As children grow, the often get a number of aches and pains that frequently get dismissed as nothing more then 'growing pains'. Just because a growing child has symptoms in the muscles while they are growing does not necessarily mean that they are actually a ‘growing pain’. The true syndrome or problem of growing pains most commonly occurs around the ages of 4 to 5. It generally happens behind the knee and is commonly reduced by mild rubbing. The pains only occur during the night and don't happen through the day. If the pains occurs through the day, then it is not necessarily growing pains. The condition is normally self-limiting and treatment is not necessarily needed. It can happens to around 15-30% of children, so is quite common.
Although the problem of a typical growing pains is benign, there are several potentially serious but rare conditions which include infections and bone cancers that can give identical symptoms, so that is why every case need to be considered seriously and adequately looked into. There are occasionally horror stories in the news media of kids whom had symptoms dismissed as growing pains, and then have one of these rare conditions with serious consequences. In the event the symptoms are producing distress and troubles with sleeping then some treatment is indicated. A lot of the treatment is directed at not dismissing the symptoms as simply ‘growing pains’ and taking it seriously. The child and parents need to understand the self-limiting character of the symptoms. Usually just massaging the painful area and sending the kid back to bed is helpful. A hot pack may be applied to the area to persuade the child back to bed and sleep. Stretches of the calf muscles when it is bedtime can sometimes help. NSAID’s or anti-inflammatory drugs may be tried at bedtime if the pains are waking up the child from sleep.