Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"Is my son just experiencing growing pains?"

ZocdocAnswersIs my son just experiencing growing pains?


My son's going through a growth spurt right now. Is that why he is complaining that his muscles hurt? He says that his joints and muscles ache. He is 11 years old and I want to make sure that nothing serious is wrong with him.


Growing pains are a very common complaint in children your son's age. Indeed, up to 25% of children this age probably experience some degree of growing pains. No one exactly knows what causes growth pains, although the may just be a child variant of what adults experience sometimes after a long day at work - stiffness and tension in muscles. Importantly, growing pains typically occur at night or in the late afternoon, and they should always be gone in the morning. Also they are never accompanied by actually tenderness of the muscles or joints when they are squeezed. They should also never cause redness or swelling of joints. If your child has typical growing pains, then home remedies like massage or heat may take care of them. Tylenol or another over the counter pain medication may also help. Please take your son to a pediatrician, who will do a close examination and start a work up for a more serious medical problem. If your child has actual joint swelling or muscle tenderness, these are not growing pains and they are more concerning for a medical problem like arthritis. Good luck!

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.