Myositis Ossificans

Myositis Ossificans

Myositis ossificans can occur as a complication of not treating a contusion correctly and involves a small growth of bone within the muscle.

Myositis ossificans symptoms

Myositis ossificans develops some time after a contusion or blow to a muscle usually in the thigh. Symptoms of Myositis ossificans include pain in the muscle particularly during exercise. The athlete will have a restricted range of movement in the leg and a hard lump may be felt deep in the muscle. An X-ray can confirm the diagnosis and show bone growth.

What is Myositis Ossificans?

If a bad muscle strain or contusion is neglected then it is possible myositis ossificans can occur. It is usually as a result of impact which causes damage to the sheath that surrounds a bone called the periostium as well as to the muscle.

Bone will grow within the muscle, called calcification which is painful. The bone will grow 2 to 4 weeks after the injury and be mature bone within 3 to 6 months.

Common myositis ossificans causes include failing to apply cold therapy and compression immediately after the injury or applying heat too soon. Ice will help reduce pain, inflammation and swelling and encourage the injured muscle to heal. Having intensive physiotherapy or massage too soon after the injury which may increase internal bleeding and prevent healing. Returning too soon to training after exercise is also a cause of myositis ossificans.

Myositis ossificans treatment 

If you suspect you have myositis ossificans then seek professional advice from a sports injury specialist or doctor as soon as possible. They will advice conservative treatment initially which will include rest, possible immobilization of the affected limb for 3 or 4 weeks. This may give time for the body to reabsorb the calcification.

An X-ray of the muscle can be done to see when it is safe to start rehabilitation and strengthening exercises. In particularly severe cases surgery can be performed to remove the bone growth.

Expert Interview

Susan Findlay of the North London School of Sports Massage talks about the use of sports massage Myositis Ossificans.

There is debate surrounding the use of sports massage treatment for myositis ossificans. It can definately be useful in the early stages of a contusion as it can flush out the area and prevent calcification. Once a calcification has formed, there isn't a lot massage can do. If massage is performed then it must be done very lightly and not within the first 24 hours as it may increase bleeding and make the injury worse.

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