Child Has Bone Pain? When to Call the Doctor

Aches and pains are common ailments, even for children. This discomfort can appear as a result of a youth sports injury or without a clear cause. But how do you know if your child’s bone pain is cause for concern? This guide will break down the common causes of bone pain in children, so you can know when to call the doctor. 

Common Causes of Bone Pain in Children

Bone pain can happen for a variety of reasons, especially in the limbs. If your child complains of bone pain, it may be due to:

  • Growing Pains: Children who experience growing pains may experience throbbing pain in the legs. These aches often radiate around the calves, thighs, and behind the knee. While there isn’t evidence to show that this pain is actually caused by bone growth, about two out of five children experience this type of pain around their growth spurts. 
  • Sore Muscles: If your child is active, their bone pain may actually be sore muscles. Running, jumping, and playing sports can all lead to soreness. Just keep in mind that sharp and sudden pain after activity may actually be a sports-related injury. 
  • Joint Pain: Children can experience joint pain at any age. And while joint pain may also be linked to growing pains or overuse, they can also be a sign of a medical condition like juvenile arthritis or lyme disease. 
  • Orthopedic Injuries: If your child is complaining of bone pain, they may have an untreated orthopedic injury like a hairline fracture or sprain. Watch for other signs of injury like swelling, bruising, and difficulty moving the limb. These types of symptoms may indicate the need for sports injury treatment. 
  • Tumors: In rare cases, severe and persistent bone pain can be a sign of a bone tumor. This is why it’s best to always see a doctor when your child’s symptoms persist. 
  • Infections: Bone pain can be a sign of an infection in the bone or around the area of the bone. 

Keep in mind that pain in the arms and legs can be a symptom of many injuries and conditions. Be sure to monitor your child’s symptoms carefully.

When to Call the Doctor

In some cases, bone pain will disappear after a few hours. However, there are some instances when you should call your child’s doctor. Contact their doctor if your child is experiencing:

  • Bone pain that lasts throughout the day or night
  • Aching or swelling in the joints
  • Joint stiffness
  • Fever
  • Rashes
  • Fatigue and/or weakness
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty walking or using the limb

These symptoms might be signs that bone pain is more than growing pains. Your child’s doctor will assess their symptoms and run any necessary tests. 

If your child is showing signs of a fracture, sprain, or other orthopedic injury, the team at Sport Ortho Urgent Care is here to help. Our sports injury urgent care clinic offers in-house diagnostics and treatments like splinting and casting. With locations in Murfreesboro, Mt. Juliet, and Hendersonville, TN, we offer clinic visits on a walk-in basis. You can also contact us today to book an appointment.

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