Myositis Ossificans

Myositis ossificans

Myositis ossificans can occur 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.

Myositis ossificans symptoms

  • Myositis ossificans develops some time after a contusion or blow to a muscle usually in the thigh.
  • Symptoms 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 periosteum 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 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.
This article has been written with reference to the bibliography.
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