With First Physicians Group Pediatrician Deirdre Myers, MD
Most parents are accustomed to hearing complaints like “my leg hurts” from their growing children. And when there is no obvious reason or recent injury to blame for the pain, parents oftentimes chalk the hurt up to “growing pains.”
Growing pains are estimated to affect nearly 2 in 5 children and occur most often in the legs. This type of joint pain typically is nothing to worry about and goes away with rest, ice or heat, gentle massage, stretching or over-the-counter pain medicine.
But if your child’s pain doesn’t go away after trying these remedies, or it goes away and comes back, it could be something more serious. Your child may have sustained an injury that needs medical attention, or recurring pain may indicate juvenile arthritis or other concerning conditions.
“Early detection allows us to manage health conditions, like juvenile arthritis, appropriately and in a timely manner,” explained pediatrician Deirdra Myers, MD, who treats children at the First Physicians Group Lakewood Ranch office.
If you think your child’s joint pain is more than simply growing pains, talk to your family pediatrician about it.
“A child’s annual wellness visit is a great time to bring up any concerns you have might have about your child’s health,” Dr. Myers said. “These well visits give us pediatricians an opportunity to perform a comprehensive health screening and physical examination, which allow us to detect conditions that may not have been diagnosed or detected before.”
While many people think of arthritis as something that affects older adults, kids can get it, too. In fact, nearly 300,000 children have been diagnosed with some form of the disease. An autoimmune disease, juvenile arthritis can be especially aggressive in children since their immune systems are not fully formed until around age 18.
Normal joint pain can result from all the running, jumping and playing children do, but here are some signs that you should have your child’s joint pain checked by a doctor:
- The pain doesn’t go away.
- The pain gets better but then comes back.
- The joint is swollen or stiff.
- Pain is accompanied by a fever or rash.
- Your child’s movement is affected.
- Your child is tired, weak or less active than usual.
- In addition to causing joint pain, juvenile arthritis may result in complications that affect bone growth and cause permanent damage. If you suspect your child may have arthritis, don’t wait for an annual well visit; it’s best to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Board-certified pediatrician Deirdra Myers, MD, treats infants, children and adolescents at Sarasota Memorial’s First Physicians Group’s Lakewood Ranch office. For appointments and more information, you can reach her office at (941) 366-3000.
Copyright 2019 © Baldwin Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Health eCooking® is a registered trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Cook eKitchen™ is a designated trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein without the express approval of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. is strictly prohibited.
Date Last Reviewed: May 10, 2019
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD