Everyone have to experience a muscle cramp at some point in time – from professional athletes to physically active persons. A muscle cramp is a sudden, intense pain that results in an inability to move an area of your body. It can occur at any time of the day and while you are performing any activity, be it playing sports or even at the time you are sleeping.

The most prominent symptoms of a cramp is a forcible, involuntary contracting of the muscle that does not relax for a period from a few seconds to up to 15 minutes. Other common symptoms include skin that is hard to the touch or an apparent twitched in the affected area. Muscles that are prone to cramps are those under your voluntary control as well as those that are part of a network of two joints, as follows:

Back and front of thigh
Hands and feet
Rib cage
While the precise cause of muscle cramps is yet unknown, studies show that probable causes include poor conditioning prior to exercise, muscle fatigue, strenuous activities in high temperatures, dehydration, and depleted levels of the body’s essential salts and minerals. Individuals most prone to muscle cramps are marathon runners, triathletes, and other endurance athletes, as well as older people who experience natural muscle loss and engage in an arduous physical activity.

Most muscle cramps are not a cause for concern and will typically resolve on their own with adequate rest and heat/cold application. However, muscle cramps that are frequent and/or severe could be a sign of a serious health condition, in which case it is essential to see your local orthopedic specialist as soon as possible for a personalized treatment plan.

Remember: In most cases, muscle cramps are absolutely normal, and prevention and treatment are easy! If you do have any concerns about the severity or frequency of your muscle cramps, please do not hesitate to contact Coastal Orthopedics Sports Medicine & Pain Management and speak with one of our Sarasota/Bradenton sports medicine physicians.

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