How can vitamin D help growing pains?

Growing pains, or recurring lower limb pains, are a common ailment that can affect almost half of all children.1 They commonly affect children between the age of three to five and from eight and eleven, and continue into early adolescence.2 Pain is usually experienced in the legs, often the calf, front of the thigh and behind the knees, and tends to get worse later in the day, which can lead to sleep disturbances.2 The cause of growing pains in children is still unclear, however researchers have uncovered that vitamin D may play a role in their development and management.

Children with growing pains are often found to have low vitamin D levels, a key nutrient required for building healthy bones.1 It’s been suggested that growing pains are caused by lower bone density states in kids, which leads to abnormal pressure on the sensory nerves of their bones.1 In a recent study, researchers found that vitamin D deficient children with growing pains, experienced a reduction in pain intensity when taking vitamin D supplements.3 They attributed the results to increases in bone density, which decreases the pressure on the nerves of bones.1

What can I do if my child is experiencing growing pains?

If your child is experiencing growing pains, consult your healthcare professional to rule out other causes of pain. They may also suggest checking your child’s vitamin D status through a simple blood test. If their levels are inadequate then a vitamin D supplement may be recommended. Other ways to help your child manage growing pains include:2

  • Massaging the affected area using massage oil.
  • Using heat packs or warm baths.
  • Providing plenty of reassurance that the pain will go away and that their legs will feel normal by morning.