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What is muscle contracture?
A contracture is a spontaneous, prolonged and involuntary contraction of one or more skeletal muscles, without damage to muscle fibers. If the contracture is transient, it is called a cramp , but in any case, for the duration of the attack, the muscle is hard to the palpation and painful.
The treatments include: rest and application of cold, massages and physiotherapy. If the contracture occurred during a major sporting effort, stopping sport for 4 to 7 days is essential.
As soon as the first muscle cramp appears, make sure that you drink enough water, even if it is not hot (1 to 1.5 liters of water in addition to the drinks at meals) .
Muscle cramp is a sudden, involuntary, painful contraction of muscles. It can occur during an effort, just after it, but also at rest. It is a very intense muscle spasm that persists. It is located on one or more muscles which stiffen at the time of the cramp.
It occurs suddenly, lasts a few seconds or minutes and then disappears without any consequences. Most often the cramp has no specific cause. However, it can be favored by a lack of warm-up during a sports event or a bad stretching afterwards, a lack of hydration, a lack of trace elements or minerals, certain pathologies, stress, etc. It is possible to relieve your muscles by stretching them; it is even better to combine this stretch with a massage with essential oils.
Nighttime leg cramps usually occur in the calf and cause plantar flexion of the foot and toes.
Other conditions can mimic cramps :
- Dystonias can cause muscle spasm, but symptoms are usually more sustained and recurring and involve muscles other than those affected by the typical leg cramps (neck, hand, face, muscles of the whole body)
- Tetany can cause muscle spasms, but the spasms are usually more sustained (often with twitching); it is usually bilateral and diffuse, but isolated carpopedal spasm may occur
- Stress muscle ischemia in peripheral arterial disease (claudication) can cause calf pain, but this pain is due to insufficient muscle blood flow and the muscles do not contract as in cramps
- Illusionary cramps are cramping sensations in the absence of muscle contraction or ischemia
The most common leg cramps are :
- Benign idiopathic leg cramps (leg cramps without a causative disorder, usually nocturnal)
- Muscle cramps associated with exertion (cramps during or immediately after exertion)
Although almost anyone can have muscle cramps at some time, there are certain factors that increase the risk and severity of cramps.
They include the following :
- Tight calf muscles (from lack of stretching, inactivity or sometimes chronic leg edema)
- Electrolyte abnormalities (low body potassium or magnesium levels)
- Neurological or metabolic disorders
- Some toxins can also cause muscle cramps
The assessment of muscle cramps focuses on identifying what can be treated. In many cases, a disorder contributing to cramping has already been diagnosed or is causing other symptoms that are more bothersome than cramping .