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Why Do Your Child’s Bones Hurt?

Dr. Shazia Riaz

2 min read

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Children often complain of tired and painful legs, cramps, and even joints. Most parents chalk it up to their hyperactive behavior and boundless activity during the day, especially with younger children, and look no further than a child-friendly painkiller and a leg massage.

And then there are those who immediately jump to the worst possible conclusion (Lyme disease, arthritis, etc.). So, why exactly do your child’s bones hurt? This list might help provide the answer to that burning question:

1-Growing Pains:

This is the most common cause of bone and muscle pain in preschool children to mid-teens. Affecting more that 30% children at some point, growing pains are not caused by normal growth spurts during childhood and adolescence.

Instead, they are generally thought to be induced by excess physical activity during the day. Some children with chronic fatigue, restless leg syndrome, or a vitamin D deficiency may also experience growing pains.

Pain is usually felt in both legs, specifically the thighs, calves, behind the knees, and sometimes the arms. It intensifies in the evening and night, generally disappears during daytime, and may also be accompanied by headaches or abdominal pain.

However, growing pains are normal, harmless, and disappear with time.

2-Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA):

Frequent and/or persistent joint pain accompanied by swollen joints may be a sign of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Previously considered an old-age condition, arthritis can also affect younger children, primarily due to nutritional deficiencies and certain genetic factors.

Request an immediate consultation with the best orthopedic surgeon in Karachi if your child’s swollen and painful joints co-occur with fevers and rashes, since untreated JIA can affect bone growth, and lead to permanent complications like muscle loss and weakness, eye problems, and even osteoporosis.


Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune condition that causes inflammation, usually on or around the nose. Lupus can impair or affect almost every organ in the body, with bone and joint pain being one of the primary signs of the condition.

Other symptoms include fatigue and lethargy despite appropriate rest, swollen, stiff joints, fever, and hair loss. However, it more commonly affects teens.

4-Lyme Disease:

This is a bacterial infection that spreads via tick bites, commonly in grassy areas and woodlands. In addition to bone and joint pain, symptoms of Lyme disease include a circular, red rash around the bite area, fever or chills, fatigue, and facial paralysis.

Since the rash may take up to 3 weeks to appear after the initial bite, and Lyme disease can present life-threatening repercussions, get an immediate consultation if you suspect any of the above symptoms along with bone/joint pain.

Lyme disease in most common in children who spend more time playing outdoors, particularly in grassy areas. However, instead of restricting your child’s outdoor time, take preventative measures, like wearing long sleeved shirts and pants, and spraying insect repellent.


The most commonly diagnosed pediatric cancer, Leukemia is a blood cancer that originates in the bone marrow (where blood cells are produced).

Joint and bone pain are one of its most noticeable signs. Other co-occurring symptoms include anemia (fatigue), recurring or persistent infections and/or fevers, abdominal pain, swollen lymph nodes, easy bruising or bleeding, and breathing difficulties.

Two or more of these signs should not be taken lightly, if appearing alongside bone pain. If you see these signs then contact the best orthopedic surgeon in Karachi immediately.

6-Osteoid Osteoma:

Commonly known as bone tumors, osteoid osteomas can either be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). The pain is generally persistent and dull during daytime, and severe at night. Other symptoms include swelling, limping, and bowing of the knees.

While growing pains are the most common cause of bone pain in children, observe your child for a few days. Then consult with your doctor if the pain co-occurs with any of the above symptoms for an accurate diagnosis.

You can also book an appointment with a top Orthopedic Specialist in Faisalabad, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your child’s skeletal concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Shazia Riaz - Author Dr. Shazia Riaz is a Pediatric Hematologist practicing in Lahore. She treats medical conditions like cancer, brain tumor, leukemia, and others. You can book an appointment with Dr. Shazia Riaz through oladoc.com
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