What Can 5 Year Olds Take For Cramped Leg Muscles Leg Cramps in Children

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Leg Cramps in Children

Just like adults, children also experience leg cramps. These are also called “charley horses”, especially when the muscles cramp after a long workout. The term is derived from popular American slang for painful leg cramps, usually involving the quadriceps and calf muscles.

The main causes

Children are usually very active and often do not know the limits and risks of prolonged and strenuous physical exercise or activity. This is the most common cause of leg cramps in children. Certain chemicals such as lactic acid build up excessively in the skeletal muscles of the thigh and calf. This causes what in medical terminology is called ERMC (exercise-related muscle cramps). These can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. Recent studies suggest that rather than a build-up of chemicals in the muscles, cramps are the result of central nervous system fatigue. We all know that the brain, via the spinal cord and the nerves coming from there, controls the skeletal muscles (muscles of the limbs). Normally, there is always a feedback mechanism by which skeletal muscles are prevented from becoming overactive during muscle contraction. Long-term exercise is thought to alter this inhibitory system, resulting in hyperactive muscles and subsequent muscle spasms. Perhaps both of these mechanisms (accumulation of harmful substances and loss of inhibition) cause painful muscle spasms. In addition, children (and indeed adults too) often sit or stand in inappropriate positions for long periods of time, which causes muscle spasms. Other factors include inappropriate footwear and obesity. Obesity is now becoming an increasingly common factor in both adults and children. This has a lot to do with today’s lifestyle, with an emphasis on fast food and long hours of watching television. Other causes of spasms in children include an electrolyte imbalance, specifically a lack of potassium and magnesium. Exercise can also cause dehydration with loss of electrolytes and fluids in sweat, resulting in cramps. More ominously, serious illnesses such as leukemia can also cause painful spasms in children. A pinched nerve due to improper sleeping positions can also cause spasms.

Treatment of convulsions in children

If the spasms are caused by painful contractions of the affected muscles, the remedy is to stretch the muscle. The first thing to do if a child is suffering from calf muscle cramps is this: gently hold the toes and bend the foot from the ankle up and towards the shin, thereby stretching the calf muscles. Stay in this position for some time until the spasm subsides. Another means is gently massaging the affected calf muscles, preferably with warm water or oil. You can also use one of the many over-the-counter pain reliever creams or ointments. Other things that can help include preventative measures, such as increasing your dietary intake of green vegetables and fruits to provide adequate electrolytes and vitamins. It is also important to rest after exercise and gradually increase your exercise capacity. Proper hydration is also very important.

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