Incomplete relapse recovery contributes to disability accrual and earlier onset of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. We sought to investigate the effect of age on relapse recovery. We identified patients with multiple sclerosis from two longitudinal prospective studies, with an Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score within 30 days after onset of an attack, and follow-up EDSS 6 months after attack. Adult patients with multiple sclerosis (n = 632) were identified from the Comprehensive Longitudinal Investigations in Multiple Sclerosis at Brigham study (CLIMB), and paediatric patients (n = 132) from the US Network of Paediatric Multiple Sclerosis Centers (NPMSC) registry. Change in EDSS was defined as the difference in EDSS between attack and follow-up. Change in EDSS at follow-up compared to baseline was significantly lower in children compared to adults (P = 0.001), as were several functional system scores. Stratification by decade at onset for change in EDSS versus age found for every 10 years of age, EDSS recovery is reduced by 0.15 points (P 5 0.0001). A larger proportion of children versus adults demonstrated improvement in EDSS following an attack (P = 0.006). For every 10 years of age, odds of EDSS not improving increase by 1.33 times (P 5 0.0001). Younger age is associated with improved recovery from relapses. Age-related mechanisms may provide novel therapeutic targets for disability accrual in multiple sclerosis.