Some time he feels the pain some time one leg lower and some time both the legs lower. These pains are muscle aches that can occur in the thighs, behind the knees, or the calves. (Examples are tight new shoes or a recent shot). Tumors in the bones of the leg can also cause persistent pain and tenderness, which is typically worse at night and often accompanied by fevers and weight loss. Following a tick bite, it can take up to 3 weeks for the rash to appear. Joint pains in children can sometimes be a sign of a more serious underlying condition, including: If a child frequently complains of joint pain, then juvenile idiopathic arthritis or JIA may be the cause. Research suggests that more than 30 percent of school children experience chronic musculoskeletal pain. These pains are harmless and are not a sign of a serious condition. Medical evaluation is needed if your child complains of moderate to severe leg pain, wakes up at night because of pain or is unable to bear weight. Close to a third of school-aged children may have these types of pains, which usually get better on their own, and may be due solely to exercise and healthy playing. Unlike growing pains, it can also affect a child’s movement or strength. If your child’s illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911. The symptoms and their severity vary, according to the type of leukemia and can include: The treatment options and outlook also depend on the type of leukemia that a doctor diagnoses in a child. Parents or caregivers should also check the child’s whole body for tick bites after they have played outdoors. Pain in the leg can arise from multiple causes, ranging from mild, temporary conditions to serious medical disorders. So, lets take the case of a 9-year old boy who complains to his mother of soreness in his left leg on a weekend. Strained muscles are common after too much exercise or hard sports. Early diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease are critical to prevent severe complications. Copyright 2000-2020. they occur in the evening or night and typically resolving by morning, they are severe enough to wake a child from sleep, they usually affect both legs rather than one, they happen intermittently or several nights in a row, pain, swelling, or stiffness in the joints, a circular rash around a tick bite, sometimes known as a bull’s-eye rash, infections and recurring or persistent fevers. it moves place to place. For example, growing pains are leg aches that occur off and on, usually in children ages 3 to 10 years old. Some causes of leg pain in a child are not serious and will go away on their own. When your child suddenly complains of severe leg pain, several causes are possible. Growing Pains. In around half of these children, the pain is due to growing pains. Growing pains are a common cause of leg pains in children and usually disappear, as the individual gets older. Symptoms…. Clues to the cause of a child’s leg pain include the severity of the pain, accompanying symptoms and the length of time the pain has lasted. Overuse, infection, and gout…, Arthritis is a term that describes around 200 conditions that cause pain in the joints and the tissues surrounding the joints. Anyone who lives or spends time in an area where Lyme disease occurs can become infected, but children who spend a lot of time playing outside are at greater risk. what is the cause may be? Overuse, injury, age, or a medical condition can cause joint strain and stiffness. Financial assistance for medically necessary services is based on family income and hospital resources and is provided to children under age 21 whose primary residence is in Washington, Alaska, Montana or Idaho. Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursae. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 19th Edition; Robert M. Kliegman, M.D., et al. For more information, see Website Privacy. Muscle pain can also be from a forgotten injury that occurred the day before. Leukemia can cause joint and bone pain, usually along with other symptoms. Some causes of leg pain in a child are not serious and will go away on their own. © 2004-2020 Healthline Media UK Ltd, Brighton, UK, a Red Ventures Company. If the leg pain is only on one side or if joint pain is present, it is probably not growing pains and should be checked by the child's doctor. All rights reserved. Dr. Teresa Fuller is double board-certified in pediatrics and integrative holistic medicine. When your child suddenly complains of severe leg pain, several causes are possible. She is founder of A Healthy Tomorrow, an organization that empowers families to achieve optimal wellness, and author of "Change 1 Thing! Following severe overuse, the pain may last a week. Learn more. Characteristics of growing pains may include: People used to think that growing pains were the result of the bones growing during growth spurts. Other possible causes of leg pain that may be more serious can include juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), lupus, Lyme disease, and leukemia. Growing pains are usually brief, although recurrent, and often occur in the shins, calves or thighs at night. Leukemia is a cancer of the blood that starts inside the bone marrow. They should also consult a doctor if the joint pains occur alongside any of the following symptoms: The doctor will conduct a physical exam and may need to run tests to find the underlying cause. If the pains are accompanied by any other symptoms or an adult is particularly concerned, they should consult a doctor for further investigation, as some pains may indicate a condition that needs medical intervention. We also cover other possible causes of joint pains in children and when to see a doctor. 