MMR vaccine and joint pain in a toddler

The news is currently quite heavy with stories of lawsuits and settlements and the link (or lack thereof) between vaccines, especially the MMR vaccine, and autism. I’ve been watching, but not closely. When Lane was little, the idea of this link made me nervous and I did a lot of reading, and it became clear pretty quickly that any “link” between vaccines and autism was pretty much based on shoddy science and anecdotal evidence.

It is well-documented that the MMR vaccine can cause joint pain, especially in adolescent and adult women. Up to 25% of women will experience joint pain, from the rubella component of the vaccine. Joint pain is rare – but not unheard of – in adult males and children.

We got to experience this first-hand. 12 days after receiving her MMR vaccine at 15 months old, Lane stopped walking. (She’d been walking for 2 months at this point.) We figured out pretty quickly, even though she couldn’t tell us, that her right knee hurt. We didn’t know what it could be. We didn’t remember her injuring herself at all, but then again she was at day care 5 days a week at that point and perhaps she got hurt there. After speaking with her teacher, they could not recollect an injury either but in retrospect did notice a hesitancy to walk. Then I remembered that she’d gotten a couple different vaccinations at her appointment a couple weeks earlier, and as I do, I started Googling. I discovered how common arthritic-like joint pain was for women who receive the rubella vaccine, and that it can take up to 2 weeks before it sets in. To me, it didn’t seem like much of a stretch that if 25% of women could experience joint pain, that the occasional toddler might too.

However, my otherwise healthy daughter wasn’t walking, and experiencing pain in her knee. It was enough that I wanted her to see a doctor. And, as it often goes with pediatricians, my suspicions were dismissed. The pediatrician had never seen such a reaction in a child to the vaccine, so naturally such a reaction could not be occurring. Just to be on the safe side, I went along with his desire to do an x-ray and some blood tests to rule out an injury or something else like rheumatoid arthritis. The x-ray was clear, and I guess the blood test did show some slightly elevated something that could indicate rheumatoid arthritis. But in my mind, as I’d done more reading over the next day or so, I became more convinced that this was a reaction to the vaccine. The whole pathology of her symptoms was so in line with the typical joint pain in the older women — it was the knee on the leg where the vaccine was administered, it started within two weeks of getting the vaccine, it was local to that one joint, and then it went away a week after it started, and hasn’t happened since. I spoke to the pediatrician again after the fact, and he still dismissed the idea that the pain could be related to the vaccine. I guess he made up his mind pretty quickly, or had another idea, and my hypothesis didn’t fit with his, and since he was the ‘expert’ his ideas trumped mine.

The whole thing has come up again in my consciousness because Lane just had a well-child doctor’s appointment. She wasn’t due for a visit, but we’d just moved and she needed a doctor’s sign-off to sign up for pre-K in the fall. The doctor asked me about any medical history (asthma, injuries, etc.), and it was the only thing that I could really think of, so I mentioned it. This new pedi, too, was dubious.

And I understand the dubiousness. It’s not a documented side effect of the vaccine for children. I’ll also bet, for little kids getting the vaccine and experience the reaction, it goes unreported. Plus, how many other cases are like ours — the reaction happens, but is never officially reported as a reaction because the pediatrician and/or the parents don’t link the reaction to the vaccine?

So, Lane will be due to get her second dose of MMR at her 4-year appointment, which will happen this summer. Above all, I don’t want my child to experience pain, but a small part of me really wants to see the reaction happen again, so that I can be confirmed in my suspicions, but also perhaps then we can get the pediatrician to officially report the reaction to the powers-that-be. In the meantime, I filled out the VAERS online form to self-report her initial reaction. Maybe if more reports happen, more pediatricians will become aware of this possible reaction, and more parents won’t have their suspicions dismissed.

All that said, I have no intention of skipping or delaying that next MMR vaccine administration. The benefits of being vaccinated against those diseases far outweighs some temporary joint pain.

I’m also hoping by writing this that parents whose child has also had this reaction will stumble across my post. If you suspect your child has had a similar reaction to the MMR vaccine, I’d love to hear from you in a comment.


UPDATE:  I’ve recently posted an update to our MMR saga.  You can click here to read more of our story.


135 responses to “MMR vaccine and joint pain in a toddler

  1. Very interesting. To me, it just ‘makes sense’ that that’s what the reaction is … no matter how rare it is.

    I’ll be interested to see if it happens again this summer.

  2. Why do pediatricians think that the parents are morons and don’t know their own children? Of COURSE the parent knows what their child is going through – you know your kid best!!

  3. Interesting. My son wasn’t walking when he got his 1st dose. We’ll see what happens at his next.

  4. To the person who commented I should read up more about vaccines before injecting my kids with heavy metals — wordpress was acting all screwy before and I accidentally deleted your comment in moderation!

    Please feel free to leave the comment again if you’d like.

    To your point – I’ve read up on the different vaccinations, and as a parent I choose to vaccinate because I feel the risks of not vaccinating are worse than the risks of the vaccines and the diseases they protect against.

  5. I would wonder why someone who clearly “knows” as a mother that the shot caused this problem would then go ahead and subject her child to another mmr shot.

  6. Sheryl, I thought I was clear about that. I’d rather my daughter go through a little knee pain rather than, oh I don’t know, get the measles and end up dead from pneumonia or brain damaged from encephalitis. Or lose a child during pregnancy because of exposure to rubella. Or suffer deafness due to mumps. These are rare complications, true, but more common than serious side effects of the vaccine in question, and more severe than the reaction she had last time. In my opinion, the risk of not vaccinating is worse than the risk of vaccinating.

  7. I don’t know if this is relevant, but my son complained of knee pain for years and all tests came up negative. Then when he was four and a half we discovered he had celiac disease. Within weeks of going gluten free, his knee pain resolved. It came back with a vengeance a few months ago when he had some gluten free oats. We took the oats out of his diet and the pain resolved again. I can’t comment on the link to the MMR because we have not give our children the MMR.

  8. I understand “knee pain” is mild compared to a severe case of one of the diseases. I have heard that sometimes when a child has had a reaction a 2nd reaction could be more severe. I am not anti-vaccination. I just wish I felt the MMR was safe and it is really scary. I have a 14 month old that has not had hers yet. She has had all other shots but MMR and Varicella. I did sound sarcastic and for that I apologize. =)

  9. Hi I stumbled on your page while searching for MMR and pain. My 18 month old just had his MMR today and is now limping. I think it’s related. He also keeps holding his thigh and saying “boo-boo”.
    It’s making me real anxious as I was nervous to give him that shot in the first place.
    I wish someone who didn’t have an ax to grind would do a proper study of the MMR.

  10. Tracy,
    The whole thing is scary. I want to protect my daughter from disease’s but also want to make sure the shot’s are safe. I hope your little one feels better soon.

  11. Just FYI, according to Dr. Stephanie Cave’s book, 95% of children have immunity after the first MMR shot, so don’t need the booster. The second booster is given purely for that 5% of children who don’t have full immunity after the first shot. You can request to have your daughter’s titers checked before getting her the second booster, just to make sure that she really needs it 🙂

  12. Sheryl, I thought I was clear about that. I’d rather my daughter go through a little knee pain rather than, oh I don’t know, get the measles and end up dead from pneumonia or brain damaged from encephalitis. Or lose a child during pregnancy because of exposure to rubella.

    One of the issues is that younger parents today don’t know that these diseases can be fatal.

  13. I found this site by Googling ‘toddler not walking after shot’. Thanks so much for posting your child’s experience! My 14 month old had several shots yesterday morning – one of them mmr. And by evening he started really favoring the leg and finally got to the point where he would not even stand up – just slowly crawled around the house. When he woke up this morning still wouldn’t stand up. I put him down on one spot on the floor and he sat in that spot for a good 30 minutes. Now he’s finally up to slowly (and fussily) walking around an hour later. I’m going to call his ped and report it and see what she says.

  14. I just did a search on google for “mmr limping”and came up with your comments. My 18 month old son had the mmr and prevenar immunisations this morning. I take it from your comments that your little girl is fine now, with no ongoing problems?

  15. Hi arrielle and Belinda!

    I’m sorry your kids had some pain from their shots! It sounds like your kids are going through pain at the site injection itself – the MMR is not supposed to tickle – vs. actual joint pain.

    Either way, it’s a temporary reaction and should go away very soon, could take up to a week.

    And yes, my daughter is completely, totally fine. She was walking again within a week, and never showed another instance of pain in that knee (or any other joint for that matter).

  16. My son 3.5 had his jabs last thursday MMR in one leg and Diptheria, tetnus, Whooping cough, in the other. Within hours he was screaming in pain and limping. This happemed for two days and then the limping stopped. Monday night I put him to bed and he was really restless and whimpering in his sleep. I woke him Tuesday morning and he could not walk at all. The hospital say it is a co-oincidence and he has reactive arthritis caused by a previous virus. I’m not convinced!!!

