Severe Growing Pains in My Legs at 15


Q: Hi. My name is Ciara. I'm 15 and have been experiencing what they call "growing pains" for as long as I can remember. I'm not fully sure who to ask about this. Anyways, I've always gotten growing pains often, and to the most, three times a week. They happen in my right arm and both legs, but never simultaneously. I've heard that at my age growing pains should stop, but mine seem to be much more common, and each time the pain is worse, to the point where I am limping slightly or need ibuprofen. Most of the time, I can tough it out, but recently, it's been much harder. Pains are worst in my legs. Usually only one leg hurts at a time, however. I usually get these pains at bedtime or in the middle of the night, so I can't sleep. I usually feel it in my knees and shins, but rarely my calves and never my thighs. What's strange is that on days that I don't walk around or do much, I still get growing pains. Of course, they are more severe after activities like skiing or swimming, whoch is completely logical. All I need is advice and any concerns. I'm not even sure who to ask. Thank you for your time.

Symptoms:  Aching legs in knees and shins, but rarely both legs at the same time

A:   Hello,
Thanks for choosing "Ask the Doctor" for posting your query.

Growing pains commonly affect children up to 12 yrs of age but at times can even extend up to adolescent age group. Growing pains respond to stretching exercises, massaging, placing a heating pad on the area, proper physiotherapy and taking prophylactic analgesics like ibuprofen or paracetamol.
However, as your pain is increasing, you need to be properly diagnosed. Growing pain is mostly diagnosed by excluding the other causes of pain. The other common causes in your age group that need to be excluded are juvenile arthritis, inflammatory muscle disease, any mechanical or overuse injury and lastly malignancy.
Investigations like certain blood tests like ESR, CRP, vit.D, thyroid function and X-ray of both the legs with hip joints are advisable.
I would suggest you to consult your doctor regarding proper evaluation and treatment.

Hope I am able to answer your concerns.

Wish you good health!

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