Chronic leg pain can affect children in the age group starting from two to fifteen. The reason could be traumatic or non-traumatic. This article provides some information on the health conditions that are responsible for chronic leg pain in them.
Chronic leg pain in a child can be described as one such pain that is bothering him/her for a long time. It may not be a continuous pain and may come and go from time to time. When a child experiences leg pain then the normal walking gets affected and he/she starts limping because of the pain. Those children who are very active tend to be affected by this condition more often. If you find that your child feels the pain after sustaining a minor injury or gets a pain for just few minutes during the night, then it may not require any treatment. In case the pain lasts for more than 3 days, a doctor needs to be consulted. Moreover, any leg pain which is accompanied by fever, swelling, or redness, should be given timely medical attention.
Usually, this condition makes the parents worry as they fear that something is wrong with the child. However, it may not be a serious issue even if your child is experiencing it. Here are some of the main causes that lead to this condition in kids.
Growing Pains: This is a common occurrence among kids in the age group of 5-10 years. Growing pains in the legs is absolutely harmless and is part of the growth process of the child. It is experienced during nighttime and may last for half an hour or so. Every night it may occur at different parts of the leg. The intensity of the pain may increase on those days when the child involves in lots of physical activities. The best part of the growing pain is that it goes in the morning and the child often forgets that he/she had any pain in the previous night. Massaging the leg at the time of pain helps to reduce its intensity.
Injury: Children may injure their legs while playing and may cause leg pain as a result. It can be because of excessive use of the leg muscles during sports activities like running or jumping. It can lead to knee sprain, ankle sprain, or strain in the leg muscles. Usually, this kind of pain goes after 3-4 days. Till then, the child finds it difficult to walk properly and tends to limp. Muscle cramps can also occur during sports activities or physical exercise which can last for few minutes. It can happen if the child is under the heat of the sun for long hours.
Fracture: Bones of small children particularly those in the age group of 2-4 years are not strong enough and are prone to fracture. The bones in the lower section of the leg may get a fracture if the child jumps repeatedly on a hard surface or even due to a simple fall. Furthermore, the child keeps complaining about the pain quite frequently and finds it difficult to walk. Most of the time, these kinds of fractures goes undetected as there is no significant inflammation or redness that are commonly found in other fracture cases.
Legg-Perthes: Children of 3-10 years are mostly affected by this condition. It gives severe leg pain in children which affects their normal movements. It occurs when the supply of blood to the topmost part of the thigh bone gets disrupted. The exact reason behind this problem has not yet been ascertained. As a result, the growth of the thigh bone stops completely. Treatment involving exercises, use of crutches, casts, or bracing, or traction, can resume the blood supply and thereby the normal growth of the thigh bones resumes all over again and the child is relieved from the pain.
Chronic Leg Pain Syndrome: Chronic leg pain could be a symptom of more serious kind of underlying diseases. However, there are other accompanying symptoms that are observed along with the leg pain. Malignant bone tumors can give chronic leg pain. However, fever and weight loss are other signs that can be seen with this.
A form of bone infection known as osteomyelitis is one such problem and is mostly accompanied by fever. When the leg pain is due to some nerve disorder, then pain and numbness of leg can occur together. Rheumatic fever is another serious health condition where chronic leg pain is a symptom. It affects children in between the age of 5 and 15. Juvenile arthritis could be another health condition.
Treatment depends on the underlying condition of the pain. The cause of the pain is diagnosed with the help of X-ray and physical examination. Painkillers, physical therapy, and use of cast are some of the measures taken for pain management. In certain cases, surgery may be required. In other cases, the disease that gives the symptoms of leg pain need to be addressed in order to get relief from the same.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.