Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Parental accounts of the prevalence, causes and treatments of limb pain in children aged 5 to 13 years: a longitudinal cohort study
  1. Jackie L Bishop,
  2. Kate Northstone,
  3. Pauline M Emmett,
  4. Jean Golding
  1. School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  1. Correspondence to Jackie L Bishop, School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Canynge Hall, 39 Whatley Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 2PS, UK; jackie.bishop{at}


The frequency, cause and treatment of limb pain were ascertained in a cohort of children at six time points between the ages of 5 and 13 years. Data were collected using self-completion questionnaires sent to the chief carers of children in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Reports of limb pain over the study period doubled from 15.1% of children aged 5 to 32.5% aged 13; 3.4% of children had limb pain at all time points, 43.4% never reported limb pain and 56.6% reported limb pain on at least one occasion. Growing pains were the most common ‘cause’ given for limb pains. Limb pain and growing pains were each associated with a family history of arthritis and rheumatism. Limb pain prevalence may have been under-reported in this study due to gradual attrition, particularly in the less educated mothers among whom the highest prevalence of limb pain was reported.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Funding The UK Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and the University of Bristol currently provide core support for ALSPAC. Funding for this project was provided by the Arthritic Association. This publication is the work of the authors and JLB serves as guarantor for the contents of this paper.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval for the study was obtained from the ALSPAC Law and Ethics Committee and the three local research ethics committees.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.