Caring for Muscle Cramps & Contusions in Southeastern MA & RI
If you play sports, you’re likely no stranger to injury. Muscle injuries are very common for athletes, and among the most frequent muscle injuries are contusions and cramps. If you often experience muscle cramps or contusions and are wondering what may be causing them, our doctors at Southcoast Health are here for you. Our practices which offer sports medicine services in Fall River, Dartmouth, New Bedford, and Wareham, MA, as well as parts of Rhode Island, provide comprehensive treatment for these common muscle injuries so you can get back to feeling your best as quickly as possible.
What is a Muscle Cramp?
A muscle cramp is an involuntary, forceful contraction of a skeletal muscle. A “charley horse” is an example of a common muscle cramp. Muscle cramps are most likely to affect the calf muscles, hamstrings on the back of the thigh muscles, and quadriceps on the front of the thigh. Most muscle cramps aren’t serious and do not require treatment.
What is a Muscle Contusion?
A muscle contusion is a bruise, and they are the second leading sports injury behind strains. Most muscle contusions are minor, heal quickly, and may not even require athletes to stop their activities. When muscle contusions are severe, they can cause deep tissue damage, and recovery can take months of rest.
What Causes Muscle Cramps & Contusions?
A muscle contusion results from a direct blow to a muscle, such as being hit by a ball, racquet, or another hard object. This force crushes the muscle fibers and connective tissue without breaking the skin, which can result in a painful bruise.
Doctors don’t fully understand what causes a muscle to cramp, but factors that contribute to muscle cramps may include:
- Dehydration and loss of electrolytes
- Inadequate stretching – regular stretching lengthens muscle fibers and helps prevent cramping
- Muscle fatigue
Symptoms of Common Muscle Injuries
Being aware of the symptoms of these common sports injuries is very important so that you can seek treatment (if needed) before the injury worsens and affects your ability to play your sport. Symptoms of a muscle contusion include:
- A lump or knot at the site of the injury
- Limited range of motion
- Skin discoloration
Muscle cramps can last anywhere from seconds to many minutes. Symptoms of a muscle cramp include:
- Muscle hardness
- Pain ranging from mild to excruciating
- Visible muscle distortion or twitching
Treatment for Muscle Cramps & Contusions at Southcoast Health
At Southcoast Health, we will work with you to determine the best way to treat and manage your muscle injury. Muscle contusions generally respond positively to 24 to 48 hours of the RICE method:
- Ice – apply a cold source to the area for 20 minutes at a time
- Elevation above the level of the heart
Your doctor at Southcoast Health may also recommend anti-inflammatory medicine to aid your muscle contusion recovery. For severe contusions, you may need physical therapy to rehabilitate the muscle.
Muscle cramps usually go away on their own. You can help speed relief by:
- Stopping any activity that may have triggered the cramp
- Gently stretching and massaging the muscle until the cramp subsides
- Applying heat to loosen tight muscles
- Applying cold to ease soreness
Comprehensive Sports Injury Relief Near You in MA & RI
Athletes in the Massachusetts and Rhode Island area can trust Southcoast Health to provide effective treatment for all manner of muscle injuries. Our sports medicine specialists provide care and treatment for muscle contusions and cramps for athletes and others in Fall River, Dartmouth, New Bedford, Wareham, MA and parts of Rhode Island, and we will work with you to formulate a personalized care plan. To learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment, please contact us today.