Joint Pain in Children: When Should Parents Worry?

When it comes to joint pain, whether the knee or hip, people seem to automatically associate it with an older person. For some reason, they forget that joint discomfort is something that can happen to anyone at any age. In fact, children are often affected by joint pain as they grow. More often than not, it is nothing to worry about, but sometimes it can be a sign of an underlining condition.

Arthritis is something that can affect children, usually referred to as Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. It’s a painful condition that is almost always misdiagnosed as being growing pains. This is worrying for parents, as they are often unsure when they should be taking further action.

To help ease the worry, we have put together some information on children and joint pain, which will hopefully put your mind at rest and help you look out for any warning signs.

Sick Child

Growing Pains

As children start to grow, they will experience something which is referred to as ‘growing pains.’ This typically happens between the ages of 3 and 7. People believe that this is when their bones start to grow, causing the bones thick covering to stretch. However, there has been no scientific evidence to back the fact that the pain is caused by growing pains. Some children find these quite painful, whilst others will barely experience them.

Growing pains mostly affect the muscles, with children often feeling pain in the front of their thighs or in their calves. It shouldn’t make their joints look any different, so if you notice any swelling or redness, then it’s a sign that something else might be wrong. This is when you should consult a medical professional.

Warning Signs to Look Out For

It can often be difficult to distinguish between ‘growing pains’ and something more serious. Ensure there has been no underlying trauma. Growing pain shouldn’t cause any kind of fever, chills, redness, swelling or joint pain. If you feel like there is something else causing the pain, there are certain things that you should be looking out for. This includes:

● Pain coming from one specific spot.

● Getting a fever alongside leg pain, which hasn’t got any of the regular flu symptoms.

● Pain in hip, thigh, or knee. Do they have trouble standing on one leg?

● The pain is present throughout the day.

● It hurts to touch the area where the pain is.

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Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

JRA is the most common type of arthritis that a child gets, usually affecting those under the age of 16. For children to be considered as having JRA, they must have had joint swelling for around 6 weeks.

No one knows what causes JRA, but it’s likely that something in the environment triggers it in children who carry certain genes. The body targets healthy cells as if they were harmful ones, releasing chemicals to fight them. This causes the joints to swell up and therefore the child to experience pain. A doctor will be able to carry out tests to determine if children have JRA so that further action can be taken.

If you think your child is experiencing something more than growing pains, it’s definitely time to get a medical opinion. If you would like some more information on child joint pain, please feel free to get in touch. We specialise in treating conditions of the knee and hip alongside hip replacement surgery in London, so please contact us and we will book you in for a consultation. We will be happy to share all information about the surgery, including what happens before and after it takes place. Just give us a call on 07943 947 639 and a member of our team will be happy to help.