Exercise-associated muscle cramps (EAMCs) are common and frustrating for athletes and the physically active. We critically appraised the EAMC literature to provide evidence-based treatment and prevention recommendations. Although the pathophysiology of EAMCs appears controversial, recent evidence suggests that EAMCs are due to a confluence of unique intrinsic and extrinsic factors rather than a singular cause. The treatment of acute EAMCs continues to include self-applied or clinician-guided gentle static stretching until symptoms abate. Once the painful EAMCs are alleviated, the clinician can continue treatment on the sidelines by focusing on patient-specific risk factors that may have contributed to the onset of EAMCs. For EAMC prevention, clinicians should obtain a thorough medical history and then identify any unique risk factors. Individualizing EAMC prevention strategies will likely be more effective than generalized advice (eg, drink more fluids).
Keywords: best practice; dehydration; electrolytes; fatigue; risk factors.
© by the National Athletic Trainers' Association, Inc.