Muscle Contractures After Your Routine

Muscle contractures are discomforts that frequently afflict athletes. Read the following article and discover everything you need to know to prevent them.
Muscle Contractures After Your Routine

Last update: 06 April, 2019

The muscles of the body contract and relax to facilitate any type of movement. When a muscle tenses up or shortens, it can produce joint stiffness, which consequently, reduces its normal range of motion. When this happens, the famous muscle contractures occur.

Muscle contractures are very common after a training routine. Generally, t hey’re accompanied by pain or stiffness. They’re not injuries that affect the muscle itself; actually, they’re temporary deformities that reduce joint flexibility and the normal range of motion of the affected area.

Broadly speaking, a muscle contracture is a stretching or shortening of the muscles. It can occur in any joint that undergoes rigidity. In most cases, rest will be sufficient for its disappearance, although your doctor may also prescribe medications to reduce inflammation and pain.

Muscle contractures are a defense mechanism that prevents excessive physical effort from causing permanent damage. They achieve this task by inhibiting the joints from moving freely.

For example, a contracture in the knee can make it painful an difficult to straighten the leg. Hence, this can make it impossible for someone to walk properly and support one’s weight on that limb. Over time, the movement can be even more limited and painful.

What are the causes of muscle contractures?

Up next, let’s review what causes muscle contractures:

1. Intense physical exercise

The first trigger of muscle contractures is intense physical exercise. In fact, sudden movements or poorly executed exercises contribute to the appearance of contractures.

Intense physical exercise can cause muscle contractures.

2. Not warming up can cause muscle contractures

Secondly, you should know that muscle contractures are more likely to happen if you don’t warm up properly before starting physical exercise sessions. Therefore, it’s advisable to perform a good warm-up to avoid any type of injury and reduce the risk.

3. Injuries

Injuries such as fractures, burns, or any problem that causes the joints to lose their range of partial movement can generate contractures. For example, bone fractures, torn ligaments, or tendon injury may require placing the affected area in a cast for several weeks. This reduces the mobility of the joints, which can cause contractures.

Likewise, severe burns can prevent a normal range of movement in the joints, which can also generate the same results.

4. Bad posture habits

In addition to everything that we previously mentioned, we recommend avoiding bad posture in your daily life; either while watching television or when working in the office. Poor posture can cause forced muscle contractions in a continuous manner.

This discomfort ends up causing muscle contractures. Thus, try to adopt a good posture while using materials that guarantee these principles, such as firm and proper chairs or sofas.

Tips for treating muscle contractures

Contractures are very common injuries in athletes and they’re normally treated with exercise. Physiotherapists usually design certain exercises with the purpose of helping the joints move without pain. In most cases, the patients can perform these by themselves.

Stretching is the main intervention that physiotherapists use for treating and preventing contractures. On the other hand, massages are the most effective natural method to treat these muscular complications.

Massages are an effective method for treating muscle contractures.

In extreme cases, however, a doctor can perform surgery to release contractures and alleviate pain, but this won’t help the muscles since they’re already weak.

Moreover, you should know that muscle contractures don’t respond to an exact pattern in terms of recovery times. Everything depends on the overload and on each person.

As you may have concluded, muscle contractures are the way that the body communicates that you’ve gone too far, due to an effort that demands rest to recover. Take into consideration that moving your muscles as often as possible, especially bending your joints, is one of the best ways to prevent muscle contractures.

Finally, don’t forget that preventing muscle contractures is easier than treating them. Therefore, it’s better to learn to avoid the causes that can lead to tensing of joints and muscles to such an extent.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.