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Leg Pain

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Care at Home

  • TREATMENT FOR MUSCLE CRAMPS: * Muscle cramps in the feet or calf muscles occur in a third of children. * STRETCHING. During attacks, stretch the painful muscle by pulling the foot and toes upward. Stretch as far as they will go to break the spasm. Stretch in the opposite direction to how it is being pulled by the cramp. * COLD PACK. Use a cold pack. You can also use ice wrapped in a wet cloth. Put it on the sore muscle for 20 minutes. * WATER. Heat cramps can occur with hard sports on a hot day. If you suspect heat cramps, have your child drink lots of flids. Water or sports drinks are good choices. Continue with stretching and using a cold pack. * PREVENTION. Future attacks may be prevented by daily stretching exercises of the heel cords. Stand with the knees straight. Then, stretch the ankles by leaning forward against a wall. Place a pillow under the covers at the foot of the bed at night. This gives the feet more room to move at night. Also, be sure your child gets enough calcium in the diet.
  • TREATMENT FOR STRAINED MUSCLES FROM OVERUSE: * PAIN MEDICINE. To help with the pain, give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen. Use as needed. See Dose Table. * COLD PACK. For pain or swelling, use a cold pack. You can also use ice wrapped in a wet cloth. Put it on the sore muscles for 20 minutes. Repeat 4 times on the first day, then as needed. Caution: Avoid frostbite. * HEAT PACK: If pain lasts over 2 days, put heat on the sore muscle. Use a heat pack, heating pad or warm wet washcloth. Do this for 10 minutes, then as needed. Caution: Avoid burns. For stiffness all over, use a hot bath instead. Move the sore leg muscles under the warm water.
  • WHAT TO EXPECT: * Muscle cramps usually last 5 to 30 minutes. * Once they go away, the muscle returns to normal quickly. * A strained muscle hurts for 3 to 7 days. The pain often peaks on day 2. * Following severe overuse, the pain may last a week.
  • CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF: * Muscle cramps occur often * Fever, limp, or a swollen joint occurs * Pain caused by work or sports lasts more than 7 days * Your child becomes worse
  • TREATMENT FOR GROWING PAINS: * Most often, the pains are mild and don't last long. No treatment is needed. * MASSAGE. Rub the sore muscles to help the pain go away. * PAIN MEDICINE. If the pain lasts more than 30 minutes, give a pain medicine. You can use either acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen. Use as needed. See Dose Table. * PREVENTION. Research has shown that daily stretching can prevent most growing pains. Stretch the quads, hamstrings and calf muscles.
  • WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: * Strained muscles are common after too much exercise or hard sports. * Examples are hiking or running. * Weekend warriors who are out of shape get the most muscle pains. * Here is some care advice that should help.

Disclaimer

The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.

  • Not a Substitute - The information and materials in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker should not be used as a substitute for the care and knowledge that your physician can provide to you.
  • Supplement - The information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker are meant to supplement the information that you obtain from your physician. If there is a disagreement between the information presented herein and what your physician has told you -- it is more likely that your physician is correct. He or she has the benefit of knowing your child's medical problems.
  • Limitations - You should recognize that the information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker have the following limitations, in comparison to being examined by your own physician:
    • You can have a conversation with your child's doctor.
    • Your child's doctor can perform a physical examination and any necessary tests.
    • Your child could have an underlying medical problem that requires a physician to detect.
    • If your child is taking medications, they could influence how he experiences various symptoms.

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