Most children who experience leg cramps are linked with periods of rapid growth. If the leg cramps disrupt with sleep or daily activities, a doctor must be consulted.
Common causes of leg cramps
- Overexertion – engaging in high-impact activities such as jumping and running or activities that the child is not accustomed to can lead to leg cramps. The muscle fibers produce lactic acid as a waste product after activity and microscopic tearing can occur if the fibers are strained. Warm-up and stretching with proper cooling down can lessen the effects.
- Dehydration – excessive sweating can lead to an imbalance in the electrolytes and disrupted control of the body temperature which leads to abnormal muscle response. Due to this, it is vital to drink more fluids especially during activity and if the weather is warm.
- Electrolyte imbalance – magnesium, sodium, calcium and potassium are essential in conveying messages throughout the body and assist with cellular function. If there is an imbalance due to poor nutrition or other health issues, the signals are disrupted, and legs cramps can occur.
- Rapid growth – children between 16-18 are likely to experience leg cramps since these are times when the bones develop, and skeletal alignment is altered. This requires the muscles to grow, stretch and accommodate the body changes.
- Alignment of the foot and leg – children with flat feet or other structural issues of the leg might end up with leg cramps due to the imbalanced work load on the leg muscles.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on leg cramps in children is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize the signs and how it is managed by taking a standard first aid course with Ottawa First Aid.