never thought about it before, but my daughter does walk on her toes alot. You might have an orthopedic Dr. look at her walk and stance. What could it hurt.
Best of luck

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M.J.

answers from Cincinnati on

I have been experiencing the same thing with my daughter just recently and she is eight years old. I have been dealing with this since she was 5 yrs old. I also found the best thing that helps is massaging her leg however I use olive oil when I massage her leg. This helps and makes it easier to reduce the friction of rubbing. I hope that helps, but like your husband said she'll have to grow out of it and massaging is the only thing so far that I have learned to help and she will have to grow out of it. I personally don't remember having growing pains but my son had them too and still every now and then has an attack. She'll be ok this is completely normal.

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L.F.

answers from Fort Wayne on

My oldest son had this problem as a youngster. He grew to fast for his bones to keep up. I took him to the doctor about it and there is nothing that can be done for him. He would also cry because it hurt so bad. I had to rub his legs and massage his legs. He grew 12 inches in 3 months. He now is 6ft 1in. and size 14 shoe. I know how you feel about it getting to you. He was so bad that he would wake his brother up and send him downstairs to get me in the middle of the night because he couldn't walk it hurt so bad. It does go away even if we don't think so. He is 19 with a 9mth old of his own and does well. It will pass. Have faith and pray. Give her some ibuprophen for the pain. It may help. It did my son.

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L.G.

answers from Dayton on

My oldest son who is now 11 went through growing pains when he was 5 or 6 years old. He is the only one of my three boys that did. He's the oldest, so I expected to go through it with the other 2 as well. There was nothing we could do but rub his legs. When the doctor said it was growing pain, I said I didn't even know they were real. His legs are very strong now. Shortly after the pain stopped, he was getting vaccinations in his thighs. He got 3 shots. His legs were (and are) so strong, 2 of the needles bent coming out of his legs.

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J.W.

answers from Cincinnati on

C. I don't know if this helps but I remember them when I was growing up and they do hurt. My 4 year old has experienced them as well I give him some Tylenol on the nights that they seem bad. It seems to help. Good luck

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D.G.

answers from Columbus on

Try adding a banana a day to her diet, I had these horrible pains as a child. Also Mom rubbed me down with a muscle rub and it helped some.It was on the line of Ben Gay but didn't smell that bad.

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H.H.

answers from Cincinnati on

Hi, C. -

When I was a little girl, I went through a period of years where I had terrible pains in my feet and legs at night time. We never knew the cause, but I think if this was happening to my daughter, I'd wonder if she were getting enough potassium. Does she eat bananas? Does she drink enough water? I have absolutely no knowledge about anything, but that's where I'd start. I think this is definitely something you need to discuss with your doctor.

Take care,
H.

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M.L.

answers from Indianapolis on

Dear C.,
There really is no such thing as growing pains and a child should not have to suffer through it. It sounds like restless lsg syndrome. I would have her examined by her doctor after all what are they there for if not to help when we as parents are helpless.

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W.B.

answers from Toledo on

I don't know if they are "growing pains" or not, but my (now 21 yr. old) daughter used to have them all the time. We called them growing pains and could find nothing wrong with her. We also would rub her legs. Good luck!

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R.J.

answers from Terre Haute on

My daughters ages 7 & 3 suffer from this too. We use the heating pad. I takes away the pain in about 10 minutes, no medicine necessary. I even let them have the heating pad in bed so they can go back to sleep, then I go in and remove it for them. Good luck finding the answer that helps you best.

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K.H.

answers from Cleveland on

sounds like a lack of potassium. Have you tried increasing her diet with orange juice and bananas?

