The true syndrome of Growing Pains generally happens around the ages of 4 to 5, but may happen up to age of about twelve. This typically happens behind the knee and is commonly reduced by gentle rubbing. The discomforts only happen during the night and do not happen during the day. If the pains happen through the day, then it's not really growing pains. The problem is normally self-limiting and therapy is not usually required. It can occur in up to 15-30% of children, so is very common.
Whilst the problem of a typical growing pains is benign, there are various possibly serious but rare disorders such as infections and bone cancers that can have similar symptoms, so that is the reason why every growing pain ought to be given serious attention and thoroughly investigated. There are occasionally horror reports in the news media of children which had aches and pains ignored as growing pains, only to have one of these rare problems with extremely serious consequences.
In the event the symptoms are producing distress and issues with sleeping then some treatment is recommended. Most of the treatment is directed at not ignoring the symptoms as simply ‘growing pains’ and taking it seriously. The child and parents should understand the self-limiting nature of the symptoms. Often just massaging the painful area and sending the child back to bed is useful. A hot pack could also be put on the region to persuade the child back to bed and sleep. Stretches of the calf muscles before going to bed can sometimes help. NSAID’s or anti-inflammatory medicines may be used at bedtime if the symptoms are waking up the child from sleep.