When your child complains of pain in the arm or leg muscles it is usually from a muscle cramp or strain. This type of pain is usually not caused by a specific injury. Muscle pain often follows vigorous or excessive exercise (overuse).
There are two main causes of muscle pain.
Muscle cramps occur in a third of all children. During attacks, stretch the painful muscle by pulling the foot and toes upward as far as they will go to break the spasm. Massaging the painful muscle with an ice pack is also effective. Future attacks may be prevented by daily stretching exercises of the heel cords (lean forward at the ankles with the knees straight). Also be sure that your child is getting enough calcium. Milk, dairy products, and calcium-fortified orange juice are good sources of calcium. If your child has heat cramps, drinking extra water and eating salty foods can help.
Put a cold pack or ice bag on the sore muscles for 20 minutes. Repeat this 3 or 4 times a day for 2 days. If the muscles are still stiff on the third day, have your child take a hot bath for 20 minutes and gently exercise the hurt muscle under water. Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen for the pain.
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