The rapid growth along with the elevated level of activity is common among children. They are also contributing factors to the manifestation of muscles cramps in the lower legs and feet. It is important to note that a cramp is an abrupt shortening and tightening of the muscle which can lead to pain. The treatment for foot cramps in children initially involves helping the affected muscle lengthen and relax.
When massage is used in treating foot cramps, you have to rub the sore area in a gentle manner. You will feel that the cramped muscle is harder than the muscles and the tissue surrounding it. Continue to apply mild pressure until the muscle tension and discomfort lessens, about 5-10 minutes. The child can also massage the area by sitting in a chair and roll a tennis ball under the sore foot.
The gentle movement and stretching can help lengthen and loosen the tight muscle. The child must be encouraged to slowly stand and walk using the cramping foot. The child can sit with the knees straight and pull the toes upward to the body. The stretching must be slowly performed until the painful muscle starts to relax.
The child suffering from foot cramps will greatly benefit by keeping it warm so that the muscles will relax while at the same time increase the circulation to the area. The affected foot must be soaked in warm water or have the child take a warm bath. You can also put on warm socks or slippers on the child to preserve the body heat. Always remember that the key is to keep the muscles warm but not too much since excessive heat can lead to inflammation.
If the previous treatment options are not effective in managing the foot cramps, anti-inflammatory medications can help provide relief. Persistent discomfort is due to the inflammation around the irritated muscle. In most cases, the child can be given ibuprofen but take into consideration the proper dosage for the age and weight of the child.
Dealing with other contributing factors
If dehydration develops, it will affect the ability of the body to effectively transport nutrients and chemicals around and can be related to cramping. The child must be encouraged to drink plenty of fluids during high-intensity activities and during warm weather.
Electrolyte imbalance can disrupt with the ability of the body to transmit signals to the muscles. Potassium, calcium, sodium, magnesium are vital for this process. Maintaining a balanced diet including these nutrients can help in the prevention of leg cramps. If you want to learn ways to prevent dehydration, read here.
Always make sure that the child will warm up properly before exercising and cools down after. This will help reduce the risk for leg cramps and the overall risk for injury. The poor alignment of the legs or feet as well as weak or tight muscles can cause the foot muscles to be overworked. In case the cramping is a chronic issue, the doctor will recommend exercises, therapy and even orthotics.