  17. I would be wary of giving another MMR shot if your daughter has had an unusual reaction. Could you hold off on the booster & check titers? It’s the whole “what if?” thing, but what if the next time it’s all of her joints or she does develop rheumatoid arthritis? She has had one MMR shot so she should have the immunity if vaccines work like they tell us. I think there are some vaccine schedules that space out the shots so the system isn’t overloaded. I believe arthritis & autism are both auto immune diseases so maybe it’s not just the MMR but injection a lot of vaccines at once. Just a theory. Best wishes.

  18. Hi,

    I just took my 13 year old son to the emergency room yesterday because he was not able to walk or stand due to pain in his left leg. They did x-rays, ultra sound and blood test, all tests came back clear. He did have a fever of 99.9. He also has been very constipated the last couple of days which I found is also a side affect. I woke up at 3:00 am this morning searching the internet for similar symptoms to find out what’s going on , then I found this blog and put two and two together and realized he had his MMR Vaccination about 10 days ago. I am going to bring him to the pediatrician today to have him looked at, I know they will dismiss that it was the vaccination, that’s a given. I am so glad to know this is temporary and should go away, I am almost sure now that it’s the MMR. Thanks everyone for posting the blogs about this, I am so releived!


  19. I meant 13 month old son, sorry. Must be the lack of sleep last night!

  20. Hi,
    I am travelling back to England next month & am concerned as there is an outbreak of measels in Europe & it is also increasing in England. I did not give my son the MMR & he is now 2.5 yrs old. Does anybody know if the measles vaccine is available separately or do you have to do the whole MMR? I am very against these vaccines where they inject your child against 5 diff. diseases in one go – seems too much for these little bodies to handle…

  21. I’m a family medicine resident studying for my final exams. While reviewing side effects of immunizations, I came across arthritis as a potential side effect of the MMR vaccine – not just in kids, but in adults, as well. I was shocked to learn that up to 25% of women may experience arthritis symptoms, a small number of which may become chronic.

    This was interesting to me – more than interesting – because I developed a significant arthritis in medical school – shortly after receiving this vaccine. It was initially diagnosed as aggressive rheumatoid arthritis; since then, my (many) doctors have decided that it isn’t RA, but they don’t know exactly what it is. It doesn’t fit any real profile of the known arthropathies.

    This was not a minor illness or inconvenience. I lost 10 months in my residency and was on long-term disability during that time, after which I have been able to complete my residency part-time, with difficulty. I have seen over a dozen doctors in three different countries in search of an answer to what this might be.

    Now, having read this about the MMR vaccine for the first time, I recall that I was screened for immunity to various infections during medical school, and found to be non-immune to mumps (big deal). Nevertheless, I believe I was re-immunized shortly before developing this arthritis. I will have to check the records at the university clinic to be sure.

    This may be the answer I have been seeking now for almost 4 years. It probably won’t cure the arthritis I now have, but at least I may have an answer as to what it was that’s made me ill.

    This makes me think hard about the many times I have reassured parents about vaccines. Serious side effects are indeed rare – but I guess that doesn’t matter much if you’re the one who gets them.

    In the end, I still think vaccines make sense for kids – unless you’re a doctor, you probably haven’t seen a kid with meningitis – and the chances of your kid getting meningitis without a vaccine (and ending up deaf, brain-damaged or dead) far outweigh the chance of your child getting autism.

    Of course, if your child ends up with autism and not meningitis, you probably won’t see it this way. And naturally, if your child ends up with autism, you want an explanation for why this happened, and someone or something to blame. I guess people have to make their own decisions.

    Ironically, if you choose not to immunize your child because “these diseases are so rare these days, anyways,” consider that the reason they’re rare is because OTHER people are immunizing their kids, and inadvertently protecting yours. Something to think about.

    JR, MD

    • Thank you JR for sharing your story. I also want to express my appreciation to this blog and all the people who shared their stories.

      I had my second dose of MMR to fulfill a nursing program requirement. I had my MMR shot right before my nursing entrance exam, and I couldn’t walk afterwards(4 hours after the shot): the pain was so severe. I didn’t think too much of it, until I was reviewing my “Integumentary system” chapter and somehow I started to check “MMR”. Then I saw that 25% adult women have knee pains after MMR: I really couldn’t believe that. I am 47 years old and so excited to get into a nursing program. It just never occurred to me that MMR can be unsafe. I also recalled other symptoms after the shot: racing heart beats at night when I woke up at night, fainted one time(I felt so warm and I was probably having fevers). The last time I fainted was in college. Now, 5 weeks after the shot, I am able to walk, but I can feel some mild pain in my right knee(only the right knee). I am going to see a Rheumatologist next week and I hope the pain is not permanent. I will keep everyone posted.

  22. I was checking on just how long vaccines actually work. Some are shorter than I thought. I came across this site while looking into side effects. I have a daughter with autism and am having my son evaluated for autism. My daughter had a seizure about a month after receiving the MMR and DTaP at about age 15 months. They could not thoroughly explain the seizure and it was not linked to the shots. She began exhibiting strange behaviors in the next couple of months. I reported these and it was always dismissed. We worked with her and tried to teach her not to do some of the odd behaviors and tried to encourage “normal” behaviors. I reported this at every check-up. Fast forward to now. She is 12 years old. She has JUST been diagnosed with autism. Formally Asperger’s Syndrome. Having lost so many years listening to idiots with a license we have a lot of work to do with her, not to mention the toll this has taken on her emotional health. Now- the reason why this has anything to do with your blogs. My son, who also shows signs of autism, has had chronic leg and joint pain since he was a little over 1 year old, which is when he recieved the MMR. He is 10 years old now. Again nobody can figure out why he has this pain. It impacts his ability to sleep, walk, run, and generally just tolerate this pain while trying to go about a normal daily routine. Interesting. I did not know that joint pain was a side effect of that shot. It seems that vaccine information keeps getting better and better. My husband works in the medical field and because we exist in that community we always considered ourselves “learned”. Not now. What you think is true, isn’t always. We spend our time trying to push undereducated practitioners into figuring out our children’s health issues. I have found that most doctors are frighteningly uninformed on just about any health topic. They all vary. By the way, they also cover up each other’s mistakes. I know this to be true from living in this community. Be careful who you believe- how well do you know your doctor? To sum it up I guess I think that medical science, while improved and improving the lives of some, is only still in it’s infancy. We need to really figure out more of what actually happens to the human body with all that we throw into it, before we make it mandatory for all. A well-meaning attempt is just not good enough.

  23. sharon - jamies mum

    my son has a dead leg after receiving his mmr jab this morning… it developed at nursery this afternoon and having just taken him to the doctor who has prescribed paracetamol and advising that if it doesnt get better by 10pm tonight (by which time he will be asleep! handy) to take him to a & e.. I am very concerned now having not received any literature on the vacine and am not prepared for such an experience…if anyone can offer any reassurance that his leg will return back to normal, I would be interested to hear from you.

    Its now 9pm and he has fallen asleep. what i have to ask myself is, do i wake him and take him to spend two hours in a & e, being heavily pregnant I dont relish the thought!!

    I look forward to any comments anyone has regarding this..I hope he gets better, I can feel a claim to the health authority coming on.!!! very concerning – there should be more done into the reasearch on this.

  24. Sharon, how is Jamie doing?

    Certainly you ought to ask your pediatrician to be sure you get warning materials.

    Hope the kiddo is fine in the morning.

  25. Allow me to correct my errors so that you don’t dismiss the message of my statement over semantics. Cooling down does wonders for proofreading!:

    You parents who go along with this scaremongering they call modern immunization should have your heads examined. There is no coming back from permanent neurological or brain damage. I was really enjoying this blog until it hit me how blind you are. Your daughter had an adverse reaction and you’re inviting another go at it? You’re an idiot. NEWSFLASH – people recover from Tetanus after being treated with antibiotics. Complications from mumps, rubella and the like are almost never permanent. There is no coming back from Autism and the like.

  26. Thank you for coming to my blog and calling me an idiot. Who the hell do you think you are?

    People who choose not to vaccinate are the most selfish of all. They bank on EVERYONE ELSE vaccinating so that their precious snowflakes don’t get sick.

    Are you frigging on drugs talking about tetanus like it’s strep throat? Tetanus infection creates a neurotoxin – a poison – in your body that causes permanent neurological damage and death. Tetanus has a 5-10% death rate. That’s not in a third world country — that’s here in the U.S. Have you ever read anything about tetanus that wasn’t prepared by the anti-vaccine lobby? Tetanus is a frigging scary mofo.

    From the Web MD article on tetanus (

    If you are infected with tetanus, you will need to stay in a hospital so you can get medicines and fluids to control muscle spasms and pain. You also may need treatment to help you breathe. Your doctor will fully clean any wound or cut to remove bacteria. Cleaning the affected area stops bacteria from making toxin. Treatment also includes:

    * Antibiotics. These medicines kill bacteria.
    * Tetanus immune globulin (TIG). This is a protein that helps your body’s immune system find and destroy bacteria. TIG boosts your immunity while your body fights the infection.
    * Medicines to decrease muscle spasms. You also may be treated in an intensive care unit (ICU) with medicines that paralyze your muscles for a while until your body begins to recover. In this case, you will need treatment to help with breathing and other body functions.

