Continuing Education Activity

Muscle cramps result in continuous, involuntary, painful, and localized contraction of an entire muscle group, individual single muscle, or select muscle fibers. Generally, the cramp can last from minutes to a few seconds for idiopathic or known causes with healthy subjects or in the presence of diseases. Palpating the muscle area of the cramp will reveal a knot. Exercise-associated muscle cramps are the most frequent condition requiring medical/therapeutic intervention during sports. The specific etiology is not well understood and possible causes depend on the physiological or pathological situation in which the cramps appear. It is important to note that a painful contraction that is limited to a specific area does not mean that the cause of the onset of the cramp is necessarily local. This activity highlights the importance of collaboration and communication among the interprofessional team members to improve outcomes for patients suffering from muscle cramps.

Objectives:

Describe the diagnostic approach for evaluating a patient who presents with muscle cramping.
Review some of the key differentials that must be considered when evaluating a patient presenting with what appears to be muscle cramping.
Outline the various management strategies that can be employed for a patient with muscle cramps.
Summarize the importance of collaboration and communication among the interprofessional team members to improve outcomes for patients suffering from muscle cramps.

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