Certified Athletic Trainers' Perceptions of Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context:

Despite recent evidence to suggest that exercise-associated muscle cramps (EAMC) might be primarily of neuromuscular origin, the authors surmise that most information available to certified athletic trainers (ATCs) emphasizes the role of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance in EAMC.

Objective:

To investigate ATCs' perceptions of EAMC.

Design:

7-question, Web-based, descriptive, cross-sectional survey.

Subjects:

997 ATCs.

Main Outcome Measures:

Responses to 7 questions regarding the cause, treatment, and prevention of EAMC.

Results:

Responders indicated humidity, temperature, training, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalance as causative factors of EAMC. Fluid replacement and stretching the involved muscle were identified as very successful in treating and preventing EAMC. Proper nutrition and electrolyte replacement were also perceived as extremely successful prevention strategies.

Conclusions:

ATCs' perceptions of the cause, treatment, and prevention of EAMC are primarily centered on dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Other prominent ideas concerning EAMC should be implemented in athletic training education.

Stone and Stemmans are with the Sports Injury Research Laboratory, and Edwards, the Human Performance Laboratory, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN 47809. Ingersoll and Palmieri are with the Sports Medicine/Athletic Training Laboratory, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903. Krause is with the Athletic Training Dept, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02118.