  27. My 15 mo. old son had just the rubella vaccine 6 days ago. And since the night of his shot, he has been walking funny- his right leg is affected & he has had high fevers- up to 105.5. We have made two trips to the ER since the shots & I’m positive these are caused by the vaccine.

    I’m glad to know we’re not alone.

  28. Back in the old days, parents used to be told to treat symptoms — sore legs, sore joints, other pains — with aspirin. I suppose acetominophen might help, too.

    Are y’all giving the kids any analgesics at all? If not, why not?

  29. Well, now because of the Reye’s Syndrome stuff, there’s no giving aspirin.

    When my daughter had her reaction, giving her baby tylenol seemed to make it feel a little better, but before I knew what was going on I sort of wanted to know how bad it was, if that makes sense. I wanted to know how long it lasted and how bad it hurt her, without tylenol muddying the data, even though it was only me that seemed to care about the data.

  30. When I picked up my grandson from day care Wednesday they told me he was limping bacuse of a blister on his foot. It was not a blister. It was a small measle -like pimple and he had a few more on his body. I later learned some babies get a measles reaction to the MMR in this manner and he recieved it about a week ago. Since yesterday his limping is more profound and the pain seems to be of a high level. Tylenol is taking the edge off but I’m so afraid after reading these blogs that this could go on for some time. Has anyone found a doctor who can help explain this and the outcomes we can expect.

  31. My 15 mth old daughter had the MMR yesterday, when I got her up this morning she was crying and when she tried to walk fell over. She screamed when I put her on her feet and was unable to walk properly, the site of the injection is fine and it appears to be some sort of joint pain. She is walking better now hours later but has a slight limp and still seems to be in pain. I definitely think this is related to the MMR and would much prefer to have the choice of single vaccines.

  32. Found this blog through a Google search. 2 of my boys had the MMR, DTP and Polio boosters today (4 and 5 years old). The 4 year old is limping, not bending his leg, not able to sit in a chair or walk up the stairs. The 5 year old is crying and saying his leg hurts.
    This is an interesting blog–I was glad to find it to know that others have seen this reaction in their kids as well. I think the person who called you an idiot was out of line. The decision to vaccinate or not is so totally personal, and frankly, it takes so much thought and research to choose to NOT vaccinate. Sometimes it’s just easier to go with the flow and pray that your kid won’t be that one in however many kids to have the serious problem. All of the sites I have found out there that are against vaccinations seem to lack professionalism, which makes me feel they are not credible (and I haven’t found any professional sites that say not to vaccinate). I appreciate the annecdotal evidence on such sites, but of course this is insufficient to medical professionals! They need real data, of course…What scares me is how often I have read (and heard from friends) that doctors have been unwilling to associate obviously related symptoms to a vaccine (eg, 3 days after shot a child has seizures & a feaver–dr. says “no, it’s a virus.” Or, a few days after a vaccine a healthy, speaking child stops talking, and the dr. says it is not related). These kinds of stories seem all too common. Why are medical professionals reluctant to pin symptoms on a vaccine? Why does it seem as though they want to protect the integrity of the vaccines? (and also, skew the “evidence” that they so often quote–you know, that MMR has never been shown to cause autism, etc.) If they’re not reporting reactions as reactions, how do we trust the “evidence”?

    Sorry to babble, I’ve just been thinking about this! Please, no one call me an idiot for thinking on such things. 🙂

  33. Brenda, you make a good point which needs to be emphasized: We are responsible for our health, and for our children’s health — not the physicians. If and when a physician dismisses a complaint, we have a duty to bring it back. If we do not get an answer that is wholly satisfactory, get a second opinion.

    That means, of course, you need to have another physician you trust to whom you can take an issue. This is not easy, I understand — trust me, it’s not easy.

    But it’s essential. Mothers observe their children more than the physicians. Mothers will spend the time, when the insurance company says the physician must move on. Mothers must be the nags to the physicians.

    One of our sons had a “bite.” Mosquito bite, except it developed a bull’s eye ring around it. Coming from eastern areas where Lyme disease was a concern, we noted it immediately as a tick bite, and one to be worried about. Our physician told us not even to bother making an office call. We called back and protested, they said ‘no Lyme disease in Texas — never seen it.’ We said, check your books on Lyme disease, and tell me specifically we should not be worried about a bull’s eye around the bite. They called back within 30 minutes and told us to hustle in. Our son got the full round of antibiotics to prevent Lyme disease. They’d never seen it before. They didn’t know.

    You may ask your physician for the “educational” materials that accompany vaccinations. Those warnings will most likely say that you should report any “unusual” joint pain. Such pains from inoculations are normal, really, and can usually be resolved with an analgesic (back it the day, we used aspirin, not knowing of Reye’s Syndrome; don’t use aspirin).

    But if it’s severe? Especially if you have the educational information, you can always say, ‘The material from the drug company said we should contact you . . .’

    It’s not a babble. Medical professionals see lots of pains, most of them completely unrelated to vaccines. There’s more information for a physician’s assistant to deal with than a physician would get in a lifetime of practice, circa 1950.

    You — the parent — are the one who must tell the physician what is going on, and seek treatment. Better to overtreat than undertreat.

    Good luck.

    Our youngest is off to college next month. The vaccination worries reduce, but don’t go away. And, worse, you still worry about them, even when they are well-functioning, smart, healthy near-adults. It’s the nature of parents: We love our children. It’s very painful.

    A very sweet pain, but still painful.

  34. Wow, what a lot of comments. It’s interesting that I found your post after doing a search on Google about this problem. We had the exact same effect when our daughter had her first MMR – she stopped walking, she was in agony, we couldnt change her nappy, she would cry all night etc. Dr’s refused to admit it was a link to the MMR and only through my mother-in-law who is a nurse did we find other people who had had the same problem and proven written information on it. Yet still armed with this the medical people refused to believe it.

    We are now at the next dilemma, we now live in NZ (from the UK) and is due the next MMR before school. We do not want a repeat of the first time round. The medical system here is wonderful and there is no pressure to have the immunisations at all, but as with the comments above, and people I have generally talked to, there is the pressure from others for what we are doing to our children if we dont immunise.

    Anyway, I know that I am commenting on an old post but I hoped you could write and let me know if you had that second MMR and what happened. You can check us out here: and if possible please email me with any help. I would really really appreciate it.

    I really hope to hear from you soon, thank you for having this ‘on the internet’ – a few years back there was nothing and its good to know my suspicions were always right.

    Best wishes
    Marrisa Dawes

  35. Check with your physician about getting separate vaccinations, not a combined mumps + measles +rubella. That will take longer, but may make the whole process less vexing, and perhaps less dangerous, if there is any danger.

  36. Thanks for all these comments they have eased a worried mothers mind. My 13mth old daughter started to hesitate to walk following a slight fever and cold. I took her to the doctor and they told me that if she is not better in a few days to bring her back for blood tests and a ultrasound in case there is hip problems. However, she had her mmr 2 weeks ago and i do hope it is that and nothing more serious. Reading these comments have helped, i hope they are correct.

  37. I am dealing with the same issues. My son isn’t walking anymore. He has been extremely irritable. I thought it was other things, but I am noticing that he isn’t walking and when he does he starts and stops with crying! How long did it last?

  38. Hi Emily —

    For us it lasted about a week, which seems to be a pretty common time frame. From what I’ve read, it can last a couple days to about three weeks. Rarely, it becomes chronic, but chronic issues seem more common in adult women.

    I hope your son feels better soon!

  39. Lisa,
    Our 18 month old is experiencing many of the same symptoms. She received her MMR about 10 days ago and started a mild limp after she had been sitting down, being held, etc. The limp would go away after a while but it has not completely gone away. Our peds here in Wichita, KS have not dismissed the fact that a vaccine could cause a condition called “toxic synovitis” which sounds much worse than it really is. It is admitted that a vaccine can cause its symptoms which are knee/hip joint pain, limp, fever, etc. TS goes away in about 7-10 days. Have you heard of this?

  40. My 2 year old son just had his MMR 10 days ago, and today developed a fever of 101, and has had a light limp and been occasionally favoring one leg and/or tripping more frequently than usual for the last couple of days. As of today, its nothing more serious than this, but I try to stay in front of things so I was cruising the internet to find out if others had seen this in their young children following the shot. The official literature I’ve read on MMR side effects only discuss joint pain in the context of adult immunization, so I was very glad to see your blog discussion. It sounds like we might be just at the top of the side effects window (I’ve seen anywhere from 7 days after the shot to a month after the shot), so I am getting prepared to hold my breath and pray that this doesn’t get worse over the next 2 to 3 weeks.

    Thanks for your willingness to share what happened with your daughter. I waded into the vaccine “controversy” around the time that my now 2-year old son was 6 months old. Based on my own research (which included thoroughly reading several books and medical research articles on this issue, the most user-friendly of which I found to be Dr. Sears’ “The Vaccine Book”) , and several thoughtful conversations with our pediatrician, we decided that my son (and now my younger daughter) would be fully vaccinated, but that we would spread the shots out so that we could reduce the amount of aluminum and other toxins that the kids would be exposed to at one time. So far, that decision has worked for our family, and we feel fortunate to say that — to date — our children have not suffered any vaccine related injuries.

