A sudden, uncoordinated, prolonged spasm in a muscle, causing it to become taut and excruciatingly painful. Cramps commonly occur in the calf, thigh, and hip muscles after strenuous exercise. As yet, there is no complete explanation for their development. Suggested causes include muscle damage, dehydration, low blood-glucose levels, and restriction of blood supply causing ischaemia. Risk of cramps during exercise is increased by poor condition, wearing low-heel shoes, and not taking sufficient fluid or electrolytes. Cramps are relieved by gentle, static stretching, massage, and rest. See also caecal slap syndrome, heat cramps, rigor complex.
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Subjects: Sports and Exercise Medicine.