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A dead leg or charley horse is a bruise or contusion caused by a sharp impact with a muscle which is usually crushed against the thigh bone. We explain the injury, the symptoms and treatment options available.
Although a dead leg or charlie horse can often seem a minor injury it is important the correct diagnosis is made. If you try to exercise on a bad intramuscular injury you can prevent healing or even cause permanent damage. If heat or massage is applied too early Myositis Ossificans or bone forming within the muscle.
This type of injury is very common in contact sports. An impact to the muscles can cause more damage than you might expect and should be treated with respect. The muscle is crushed against the bone. If not treated correctly or if treated too aggressively then Myositis Ossificans may occur. There are two types of contusion:
Intramuscular which is a tearing of the muscle within the sheath that surrounds it. This means that the initial bleeding may stop early (within hours) because of increased pressure within the muscle however the fluid is unable to escape as the muscle sheath prevents it. The result is considerable loss of function and pain which can take days or weeks to recover. You are not likely to see any bruising come out with this type - especially in the early stages.
Intermuscular which is a tearing of the muscle and part of the sheath surrounding it. This means that the initial bleeding will take longer to stop especially if you do not ice it. However recovery is often faster than intramuscular as the blood and fluids can flow away from the site of injury. You are more likely to see bruising come out with this one.
You might get swelling or bruising. Restricted movement is not uncommon.
After two to three days check: