Myositis ossificans can occur as a complication of not treating a contusion correctly. It involves a small growth of bone within the muscle. We look at the symptoms, explain what myositis ossificans is and what treatment options are available.
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 you have a bad muscle strain or contusion (dead leg) and it is neglected then you could be unlucky enough to get Myositis Ossificans. It is usually as a result of impact which causes damage to the sheath that surrounds a bone (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:
- Not applying cold therapy and compression immediately after the injury. This will help reduce pain, inflammation and swelling and encourage the injured muscle to heal.
- Having intensive physiotherapy or massage too soon after the injury. Massage may increase internal bleeding and prevent healing.
- Returning too soon to training after exercise.
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.
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