Although exercise-associated muscle cramping is a common complaint among athletes, it remains poorly understood and there is a lack of good quality scientific evidence to guide management. This article presents the current understanding of this complex condition.
Exercise-associated muscle cramping (EAMC) is a common condition that requires medical attention during sporting events. It is common among athletes who participate in long-distance endurance events, such as triathlon and marathon or ultra-marathon distance running, and it is documented in many other sports, including basketball, the various football codes, tennis, cricket and cycling. The prevalence of EAMC has been reported for triathletes (67%), marathon runners (between 30% and 50%), rugby players (52%) and cyclists (60%). Despite the high prevalence of EAMC, its risk factors, pathophysiology, treatment and prevention are not completely understood.