Myositis Ossificans

Myositis ossificans

Myositis ossificans occurs as a complication of not treating a contusion correctly. It involves a small growth of bone within the muscle and usually occurs a while after the original injury.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Chaminda Goonetilleke, 9th Feb. 2022.

Myositis ossificans symptoms

Symptoms of Myositis ossificans develop some time after a contusion or blow to a muscle and consist of:

  • Gradual onset pain in the muscle, particularly during exercise.
  • Restricted range of movement in the injured leg.
  • You may feel a hard lump deep in the muscle.
  • An X-ray can confirm the diagnosis by showing bone growth within the muscle. Sometimes, this growth may be mistaken for a tumour.

What is Myositis Ossificans?

Myositis ossificans is a small bone growth within the muscle, which occurs as a complication of a severe contusion. A contusion is an injury to muscle caused by direct impact or trauma.

Impact to the muscle crushes it against bone, also causing damage to the sheath (periosteum) surrounding the bone. If it is neglected then your body mistakenly sends new bone cells to repair the damgage. As a result, a small part of the muscle calcifies and turns to bone.

The bone grows 2 to 4 weeks after the initial injury and be mature bone within 3 to 6 months.


Common 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. This may increase internal bleeding and prevent healing.

Returning too soon to training after exercise is also a cause of myositis ossificans.


If you suspect you have myositis ossificans then seek professional advice from a sports injury specialist or doctor as soon as possible.

Conservative treatment (without surgery) is usually recommended first. Rest is most important. It may be necessary to immobilise the affected limb for 3 or 4 weeks. This may give your body time 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.

Related articles

  • Thigh contusion

    A thigh contusion is also known as a dead leg or charley horse. It is caused by direct trauma or impact to the muscle, crushing…

  • Thigh strain exercises

    Thigh strain rehabilitation exercises should include both stretching and strengthening exercises, and should only be done pain-free after the initial acute phase has passed. Medically…

  • Massage contraindications

    Massage contraindications are injuries and conditions where using massage could be harmful or dangerous. Your therapist should always check to see if any apply to…

  • Thigh pain

    Here we explain the more common, and less common causes of groin and thigh pain. Medically reviewed by Dr. Chaminda Goonetilleke, 9th Feb. 2022. Select…

  • Benefits of massage

    Sports massage can play an important part in the life of any sportsman or woman whether they are injured or not. Massage has a number…

  • Sports massage

    Sports massage is a popular form of treatment and prevention of soft tissue sports injuries. We demonstrate simple sports massage techniques and explain the benefits,…

  • Leg contusion & bruising

    A calf contusion is caused by a direct impact or trauma to a muscle and can range from mild to severe. Symptoms of a calf…

Scroll to Top