BSIP KOOS / PITA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BSIP KOOS / PITA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Cramp. Silhouette of hands rubbing a leg to relieve the pain of cramp. Cramp is a painful spasm in a muscle caused by excessive and prolonged contraction of the muscle fibres. It often occurs during or immediately after exercise because of a build-up of lactic acid and other chemicals. There may also be small areas of muscle fibre damage causing pain. Cramps can occur due to repetitive movements or awkward posture. Profuse sweating as in fever or exercise causes loss of sodium salts which disrupts muscle cell activity and may cause cramp. Massaging the muscle, as here, may help relieve the problem.
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