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M.H.

answers from Fort Wayne on

Both of my girls went through this, but my son did not. Our Dr said that it was just growing pains, that girls seem to go into growing spurts, and they grow faster at a time then boys. I always used bengay or some kind of muscle relaxing lotion, but it is their bones that is causing the pain, so it helped some, but there isn't anything that you can do that will really help. Ibuprofen or tylenol sometimes helped, but its just going to be something that you have to wait out. My girls didn't do it all the time, it would come and go with their growing spurts. But like I said its just something that you have to wait out.
Although, if it does continue non-stop for more than a month or so I would go to the Dr's.
Hope things get better for your daughter and you.

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M.G.

answers from Cincinnati on

C.,

My son started experiencing the same thing starting at the age of five and he is now eight and still struggles with it from time to time. As a child I had the same thing and it is painful. They are "growing pains" and if a child is active(likes to run, jog & jump)this will increase the chances of getting these pains.
When this started with our son I started the following:

*Rubbing his legs and starting with the toes and working up to the knee. While doing this you are talking calm and quiet telling them to relax each part of the leg. Forinstance if you are starting with toes you will tell her to relax her toes. Then her ankle; then her calf, then her knee and do this slowly at each section.
Adventually when she wakes up with these pains she will be able to put her self back to sleep by meditating on this areas herself.
This pain that they feel is an ache, almost like arthritus. It is truely learning to relax the muscles, the more tense the tighter the muscle and the stronger the ache.
Keep in mind that this will not happen over night; but adventually you will only need to remind her what to do and she will take herself through the steps of getting back to sleep.
Good luck.

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J.P.

answers from Cleveland on

Hi,

This may work. Try having her eat one banana each day for a couple of days. The potassium in it should help with the cramps. I hope it works for you. If it starts working, keep up the banana's.

Note:If the banana makes her constipated, give her some raisons or prune juice to counteract.

J.

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D.D.

answers from Bloomington on

My daughter is only 21/2 so I haven't had any experience with her yet but I know when I was a child, my mom would be up A LOT of nights rubbing my legs! They hurt terribly and I could not sleep - the only thing that provided any relief was her rubbing my legs VERY firmly. I am not sure what your pediatrician would say but maybe some children's ibuprophen would help. I would check with their office and just see if there is anything that you can do so that you and her can get some much needed rest! Good luck!

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N.R.

answers from Elkhart on

I feel your "pain" C.. I too have a 5 year old that on occassion, her knees hurt. At first we were like you, rubbing the pain away because we believe it's a growing spurt. Finally my mom recommended something and it works (my mom had double knee replacement, so she knows about "pain") - Emu oil. You can get it at your local health food store. And, if we believe the pain will be disrupting sleep - a small dosage of Tyenol or Mortin. We just rub the oil all over her knees prior to going to bed and normally this cures what ailes her. There is also an added benefit to using the oil (besides being all natural), soft skin!

Good Luck C.. I hope this helps.

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T.R.

answers from Columbus on

When I was 6 or 7 I would wake up with pain in my calves. My mom would also have to rub my legs to help sooth the pain. For me the problem was associated with my feet not having a proper arch (flat feet). As I recall I dealt with this situation through out my growing years but mostly around the younger years. I do still as an adult have similar pain (very rare)if I have been over active on my feet w/o proper support shoes. I don't know if this will help since your daughter's pain is in her shins, but thought I would share.

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S.S.

answers from Columbus on

His C.,

My son (now 10) would go through spurts of the same thing. He liked to use the heating pad or a hot water bottle when he went to bed and that seemed to help him.

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M.N.

answers from Cincinnati on

Ask your pediatrician about 'charley horses' in legs, or restless leg syndrome in children. Cramps or charley horses can be caused by low potassium levels. I, as an adult have restless leg syndrome and had issues as a child. My daughters both had some 'growing pains' but nothing that needed treatment. It is not silly to ask Dr. about this.

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C.W.

answers from Cincinnati on

That's axactly what it is. I had mine in my sides and so did my oldest. It hurt to breath. My mother wrote it off to wanting attention. It's not there is actual pain. I asked our ped. and she said growth or mending of bones hurt more than any other kind of pains.

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