Many times children complain of pain in their legs, especially after routine age-appropriate activities. Growth pains among children occur often and it is important to gain an insight into it while also dispelling the varied notions that parents usually have.
Firstly, it is important to know what growth pain is. Growth pains are the pains experienced by children of growing age, generally between 3 to 10 years. However, it is a treatable condition.
Furthermore, growth pain is a diagnosis of exclusion, which means, only when all the common pathologies that could happen to the child as per his/her age have been excluded can he/she be diagnosed to be suffering from growth pains.
As with all other medical conditions, it is very important to note down the history. The parents usually come into the clinic or hospital with complaints that their child feels pain in the legs as the day ends. However, these kids start their day normally, without any pain. They are usually able to perform various physical activities as per their age. Even their physical examinations are almost always normal and so are their hematological parameters. There are various conditions specific to the growing age like bone infections, nutritional deficiencies and some benign lesions of long bones, which present with similar symptoms as growth pains. Hence, there is a need for a thorough clinical examination.
Though the etiology of growth pains is not clear, it is known that when children grow there is a differential growth rate in the muscles and bones, which means that the bones grow at a higher rate than muscles. This causes muscular shortening leading to stretching of muscles, which in turn becomes painful. Thus, physiotherapy plays a very important role in alleviating the symptoms of growth pains.
But, as we know, not all the children suffer from growth pains implying there are some other causative factors which are poorly understood. There is a muscular fatigue theory which says that muscle fatigue happens due to physical activities in children which also explains growth pains to some extent.
The red flag signs that should ring a bell and demand further investigations are:
1 if your child wakes up in the middle of the night and/or is unable to sleep properly due to pain.
2 if the pain is constantly present throughout the day and the child is unable to perform physical activities as per his/her age which he/she was doing before.
3 if there is a decrease of more than 10% of weight in the last 3 months.
These above findings warrant an immediate visit to a pediatric orthopedic as early as possible.
As far as treatment is concerned, if everything else is ruled out and the child has been labeled as having growth pains, be rest assured that the child will grow out of it after some time. The importance of physiotherapy, which includes both muscle stretching and strengthening, in these situations simply cannot be overstated. Meanwhile, giving anti-inflammatory medicines, hot fomentations and massage to the sore muscles during the period of pain always.
A blood clot in the leg is termed as Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT. This blood clot can be fatal because it usually blocks the passage of blood to the heart by damaging the one way valves of the veins. This can also reach other organs like the lungs in which situation the case becomes complicated and may also lead to death. There are various ways of preventing the onset of these clots. Follow these points to know more.
* Blood Thinners: Prolonged hospital stay and a major surgery like joint replacement can lead to blood clots in the legs or DVT. Therefore, it is imperative to ask your doctor about a prescription for blood thinners which can help in better blood flow despite minimal motion in the legs or stiffness.
* Compressions Stockings: If you have been in the hospital for a prolonged period or suffering from leg paralysis, then the risk of blood clots is greater than most others. You can make use of compression stockings which will help in preventing clots by holding the area tight so that the blood is forced to pump and flow. These should be used every time you are admitted to the hospital.
* Exercise: It is important to keep moving in case you are travelling in a long flight that is over four hours long. Also, you can try certain mild exercises in case you have a long standing condition of pain or cramping in the leg muscles and joints. From simple toe flexes to muscle strengthening exercises like the heel or towel hook, you can ensure that the tightening action makes your muscle firm so that the blood clots do not have a chance to form. You may also need to lose weight in case you are overweight so that you can alleviate the risk of these clots.
* Water: Staying hydrated is something that we all need to follow in any case, but it is especially important if you are risk of developing blood clots in the legs. Drinking plenty of fluids is a natural way of thinning the blood, especially if you have been in bed or travelling for prolonged periods.
* Loose Fitting Clothing: You may want to wear loose fitting clothing when you are travelling or in the hospital so that you do not end up unnecessarily compressing an area in a way that will be detrimental for the blood flow there. Wearing loose clothing ensures that the blood flow carries on as per its normal routine without any blockages.
It is important to remember the above points so that you keep blood clots in the legs at bay.