    However, your blog (and the tons of others I’ve managed to dig up) as well as my own experience now with my son’s currently mild reaction to the vaccine is a great reminder that — regardless of whether you are pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine (or someplace in the middle like me), no one disputes the fact that there are risks associated with administering the vaccine and ANY child can suffer a reaction, mild or severe. All each of us can do is do the research, evaluate our children’s health histories and make the best possible decision for our families.

    Your blog was a great example of that, so thank you for sharing.

  41. Thank you to all for posting. I *knew* I wasn’t crazy (at least, not usually). And I’d just bet that this side effect is much more common in toddlers than they think, but most people don’t link the joint pain to the MMR because:
    a) the shot is usually given to a 12 or 15 month old who may not be walking and can’t easily communicate the pain they feel
    b) the side effects can often occur weeks after the initial jab, so they aren’t attributed to the shot.

    Our story: After much deliberation, dd got MMR two weeks ago at age 2.25. Started running low fever and displaying irritability at day 9, fever cleared at day 12… but light rash appeared. Took to doc on day 13 to rule out ear infection or other cause for extreme irritability. Checked out fine. Doc agreed, could be MMR reaction, but wasn’t concerned. Today, day 14, no fever, rash is better… still very irritable, wanting to be held and started screaming that leg hurt… she couldn’t walk on it. Gave Tylenol and she calmed down after about 15 minutes of screaming.

    Were she not able to talk, I never would have known that her leg hurt. I think too often when kids are crabby, we write it off as them being out of sorts for no good reason… they’re not able to effectively tell us that there IS a good reason. I myself have gotten frustrated with my daughter this week for being so crabby… which makes me feel awful, because now I know that she was probably in pain.

    I pray that this will pass with no further symptoms… if anyone knows of any treatment other than Tylenol for comfort, please share. I plan to pass on our experience to VAERS and hope that more people will report their suspicions.

  42. Hello – I just looked up your website as I got my younger son (17 mnths) vaccinated with MMR and Vericella yesterday. It is too early for him to display any symptoms and I will watch out for those in the next 2 to 3 months.

    I had a question for all the contributors to this blog. Did you fill out the VAERS form with this information?
    If not, could you do that right away? Here is the link ( to the US site) :

  43. Wow. A lot of good information from everyone. My kids just had their vaccinations a week ago. My daughter, 5, was overdue for some of hers and one was the MMR. My son, 2, is fine and has shown no reactions. My daughter has been complaining of soreness in her leg for the past 2 days and it just seems to get worse. She says it is really tender behind her knee and she favors it a lot. I am relieved to hear that this may end for her in a few days but annoyed that Dr.’s don’t realize this is a side effect. I will definitely log on and self report and hopefully, as you said, if enough of us do it, it will finally be looked at.
    Thanks again.

  44. I just had my daughter’s 15-month well visit yesterday and she had 4 shots. She was fussy and irritable all day yesterday and this morning she won’t walk or bear any weight at all on her right leg. I know it is linked to the vaccines. She, like your daughter, has been walking for months, but since her shots yesterday, won’t take a step. Thanks for sharing. It is good to read other similar stories.

  45. Sara – hope your daughter is doing well. I will be taking my younger son to the Peds today for his 18 months shots…hope it will all go fine.

  46. JR, if you ever check back here, can you let me know what you find out re. your chronic arthrtis? I had the same thing happen to me (I’m a 35 yr old woman) two years ago when I got the MMR as a prerequisite to getting a greencard.

    Within two weeks every joint on my body was swollen and I was in tears of pain just moving a little – yet not moving is incredibly painful too. Since then a lot of the swelling has gone down with repeated use of prednisone and constant NSAIDS – to the point that my stomach can’t take them anymore. Now I’m on more serious painkillers, but wake up in pain every morning. It’s pretty difficult remaining enthusiastic about spending the rest of my life like this.

  47. My 12-months -old son got his MMR vaccination on the 24th of December. On the the 2nd of January, he had joint pain. He couldn’t move and he was crying if he tried to move. I suspected that his is due to the vaccination because I was told that the MMR’s reactions might appear after a week or 10 days, so I took him to see his pediatrician but she was on a vacation. So, another pediatrician checked him, she told me that this is a reaction to the MMR vaccination. Also, she said that she examined another child this week who had the same joint pain after having the MMR vaccination.

  48. My 15th month old was walking around the house with new shoes when i noticed that she was holding on to her right knee. She could move the leg and there was no sign bumps or swelling. I quickly googled and saw this article. Its not the new shoe but the MMR shot she had 3 days ago!

  49. My 5 year old had his annual shots yesterday — MMR + DTaP. He was limping yesterday, but refused to get out of his bed today because of the pain in his knee. I had to carry him for most of the day (and he does not like to be carried). There was also noticeable swelling around the joint (not so much around the area of the shot, but that did came later). Taking a warm bath did seem to relieve the pain and improve mobility. Also I kept him on Tylenol or Motrin for the pain. My pediatrician checked him out today and confirmed that he had never seen such a reaction to a vaccine but immediately researched it while I waited. He diagnosed my son with Synovitis (an inflammation of the synovial fluid around the knee joint) which apparently is a rare side affect of immunization shots that only impacts less than 1% of the population. He told me to keep him on Motrin at max dosage for his weight, 3 x day for the pain and call him if he showed any signs of worsening. He expected him to get better in the next few days, but if things worsened, the next step might be to take him to the ER to drain the fluid and get a steroid shot (which he wanted to avoid if possible). Unlike some others, I’m glad I have a pediatrician who is not caught up with being an ‘expert’ and does his homework when he sees something new. He also reported our incident of a rare complication to the drug manufacturer. If I don’t leave another comment in a few days, then you know that my son improved. Hope our diagnosis helps someone else out there searching for an answer.

  50. I was anti-vaccine for the longest time until a doc explained to me that we get ingest more mercury from the canned tuna that we often eat than from a few doses of vaccine.

    In both cases, sometimes the benefits outweigh the risks.

    So, I decided to keep vaccinating my kids.

  51. I’m so grateful for this site. My 15 m.o. son got his MMR four days ago and since then has been irritable, whiny, and will only stop crying if held. He does like to be held, but this behavior is really out of character for him. The morning after the injection, he was limping and kept stumbling. He’s walking better now, but still prefers to be held. He’s also been sleeping more than usual, has been extra fussy about eating, and has been a little constipated. Hopefully all this will resolve on its own in the next few days. I talked to my pediatrician’s on-call nurse this evening and she wasn’t really much help, “If he’s inconsolable for more than 30 minutes, take him to the emergency room.” His next scheduled peds visit is in three months. I’m extraordinarily torn about what to do regarding more vaccines.


  53. I am so glad to have found this blog! My son received his Kindergarten boosters just yesterday which included MMR. Just before bed last night he complained of pain to his right knee and had to be carried up the stairs. Today has been worse for him. He cannot walk or stand without wailling in pain. I will keep him on Motrin and try a warm bath (thanks Cheryl for the tip) and hopefully this helps. I absolutely plan to report this as it should be noted as a side effect for confused parents!

  54. Gouty arthritis in fact must be considered a very unpleasant illness, my own aunt has been suffering from the issue for a number of years now. It puts a lot of stress on me, observing an important friend and member of the family experience overwhelming pain so often. Pursuing a suited eating plan for prophylaxis and making use of the most effective medications and treatments is something I consider imperative. I would recommend anyone who is now noticing early clues of gout to by all means be alarmed. You should check with a physician as soon as possible and change your eating routine to prevent the outbreak of the condition. It is anything but fun, really. Find working treatment options and steer clear of food containing too much purine, asparagus etc to take prophylactic measure.

  55. I am so relieved to have come across this blog! I took my 22 month old son to get his MMR today and five hours later he is can barely walk. I KNOW it is due to the vaccine. I too have been following Dr. Sears alternate schedule because my husband and I were concerned about the reactions-mostly the MMR. When it was time to vaccinate our son at age 1 the drug manufacturers no longer offered the seperate MMR vaccine so we opted to wait until he was two. So here we are! I was crying earlier because I know the MMR had done this and was afraid it was permement. I feel better after reading that this is temporary and am armed with the knowledge that it can his joint pain can get worse. At least I know what to expect. Either way I will call the Dr again tomorrow and I will report this to Vaers.

  56. I, too, stumbled on this site as a result of MMR child knee pain.

    Our daughter has symptoms exactly as you have described. She has knee pain in the leg she received her MMR shot in 10 days ago. There is no redness or swelling, but she has difficulty in walking. She is 5 years old.

    Have you seen any more information on this phenomenon?

  57. My daughter now 12 was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis 5 mths after being given the MMR injection. She initially started limping 1 week after the injection & went downhill from there. I have no doubt her arthritis was caused by the MMR shot. When she was 4 she was given Chicken Pox vaccination and had the most violent flare-up in her joints again in my opinion caused by the live vaccine she was given. I was also of the opinion that vaccinating was worth the risk of some uncomfortable side effects, until I now watch my daughter daily struggling with the incurable disease she may possibly have for the rest of her life. I gues it’s a gamble some win some lose however I chose not to have my son immunised until someone is prepared to say it was 100% not the MMR that caused her arthritis!