10% of healthy children have harmless leg pains that come and go. For example, growing pains are leg aches that occur off and on, usually in children ages 3 to 10 years old. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), or lupus, is an autoimmune disorder that can affect nearly every organ in the body. Parents and caregivers frequently worry when children have pains in their legs and joints. Inflammatory conditions such as juvenile arthritis and lupus often cause pain in multiple joints, morning stiffness and accompanying symptoms, such as fevers and rash. However, early diagnosis and treatment can improve the outlook. Injuries are often obvious but sometimes cause only subtle symptoms, such as a slight limp or mild swelling. For example, growing pains are leg aches that occur off and on, usually in children ages 3 to 10 years old. MNT is the registered trade mark of Healthline Media. Nondiscrimination and Interpreters Notice, Includes hip, knee, ankle, foot and toe joints, Includes minor muscle strain from overuse, You think your child has a life-threatening emergency, Calf pain on 1 side lasts more than 12 hours, Numbness (loss of feeling) lasts more than 1 hour, Severe pain or cries when leg is touched or moved, You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent, You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent, Leg pains or muscle cramps are a frequent problem, Strained muscles caused by overuse (exercise or work), Cause is clear and harmless. About 3-4 nights a week, my 4 year old will wake up in the middle of the night and complain of leg pain, ankle pain or toe pain. Lupus is very uncommon in younger children, but becomes more common in the teenage years, especially in females. Usually, the discomfort will simply be growing pains that will go away on their own. If leg pain is severe, worsening or causing a limp, get an immediate medical evaluation. Sometimes it is only once, but most of the time it is multiple times. Other possible causes of leg pain … However, doctors no longer believe this to be the case, as there is no evidence that growth causes pain. However, the following home remedies can help ease a child’s discomfort: People should not give aspirin to children. These pains are muscle aches that can occur in the thighs, behind the knees, or the calves. A Doctor’s Guide to Permanent Weight Loss, Disease Prevention and Incredible Health. Growing pains are a common cause of leg pain in children. Growing pains may also be related to other factors, such as fatigue, restless leg syndrome, low pain tolerance, or even vitamin D deficiency. Pain caused by work or sports lasts more than 7 days. Children with these types of youthful pains may experience cramps or aches that can range from mild to severe. However, people should be aware of the signs and symptoms that may indicate something more serious. Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional. asks from Ashland, KY on July 21, 2008 The pain may be due to an injury, such as a sprain or a bone fracture. Joint pain can sometimes be the first and only symptom in children. Find out by selecting your child's symptom or health condition in the list below: Seattle Children’s complies with applicable federal and other civil rights laws and does not discriminate, exclude people or treat them differently based on race, color, religion (creed), sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin (ancestry), age, disability, or any other status protected by applicable federal, state or local law. Growing pains are usually brief, although recurrent, and often occur in the shins, calves or thighs at night. Leg pain in children often prompts a visit to the doctor 3. Most often, the pains are mild and don't last long. It happens when cartilage wears down over time. Lisa on August 12, 2016: My 6 year old son complains of leg pains everytime night and day it doesn't matter whether he's walking, sitting or running. Periodic Leg Pain. Symptoms…, Arthritis in the hands can make it difficult to move the fingers and to grasp objects. Insects called ticks can spread a bacterial infection known as Lyme disease. A strained muscle hurts for 3 to 7 days. What are the causes and types of arthritis? The ticks carry a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi that they pass onto people when they bite them. Leg pain that lasts more than 3 weeks, especially if accompanied by other symptoms, should be evaluated by the child's doctor right away. However, early diagnosis and treatment are vital because JIA can affect bone growth and lead to permanent complications. To prevent Lyme disease, children should wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. No treatment is needed. These are often called growing pains (although they have nothing to do with growth). If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately. As a parent or caregiver, you need to know when to be concerned about a child’s leg pain. Common treatments include massage, heat and mild pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin). However, if the pain is persistent, severe, or unusual, the child should see a doctor.