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Caring for Muscle Contusions & Cramps in Southeastern MA & RI

A muscle contusion is a bruise. 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.

A muscle cramp is an involuntary, forceful contraction of a skeletal muscle. A “charley horse” is a common example. Muscle cramps are most likely to affect calf muscles, hamstrings on the back of the thigh and quadriceps on the front of the thigh. Most muscle cramps aren’t serious.

Do you often have muscle cramps or contusions? Find out what is causing them and receive treatment for muscle cramps and contusions in Fall River, New Bedford, Wareham, MA or nearby at a Southcoast Health physician practice.

What Causes Muscle Cramps & Contusions?

A muscle contusion results from a direct blow to a muscle, such as being hit by a ball, a racquet or other hard object. The force crushes the muscle fibers and connective tissue without breaking the skin.

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
  • Muscle fatigue

Common Symptoms

Symptoms of a muscle contusion include:

  • A lump or knot at the injury
  • Limited range of motion
  • Pain
  • Skin discoloration
  • Swelling

Muscle cramps can last for seconds or many minutes and symptoms include:

  • Muscle hardness
  • Pain ranging from mild to excruciating
  • Visible muscle distortion or twitching

Treating Muscle Cramps & Contusions at Southcoast Health

Muscle contusions generally respond to 24 to 48 hours of RICE:

  • Rest
  • Ice using cold packs for 20 minutes at a time
  • Elevation above the level of the heart

Your doctor at Southcoast Health may also recommend anti-inflammatory medicine. 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

Southcoast Health provides 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.