  58. So my 18 month old, very advanced, extremely active on the go toddler stopped walking….3 days after her Hep A shot and her 2010 flu vaccine that also has the h1n1 in it…She was diagnosed with “toxic synovitis”….One minute she was walking and complaining about “owe owwwe” and the next she was on the ground unable to walk…Now when I say she can’t walk that isn’t true she can walk but clearly she is in pain. I was thinking it was related to the shots, they say that this type of thing happens when a child has a cold or some allergy or sickness and it goes away within 10 days. Her regular peditrcian dismissed my daughter’s clear inability to stand or walk to me without screaming in pain and told us that it was due to her wanting attention because I finally weaned her 3 weeks before. I KNOW my daughter and while she loved her attention she clearly was suffering…So I took her to another doctor the day after. He has been all over the world, India, New york and finally decided to retire in California and work at this huge clinic…He was very to the point and explained everything and I was very pleased with his knowledge and kind of got on me for throwing my own diagnosis out there. I am one to jump to conclusions and diagnose before I know what it is and it ends up freaking me out. Everything he gave me on the print out and everything he looked for on her were the exact things I looked at on her that were causing concern for me…She could stand on her left leg but her right leg the knee was turned inward to her other knee pressed against it and her calve was out with her toe pointing towards her other foot. She seems to slowly be getting better, able to stand now after day two when before she wouldn’t even be thinking about it. I am just amazed at the things we have no idea about and I agree with the article we all posted to…The peditricians shrug these things off and don’t report them so I am thinking these things happen more often than not and we are unaware about them. Her peditrician just sent us home claiming attention. Blew me away!

    • Hi Elissa- I am in Ontario Canada and my 13 month old was also diagnosed with Transient Synovitis of the Left Hip following similar symptoms. Just curious – how long did you find it took for your child to recover? Anderson has been taking Naprosyn since Thursday but we haven’t really seen much improvement.

  59. ‘TRANSIENT SYNOVIAL VIRUS” was the diagnosis sorry!

  60. My DD (12mo old) was given MMR and variacella vaccine on October 27th and 5 days later we noticed that it was hard to put a shoe on her left foot – her toes were curled up downwards. I didn’t think much of it until the next day when, after a nap, she could barely stand, trying to balance herself and walked very funny, limping on left leg. It looked very scary. Then she walked it off and was fine until another nap, after which she had the same issue. We took her to pediatrician the next day and she was diagnosed with toxic synovitis caused by “some virus – so many possibilities that you can’t be sure which one”…well I sure am sure that it was caused by the recent vaccination – one of the viruses she was given caused it. I’m very very upset right now. It is reassuring in a way that my daughter is not the only one with the condition but it just hurts me that my decision to vaccinate had caused it. I just hope in a couple of days she will be fine. When the time comes for the booster I will be very hestitant of giving her another dose of the vaccine. I will also report this as a side effect – of either one: mmr or variacella vaccine.

  61. Back again. Thought this was temporary however my son had his MMR in march and could not walk as in previous comment. He was doing great and now here we are 8 months later and his joints are swollen and he is crying all night and hands claw at times. heart breaking and frustating to say the least. My 4 year old is due for her MMR booster and over my dead body will my children ever recieve another vaccination!!! Buyer beware!! these are our children how dare the government do this knowingly!!

  62. My 5 yr old daughter received the MMR vaccine last week. This week she developed an ear infection & fever, and in the middle of the night screamed about knee pain. No movement nor injury, it was a sudden onset. So today, she has been unable to walk on it or move it at all without severe pain. The doc sent for xrays to rule out injury, but did say that although women usually have reaction to the vaccine that it was certainly possibly that it was affecting my daughter.

  63. Just off the phone to doctors on call my little boy cant walk, he’s 17months and recieved his MMR jag today. Gutted blaming myself not the government. Doctor said hes never heard of a reaction to happen this quick and he administers the MMR in his own practice. Obviously never read up or done a research on this, this was first site i checked and its full of people stating the same thing. Its what were up against. In my opinion these doctors who administer this jab should be held responsible as our GP’s it is there responsibility to ac on our best intrest. Trained to he highest standard but will still give this jab.

    Worried sick.

  64. UPDATE from November 5th.

    It seems like all is well now – my daughter walks with no problems, no issue after nap or anything. She still curls her toes downward though – not all the time but I can see she does it most of the time- when sitting on the floor or when I try to put her shoe on. I’m still very upset about the whole thing and no support from the doctor’s office at all…

  65. My son received his 5 year old shots yesterday in his thighs. DTAP, Polio, MMR, Chicken Pox and flu mist. He started having difficulty walking a few hours after the injections. He cried all night in his sleep, drenched in sweat and running a low grade temp. He has a small localized rash around the injection sites. I called the doctor in the middle of the night who said it was an uncommon but heard of it before reaction. Today my very energetic non drama son can not walk. He stands on tippy toes and cries in severe pain. He is going in at noon. I am so scared. I hope the on call doctor that sees him understands that this is entirely from the vaccine. I also partly blame my self. When they told me how many shots he needed that little voice in my head said it was too many but I said okay. Listen to that voice in your head that tells you when something is not right. I wish I would have.

  66. My 3 year old is very behind on her vaccinations (she repeatedly had strong reactions to vaccinations as an infant, so I stopped). Last week I went against my gut and had her vaccinated with the MMR shot. Now 10 days later, she has a fever of 105 and is complaining that her legs hurt; when she walks, its as if each step gives her great pain. I have no doubt that its from the MMR shot, and am hoping that this is the worst of it. Of course her doctor dismissed the idea. I am tired of being regarding as a moron because I am “just” a parent.

    Understand that parents who choose not to vaccinate are not doing it out of selfishness or the thought that other kids’ vaccines will protect their kids. They do it out of doubt that medical professionals actually know what they are talking about. Big pharmaceutical companies fund nearly all research within the medical communities and have an agenda to achieve. Of course they will prove that something (vaccines or otherwise) that will make their company billions of dollars to be safe and necessary. The doctors don’t question otherwise, and as a result the adverse reaction warnings are not trustworthy because legitimate side-effects go unreported.

    And while vaccines clearly have played a role in controlling the spread of infectious diseases, they also affect how well our immune systems function (by causing an imbalance in beneficial bacteria) that leads to other health problems – sometimes chronic, painful, and life-threatening illnesses. Further, a high percentage of the present-day measles cases within the world actually occur within those who had previously been vaccinated. Its not that the vaccine didn’t work, but that the resulting immunity is short-lived.

  67. Make sure to report your findings to the local health department… they’ll keep track if the doctor wont…

  68. My 4 yr old has always had leg pain after shots. But this time it is different. It has been 10 days since her immunizations and she has intense pain in her right leg where she received the shot. The first time it happened yesterday I thought she had been stung by something. You know when you hear that ‘hurt’ cry. I only realized it this morning when it happened again that she had been vaccinated a week and a half ago. I plan on calling the doctor tomorrow.

  69. I vaccinated my one year old son with the MMR 12 days ago and 10 days after the shot he had a high fever for two days. The fever went away, but my husband and I noticed that he has having a hard time walking, which I attributed to fatigue from the fever. I also noticed that he was extremely irritable and seemed to cry for no reason, nothing was comforting him. At this point, I decided to take him to the doctor’s because my gut told me that he was not his normal self, and that something was up.
    The doctor was wonderful, he was very attentive and examined my son properly despite his non-stop crying. The doctor’s opinion was that my son had Transient Synovitis (hip inflammation) and that it could be related to the live virus in the MMR shot. He did say that it was rare at his age, but he believe it was possible. He told me to watch my son closely and to return if his walking and mood had not improved.
    If you’re wondering why I vaccinated my son at 1 years old, as others have said, the consequences of not vaccinating appear to be far worse than the side effects of the vaccine itself. In addition I live and visit areas where some diseases are still rampant. I hope I am making the right choices for my son, but I’m not looking forward to the booster shot, and may rethink my reasoning on vaccinating altogether!

    Thanks for sharing your stories……..

    • Hi Nino – I am in Ontario Canada and my 13 month old was also diagnosed with Transient Synovitis of the Left Hip following similar symptoms. Just curious – how long did you find it took for your child to recover? Anderson has been taking Naprosyn since Thursday but we haven’t really seen much improvement.

  70. We are experiencing the same thing with our toddler after his 12 months shots.
    He’s on the Swedish vaccination program but I don’t think it differs that much from the American one.

