Leg cramps are very painful and disturbs your sleep when they strike at night. It is even worse when the leg cramps affect kids. A pinched nerve or an overextension of a leg muscle while sleeping usually causes leg cramps. It seems that the leg muscle gets stuck in a cramp position. The muscle involved in the cramp may feel hard or bulging. In children, it is commonly brought on by excessive physical activity during the day.
Hold the child's heel in one hand and his toes in the next. Gently pull on the child's heel and push his toes up toward his leg. This stretch eases the muscle contraction in the calf. Hold this stretch until the cramping goes away. Another way to achieve this stretch is to have your child stand on the stairs. Keep his toes on the step and drop his heels off the edge of the step. This needs to be a long slow stretch with no bouncing.
Massaging the calf muscle while cramping can also bring relief. Gently stroke the cramping muscle with firm pressure. Start at the ankle and rub up towards the knee. Massage in this manner until the cramping has stopped. Once the cramp is gone, massage the muscle with a circular stroke. Lay a towel over the calf, and place an ice pack on the muscle for 20 to 30 minutes. This will help ease your child's pain left over from the cramp.
Dietary deficiencies in calcium, potassium and sodium can also cause leg cramps. Feed your child calcium-rich foods, including milk, yogurt, cheese, navy beans, tofu, almonds and oranges. Include potassium-rich foods in her diet, like bananas, strawberries, Potatoes, tuna, carrots, lettuce and papayas. After a day of hard physical activity, give your child a sports drink to replace lost electrolytes and sodium. This will help prevent leg cramps from occurring.
- The Home Remedies Bible, Timothy Gower, 2006
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