Member Case Study: Severe Quadricep Cramping

author : AMSSM
comments : 1

Member Question from hhpvbtri

 

My issue is severe cramps in my quad muscles (fully locked muscles that bring me to tears at times). It is not the typical cramping problem that kicks in during a workout due to dehydration or whatever else but rather before I even start or with just a little movement. I have had 4 - 5 episodes since early spring. Some of the episodes have lasted an entire week where even trying to go for a walk triggers them. In all cases I believe I was well hydrated and not overtrained.

 

I have yet to find a pattern except that most episodes initiate the morning of a race or during a race. I'm beginning to think this is mental since I've tried extra electrolytes, massage, stretching, ice. I just completed my first Oly last weekend and just raced through the leg cramps. This time my legs didn't completely lock up and I was determined not to drop out of another race. Only other info is for this race, they cramped through the swim, stopped cramping on the bike and then kicked back in full force for the run. Any ideas?

 

Answer from Suzanne Hecht, MD, CAQ

Member AMSSM

 

Thanks for your interesting question regarding quadriceps cramping. It sounds like a frustrating situation and one without a readily apparent solution. I commend your efforts at trying to prevent and alleviate this problem thus far. At this point, my suggestion would be to see a Sports Medicine Physician who can discuss this problem with you in greater detail and also examine you. This type of physician will be able to ask you directed questions which may help uncover the cause of this cramping or direct further investigations such as a laboratory evaluation, imaging studies, muscle biopsy, or biomechanical assessment. For example, the culprit may be a certain class of medications that is used to lower cholesterol. This type of medication can cause muscle inflammation and irritation. Other thoughts that crossed my mind, based on reading your question, are that this could be a stress injury to the femurs or even a problem with your vascular system.


It would be helpful if you try to bring out your symptoms immediately prior to seeing a Sports Medicine Physician. That will allow the physician to examine you while you are having symptoms. Another option would be to run on a treadmill in the physician’s office or go out for a run and then immediately return to the clinic once you have developed symptoms. Sometimes examining you at rest without symptoms isn’t very enlightening.


If you are having trouble locating a Sports Medicine Physician in your community, you can go to the following link www.amssm.org and search for a Sports Medicine Physician in your area. Best of luck with finding a solution for this difficult problem.

Suzanne Hecht, MD, CAQ
Assistant Professor
University of Minnesota
Dept of Family Medicine & Community Health
Division of Sports Medicine
Team Physician; University of Minnesota Athletics

Rating

Click on star to vote
10816 Total Views  |  156 Views last 30 days  |  37 Views last 7 days
date: December 19, 2008

Author


AMSSM

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

FIND A SPORTS MEDICINE DOCTOR

Author

avatarAMSSM

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

FIND A SPORTS MEDICINE DOCTOR

View all 354 articles