  71. My son, age 4.7 in Wisconsin, US, received Chicken Pox, MMR, and DTaP today as part of regular ped. visit. We are slightly behind WI state schedule because of spreading out the vaccines slightly–better safe than sorry (wife works w kids with autism). Not anti-Vaccine, just cautious. He took Chicken Pox and MMR in either leg, with DTap in arm. 15-30 minutes later he walked funny and complained of leg pains in the hours after shots–didn’t even want McDonalds Playland or outside park Playground that were part of reward for suffering the shots. I took it as simple post-shot leg pain. Now he says his left leg is the one that hurts more. I believe from my memory of having to hold him the right leg was Chicken Pox, the left leg MMR. So we will be watching carefully over the next few days/weeks to see if he has any reactions over the next few days–and if they localize to one leg/both legs/all over.

  72. My daughter received her 16 month MMR shots on a Tuesday and immediately developed a swollen knee and began limping the following day on Wednesday. we suspected the same…maybe she fell or suffered some sort of injury…went for xrays..all negative, no structural damage, but a blood test that looked like potential signs of rheumatoid arthritis. we are still waiting to see a rheumatoid specialist (as they are very tough to get an appointment with for infants and toddlers) and in the meantime the limp and pain has got way the point where a perfectly normal active toddler has become a totally different person- she cant sleep, she wont play and is afraid to walk. the only thing our doctor could do was prescribe her children’s IB Pro fin. i suspect this is directly related to the shots, but we haven’t been lucky enough to see it go away…as i mentioned, its got worse.

  73. Our daughter just recieved her MMR booster yesterday at her 12 month appointment. She has been walking perfectly since 10 months and can basically run. This morning she can barely stand/ crawl and cries if we put her down. The interesting thing is that we were hesitant to give her the shot but our pedetrican spent 30 minutes convincing us that it was safe!!! Hopefully these side effects subside but this is very concerning! Thank you for having this information posted on-line hopefully this resolves itself.

  74. Thank you for posting this! My 21 month old son just got the MMR and he was fine all day, but tonight he suddenly started acting very fussy, and when I asked him what was wrong he would say “Owy” which is his way of telling me something hurts. He is limping, and very reluctant to walk. Hopefully this gets better soon…some of the other comments are making me scared it’s going to get worse before it get’s better. It had me very worried, so I went online to see what I could find and this site popped up with a lot of parents with similar experiences.

  75. Hi. My 19 month son received the MMR 6 days ago he is walking/running “funny” kind of like he has a stiff leg. My husband doesn’t see it but I am a stay at home mom so I think that I may be more in tune to the difference in his walking. The difference between my son and so many of your children is that my little guy got his shot on his arm and not his leg. Can he still have stiffness on his leg if the shot was given in the arm area??? This doesn’t really make sense to me. Please keep in mind that I googled “can MMR effect walking” when I came upon this site. If anyone’s child also had the vaccine on the arm please respond.

    • My understanding is that the joint pain is a systemic reaction to the contents of the shot (specifically the rubella component) and not a localized reaction to the shot administration. Thus it’s theoretically possible for the shot to cause joint pain anywhere. I hope he’s feeling better soon!

  76. Thank you so much for posting your story. My 12 month old daughter had her mmr vaccine 2 weeks ago today. Starting this am she has been intermittently limping and refusing to walk on her right leg. I took her to the pediatrican today, she was walking again at that time and did nothing. I just want to tell you how much better it makes me feel that she is not the only one. I can tell the pain is either in her knee or ankle, but again I appreciate you sharing and hope that my daughter is better soon. Very worrisome as a parent!

  77. So many reports here of first time MMR reactions. My daughter had this reaction with her shots at age 2 (read our story here: and is due for her boosters soon. I’m wondering if anyone has experience of a similar or worse reaction to the boosters. Thanks!

  78. I know it is years later from your original post, but my daughter is now 14 days since her MMRV and is limping. We took her to the doctor yesterday and he did an xray and blood work, we are waiting for the complete results. I agree that it is a reaction from the shots! It was my immediate thought when she started limping. Thanks to your post I am thankful that it might not be something more serious, like arthritis, and may go away with time. Thank you again for your original posting!

  79. My daughter had an mmr vaccine at 12 mths. 10 days later she had a full rash (looked like measles) that finally went away after 2 wks. Now she has a knee problem, was starting to walk and now can barely apply pressure to her right leg. Her leg is a bit swollen above the knee and hot to the touch, slight fever. We have had blood tests and ultrasounds on her hip and everything looks fine. my husband and i are still puzzled….why can’t she crawl on all fours and try to walk??? I will keep searching for answers but the MMR vaccine seems to always come back to haunt me!!

  80. Today my son woke up saying he could not walk, I thought it was a Charlie horse or something. He said mom my knee hurts not my leg my knee. I took my son to the dr’s office last Wednesday and he got mmr shot and the flu shot and whatever else vaccinations he needed. So I immediately thought about the vaccinations, and googled vaccinations unable to walk, several links pop up, and I am in shock. I will be calling the dr’s office…thank you for posting.

  81. My 4 year oldsSon got his MMR booster shot today, along with DTaP, IPV, Varicella, and Flu. He was fine until he woke up from his afternoon nap and has been limping ever since. I thought he was fibbing a bit or milking me for some sympathy… but today is Halloween and even while he was trick or treating and not knowing I was watching him he would hobble along not bending his right leg while walking. I gave him some Motrin and plan to call the doctor in the morning to see what he says… But I bet like others, they will dismiss it. Thanks for all the posts from the previous parents, I will be able to sleep soundly knowing that it is all fine.

    • After reading this article and all the comments posted I was convinced that my son had this reaction to the MMR Vaccine. He was diagnosed with Transient Synovitis 5 days after showing signs of not walking, but after a week of no improvement following the medication we were prescribed, we were sent back to the hospital. Thank goodness we were. The pediatrician we were referred to was certain our son did not have Transient Synovitis, and after two weeks of not walking, finally it was discovered he had Septic Arthritis which is quite commonly mis-diagnosed as Transient Synovitis. Septic Arthritis if not caught soon enough can cause serious long term complications. I urge all of you parents to note this down and mention the chance of Septic Arthritis if you do take your child in based on the symptoms of not walking. Our 14 month old son went undiagnosed for 14 days, and while he is in recovery, we don’t know long term what damage has been done to his hip joint. If you don’t feel what the doctor is saying to you is right, then keeping pushing, until you find a doctor that will listen. You know your child, you know when something isn’t right.

  82. Gave my 14 month old baby boy the MMR yesterday he was fine after came home had lunch went for nap but when he awake he was screaming in pain and unable to walk or even weight bear it was terrifying! I gave him calpol nurofen a warm bath tried to settle him – nothing worked ,eventually after about 3 hours he recovered and is ok today but will certainly not be giving a further dose.contacted gp and they are looking into it!

  83. i have a 15 month old who was vaccinated 2 weeks ago w the mmr vaccine ! he has been having pain on his joints for the whole day of today ! its comforting to see that this could also be a reaction to the vaccine ! the dr disregarded the fact that this could be a reaction to the vaccine ! how long was your daughter with this pain ? we are going on vacay on wednesday

  84. Your site really helped me when my son started having trouble walking after having his MMR injection aged just over one. I have now detailed my son’s experience in my own blog It is terrible that Drs. are not acknowledging that this could be a side effect of having the injection.

  85. My 1 year old just got the mmr vaccine 10 days ago. For the past three days she has been crying, unwilling to put any weight on her legs (she was almost walking 😦 ), and grimaces and cries if her leg is touched. I was certain something was going on, but I thought it was a cold (runny nose, low grade fever 3 days ago) until I noticed the large raised red bump on her leg near the injection spot (she had a red spot after the shot but now it is three times bigger)

  86. My four year old son had his MMR vaccine two weeks ago and started complaining about knee pain yesterday. He was a late walker (15.5 months when he started) so we didn’t notice back then. I attributed it to growing pains at first. After further searching, I came across this page. I truly think the vaccine has something to do with it. He limps and complains of pain in his left knee after sitting for a long time or sleeping. I spoke to the nurse at his Peds office and they dismissed this possibility (since the shot was given in his arm and not his leg) I will continue to monitor him for the next few days. I’m hoping it will subside quickly. I hate to see my munchkin in pain.

  87. My four year old son got his shots today including MMR and is experiencing pain on his knee same leg the shot was administered. He is an active boy but cries when he walks on it. What did you do to alleviate the pain?

  88. My daughter had her mmr shots in December, 6 days later woke up and could not walk for two days. It went away for a week and a half and then came back…this continued for about ten weeks..the on and off limp. We narrowed it down to her feet, there was some swelling and redness when she had a flare up. Three blood tests so far showing raised crp each time, health nurse here in Canada did an investigation and said because it lasted for more then a month that it was not caused by the shots. And a specialist that never even examined my daughter said he has seen this kind of thing before, doesn’t know what it is, but it goes away. REALY?
    So frustrating, I have spent many hours looking on google and her symptoms always pointed to JRA, but she never got tested for that.
    I came across a site that said dairy allergy can cause raised crp and arthritis…I took my girl off dairy and she stopped crying at night, slept better and the limp went away.
    I still think that the mmr shot brought on the limp and pain, maybe triggered something.
    I very happy, or at least don’t feel so alone and lost, now that I found this blog. I am now 5 months pregnant and not so sure about the shots given and will be doing more research.
    P.S. my daughter also got the chicken pox from an earlier shot.

  89. Thanks so much for this post. Our 15 month old daughter had her vaccination 5 days ago and is refusing to walk for up to an hour after waking up. Cries when tries to get up on feet.

    She had a croaky throat at time of vaccine and I guess her immune system wasn’t up to it. Am very pleased to read your daughter recovered from this. Hope mine does soon too.


  90. My four-year-old daughter had her booster shots three days ago. Almost immediately, she was complaining of having difficulty walking. She walks with a limp and will not bend her left leg at the knee. The pain seems to have remained constant since it began. She received her shots in her thighs, and after reading all the other comments, I am convinced it is due to the MMR shot. I will call her ped’s office when they open. I am hoping this only lasts a few more days, as many have posted it lasted about a week. I honestly don’t remember her having a bad reaction to this shot as a toddler. This is scary. I hope my ped takes me seriously.

  91. its 2012 and i am not a kid..iam 27 year old healthcare researcher who got a mandatory MMR shot at the health center in the US.2 days from the does had lymphnode swelling and severe cold.2 weeks later my elbow was swollen to twice its size and went to the ER.They said it was bursitis and sent me back saying keep an ice pack.I had to see a ortho specialist in 2 days and she thought i had injured myself for sure when iam saying not at all.xrays came normal blood test showed some elevated reactive proteins and she still wanted to put a cast on day with the cast my palm was swollen too and visit to rheumatologist was due.he drew fluid from the swollen elbow and decided not an then my leg started hurting …no diagnosis docs were thinking i hurt myself my employer wasnt sympathetic and she said im making a fuss out of a bug bite and i had to resign my job and come back to my home country india where all the docs say its condition triggered by the vaccine ….

  92. I am a mother of four. my first two children are fully vaccinated, they are 11 and 8. I had never really heard of autism until after my nephew Beau was born. He is 10 this year. hIS pedictrician refused to make a diagnosis of autism on him until he was closer to 4 years old thus delaying any early intervantion or therapys for him, He cannot speak verbally but does use a box that has a voice programmed in and he can touch the buttons to say what he wants/needs. My brother and his wife have witnessed the effects of these vaccines first hand. For all of you who believe the vaccines are safe, I beg to differ. We have pictures and videos of Beau before his 18 month vaccines. He was normal! A normal child that could walk,talk,play,throw a ball,sing….he was fine! And he was robbed! Robbed of a normal childhood,a normal life. He will not grow to marry,have children,he may never work or even be able to speak.1 in every 50 boys are diagnosed with autism now. And boys are 80% more likely to get autism than girls. I now have two more children ages 4 and 9 months. both are up to date on vaccines ecept MMR. they will not be getting it if at all possible. And if they HAVE to have it for some reason,it will be given as individual doses. I heard recently that the amount of vaccines we are giving our children are twice the amount of what would be considered an adult dose. I hope everyones children are o.k. and that all they get is leg pain. God bless!

    • I am sorry to hear about your nephew.

      However, I feel the need to point out that what you are providing is anecdotal evidence against vaccines. As humans we are naturally programmed to learn by observing others; however when our sample is limited (i.e. we are not exposed to a variety of situations) the extent of our learning is limited. This observational learning is limited but it is also flawed. This article is good about explaining the psychological power of anecdotes and why such evidence is not always reliable. It doesn’t mean that the observations of your nephew’s illness aren’t valid, but there could be other confounding factors at play, not just (or even including) the vaccine. I have a very good friend whose daughter has autism, and for a long time she and her husband embraced the idea that vaccines were at least partly involved in their daughter’s illness. As the only real study to find that link has been thoroughly debunked, they have had a hard time unwrapping their heads around blaming the vaccines. However, they are very scientifically-minded, they KNOW the blame doesn’t lie with the vaccines, but they’ve thought that way for so long, it’s hard to make that disconnection in their brain.

      One can also review this article for a very thorough review of the science concerning autism and vaccines, on the site for the Autism Science Foundation, or this article, on

  93. Hi
    I think we are experiencing the same symptoms,my toddler had her MMR vaccination last Monday,that evening she started a temperature and for 3 days it was as high as 39 degrees.

    I went to the G.P.and prescribed antibiotics for chest infection,her fever stopped on Wednesday and ever since she has been waking up in the middle of the evening,crying and pulling her legs straight,as if they are hurting and she cant get in a comfortable position and this has been happening for hours at a time.she is still walking but has become so clingy,it is still early after the vaccination and we will soon see if these symptoms persist.

    She just doesn’t seem herself since the vaccination.

  94. Same here. Our boy (13 months) has been very grumpy after his MMR a couple of weeks ago. He wants to be picked up all the time. Still walks lots but bends his knees and walks in a strange way. Also complains when we put his shoes on, and had a tantrum demanding they be taken off yesterday. He used to love walking in his shoes. Hope it passes, but will take him to doc tomorrow.

  95. Hi, I left a message here a year ago about my daughter having a strange on and off limp for 10 weeks. I am happy to report she is totally fine now and a happy 2 1/2 year old.
    My son is now going through the shots (I am spreading them out more just incase) and to my surprise the mmr shot has now been changed!! It is no longer 12 months and then 18 months, it is now 12 months and 4 or 5 years!!
    It makes me wonder if my persistence with Dr’s and many phone calls had any help in this change, even though I was made out to be the crazy, neurotic mother.
    I get email up dates from this site and it is nice to see that I am not the only one who knows that the mmr was the culprit to her pain. I am glad they changed the dosing, I wish they would recognise all of the parents concerns and not make us feel like idiots. I am happy my kids will be vaccinated, but support would have been from the people giving the shots.

  96. Same Exact ThingBendening To My 20 Month Girl. One Day After The Mmr Vaccine. She Can’t Bend Her Leg Without Pain.

  97. I am a mom and an epidemiologist by training. As a mom, I understand the pain and dread the vaccines, all of them. As a scientiest, I understand the importance of childhood vaccinations, weighing the benefits and the side effects and hoping that she is not the one out of however many that was estimated. I think the actual problem here is a lack of understanding of the association between vaccine and joint symptom in toddlers. I believe information on how likely your toddler is to developing joint pain or arthritis, how severe it is likely to be, how long it is likely to last. It is a worthy of attention and insufficiently studied. I wish I have the grants and data to conduct a good study to examine it.

  98. My 2yr old just received her mmr on friday and over the weekend, she has been waking up (twice) at night screaming that her leg hurts and she needed ice. I didn’t see any marks on them like she had gotten her leg stuck in the crib bars or anything and I’m not sure if I’m hypersensitive to a reaction to this vaccine as the last one she had was at 6m and it was unconfirmed that her body may have reaccted to it causing her to her a bout of ITP….wondering if this is the start of something simular

  99. A little back story on my 2 1/2 year old… He was a late walker, first steps at 18 months and full on independent walking at 21 months… He’s been in physical therapy since 11 months old for gross mother delay. From that point on I delayed his vaccinations…and he was set to receive his last one, the dreaded MMR, last Monday. The week prior he developed a bad cough and the doc said was croup, so I thought for sure when it came time for his well visit and shot… The shot would be postponed. But he was feeling better, no cough just congestion and runny nose. The doc said just as long as he didn’t have a fever he could get the shot…and that’s what we did. Two days later he stopped walking, trips and falls all over place and basically will crawl or cruise or not move at all! I know it’s from the shot but of course everyone is looking at me with five heads… Because he was a not a strong walker anyway. I’m not ignoring that but the shot did something! I researched about the joint pain side effect and came across all your stories and it makes sense! Today he is walking a little better, wants to walk, but still is not sturdy. All his Drs. are dumbstruck…. Of course. I hope he gets better soon and it didn’t damage him in the long run.

  100. I hung off til my little boy turned 3 to have his mmr as some years ago a neighbour of mine was convinced that there was a link to her son regressing and being diagnosed with autism following the mmr. My son had his shot 2 weeks ago. Yesterday day 13 he started vomiting and has a temperature. He has been incredibly sleepy and hasn’t gotten out of bed for about 40hours now. Last night and this morning he keeps saying his legs are tired and cries. I called the doctor who seems to think it’s nothing to do with the vaccine and is either a bug or a urine infection. I.m so worried 😦

  101. I’m not sure but my daughter just started walking she got shot 2 days later she stopped walking only crawling now she don’t want put any weight on her right leg

  102. Thanks for this blog post. It has answered the remaining tidbit of question I had in my mind regarding my son’s issues with his left leg, ankle and foot. I am now 100% sure he had a reaction to his MMR vaccines.

    My son is 16-months-old and received an MMR shot in his right arm. The following day, he had periods when he could not walk on the leg and resorted to crawling or dragging himself, despite being a very strong walker before this. He was running, jumping, climbing and dancing, and is very nimble. The day after his MMR shot, he acted dizzy, ran into furniture and was very unstable – almost as if he was drunk. His left leg and ankle would collapse under him and he’d go down hard. He was falling constantly, and then also lying on the ground a lot, it seemed in order to get off the leg. It appeared as if he had injured his foot or ankle, as he turned his foot in and curled his toes a lot. For an active boy, it was very concerning to see marked physical regression. Five days later, it has gotten better, but he is still having balance issues and is falling a lot, and he is nowhere near as able-bodied and nimble as before. We’ve seen 4 doctors since then, had x-rays, and blood tests, and none of them would openly admit that this an adverse reaction to the MMR vaccines, despite the fact that this is the ONLY new thing in his life. Interestingly, he’s had a mild fever at best, and his shot was in his right arm and it is his left leg that is affected.

  103. I know this is old but my son just got his shots yesterday for days afte4 his 1st bday. Hes been walking for about 3 weeks now and today he has pretty much stopped. Very whiney, fussy, tired just not himself and seems to have alot of body pain. Hard time standing and walking. I more than believe it’s a reaction to the mmr shot. Doctors are idiots. Just like the one that told me my son was dying inside of me and the other that told me my cervix was open. Both wrong. Hes very much alive and my cervix was very much closed. Mothers intuition trumps all. And I agree 100% with you.

  104. My 4 yr old Just got her shots yesterday and she started to ne in pain 4 hrs after and started limping and thé Next date she still Cant Walk. I am glad i came across your Story as i was researching ifThis was normal

  105. I stumbled across your post while researching joint pain after the MMR vaccination. My 2 year old, who is very behind on his vaccinations due to chronic illness, was finally able to receive his 12 month shots today. About 5 hours later he could no longer walk and was crying with pain. Luckily he’s very talkative and was able to tell me the pain was in his knee (just on his left leg). I called our family practice doctor and they told me that the vaccination can cause joint pain. It’s now been 12 hours since his shot and the pain hasn’t eased at all. He still won’t even put weight on his leg so we have to carry him everywhere-even to the potty. I hope this goes away quickly Bc I can’t take seeing him in so much pain. Thanks for your post, so I know that it does get better!

  106. I had all my shots as a child, but wound up not immune to Rubella in 1998. I had been immune in 1992, but somehow lost the immunity… and only 1 out of 10 doctors I asked about it even agreed that immunities can be inexplicably lost. Anyway, I was re-vaccinated in 1998, but was and am still not immune to Rubella. Within 10 years of receiving the vaccine as an adult, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Not sure when my symptoms started as I was busy starting my family, but my first recollection of abnormal pain was in 2000. For at least 20 years the CDC had tracked the link from the vaccine given to an adult woman and the development of RA, but they dismissed the connections shortly after I stumbled onto their study. But it’s difficult for me not to see the connection. — I do hope that your child’s experience was a temporary immediate reaction to the vaccine because RA is not a fun disease. And if you think it was hard to get the pediatrician to listen to that connection, you don’t want to deal with the dismissive attitudes of the ones who actually “treat” RA.

  107. My mom says that after I got my first MMR shot, I had joint pain so severe that I was sprawled out on the living room floor for several days, SCREAMING in pain every time she had to change my diaper. When it came time for me to need a booster before entering middle school, she got me a medical waiver.

  108. My 18 month old just got his 2nd MMR & chickenpox today. Around 4pm he couldn’t walk anymore & was crying on pain. Even to hold him against me was painful for him. I gave him a warm bath around 6pm & he was able to walk after but very carefully & cramped in pain. I gave him Tylenol & hopefully he is ok tomorrow! It has to be a reaction to the vaccine as he is never in pain like that and he didn’t fall.

  109. I’m experiencing the same thing actually this morning with my triplet daughter, she’s 17months and last month received her 15 month old shots. Today I noticed her limping on her right leg. It happened the other night as well. The on call triage nurse asked me if she hurt her leg and I said no. Then asked if she received her immunizations. I said yes about two weeks. I am such a worrier that I look online and it said anything between a virus in the joint, or muscle. It can last anywhere to 20 minutes to a couple of hours.

  110. I dont know how old this post is, but you are not wrong. I strongly believe that the MMR shot caused my son not to walk. It was almost two weeks of him not walking and they made him stay overnight in a hospitable being pricked and xrayed and when nothing came back they said oh it’s toxic synovitis and sent us on our way. When I mentioned the mmr shot they said oh no that’s not it.
    Now my daughter this morning is telling me “ow,ow!” In her right leg after getting the mmr shot about two weeks ago. This is just awful.

  111. My son also reacted to the mmr and was not walking for a week.

  112. My daughter had herb4 year vaccinations yesterday. Since mid morning she has complained of leg stiffness and her knees hurting. I dismissed it all day and then decided to google it. My poor girl.

  113. Both of my children have stopped walking a few weeks after their 15m shots. This is very interesting!

  114. I’m so happy that my mom found this blog, because I thought I would never find out what is wrong with my two sons-ages 1 and 5. My 15 month old received his MMR shot 6 days ago. This morning I noticed that he wouldn’t place pressure on his left leg and he refused to walk (this is not like him). I immediately took him to the ER because my 5 yr old has been having leg pains off and on for 4 years and has been diagnosed with several things. However, the doc said that he has arthritis of the hip and I should just give him Motrin. Needless to say I wasn’t satisfied with that diagnosis.

  115. My 15 mo. son had mmr and ckn pox vaccines on mon 8/18 hes only been walking for a few wks now on his own yesterday seemed to be the usual kinda after shots crabby an stumbeling a bit but today screaming like he was in pain and not only was he not walking but wanting to be carried…i figured his legs are sore but concerned about him suddenly not walking…i will watch closely the next few days….thanks for sharing as the nurse I spoke with brushed me off basically with out saying it..Im nuts

  116. I put off the MMR shot with my 4 year old until now. He needed it to start pre-school. The Doc recommended the MMRV to get his V booster. Next morning he couldn’t walk or get out of bed. He has been screaming in pain all day and can’t get up. My wife took him to the ER, x rays, blood work were fine. The Docs are certain the MMRV could not have caused this severe of a reaction. My son never walks he always runs! I’m convinced the MMRV caused this reaction. I’m hoping it doesn’t last long. Based on what I have read that one MMR is adequate, I will pass on the booster.

  117. My daughter had the vaccine and 2 weeks later she got strep throat and a swollen knee it’s been 3 months of pain and swelling. She’s seeing a rheaumatologist next month and a new dr also.

  118. I took my (exactly on her birthday) 4 yo daughter to get her 4 shots, some boosters and her first MMR on August 15th, 2014. After a day or two she began kicking her legs at night saying her legs were hurting and bothering her. She STILL has this pain/kicking/restlessness at night and we are now in October 5ht, 2014. She also, whines/cries alot and is very shy all of a sudden, hesitant to meet/talk to people when just before her birthday she was the one that goes along with the crowd and fitted right in. Coincidence? All in my mind? I actually waited years for my kids to get MMR shot, now I see why—to be fair it could have been the boosters too but I know she got the fll MMR and Varicella that day.

  119. My baby is acting the same way today. He started crawling by pulling himself around like an inch worm. He got shots five days ago and has a knot where they were injected and when I put him down he cries and tucks his foot in under him. Idk if this could be a possibility cause I’m not sure what shots he was given. He is 7 months old.

  120. Hello, I’m so glad I found this post….I took my 3 and a half yr old girl to have her pre school jabs including MMR(one in each leg) yesterday and 4hrs after having them she started saying her leg hurts and refused to walk on it. When I tried to encourage her to walk she got in a state,crying ect. I thought she may just be playing on it, she crawled upstairs dragging her leg! I put her to bed and thought by the morning she would have forgotten about it….Next morning she woke up crying, saying ‘I can’t walk mum’ and she didn’t want to go to nursery (which isn’t like her) I took her anyway and carried her in and put her where she wanted to sit, I informed the teachers about the situation so they could keep an eye on her. When I pick her up the teachers said she just keeps complaining that her leg hurts and she didn’t walk or go outside to play. So I called the doctors about it and it turns out that the leg she says is hurting is the leg she had the MMR jab in …thay just said that the MMR jab stings and to give her calpol! Surly if it was just stinging then she would still be walking on it! I will update when there is a change.

  121. This is happening to me! My son got his shots 2 days ago. He can barely walk. He can’t bend down! Will this go away????

  122. My son had 4 vaccinations 2 weeks ago. This past Sunday night he woke up screaming that his leg hurt. I thought he just slept on it wrong. I was going to wait & see how he did on Monday before taking him to see his doctor. My husband came home that night from work & wanted to take him to the ER. I called the on call doctor & he said it wasn’t an emergency, that we just “needed to wait it out like I already did that day”. He woke up yesterday morning crying because it still hurt & he still couldn’t walk. I made an appointment with his doctor. I was freaked out the entire day because every time I turn around lately there is some child that we know is diagnosed with cancer. I thought I was going to go in there & come out with my world turned upside down. She did a few things to his legs & said he had “toxic synovitis”. She said that 2 of the vaccines contained live viruses & that’s what caused it! Are you kidding me? They need to put that on the sheets they hand out when they give the vaccinations. She said it could last 1-2 weeks & that he would he fine. He was actually walking 4 hours after his appointment. I wish I would’ve found your page sooner! I might not have been so freaked out.

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