Calcium Deposits in the Muscles (Myositis Ossificans)

What is myositis ossificans?

Myositis ossificans is an irritation and swelling of a muscle caused by calcium deposits in the muscle.

What is the cause?

The exact cause of myositis ossificans is not known. It usually happens after an injury to a large muscle. The muscles most often affected are the thigh muscle and upper arm muscle. The injury usually results from a hit to the muscle. For example, it may happen after a soccer player is kicked in the thigh or a football player is hit in the arm. When you have a deep bruise that bleeds a lot into the muscle, deposits of calcium may form in the muscle tissue as the bruise heals. This may happen over several months.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may include:

  • A muscle that feels hard or is larger than usual
  • Pain, although usually it doesn’t hurt
  • Trouble moving your arm or leg

How is it diagnosed?

Your provider will ask about your symptoms, activities, and medical history and examine you. You may have tests such as X-rays or other scans.

How is it treated?

Usually treatment is not needed and muscle strength and movement return to normal within a few months to a year.

In some cases large areas of calcium deposits in the muscles may be removed with surgery.

How can I take care of myself?

  • Follow your provider’s instructions for doing exercises to help you recover. Your provider may prescribe physical therapy.
  • Take nonprescription pain medicine, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Read the label and take as directed. Unless recommended by your healthcare provider, you should not take these medicines for more than 10 days.
    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin, may cause stomach bleeding and other problems. These risks increase with age.
    • Acetaminophen may cause liver damage or other problems. Unless recommended by your provider, don’t take more than 3000 milligrams (mg) in 24 hours. To make sure you don’t take too much, check other medicines you take to see if they also contain acetaminophen. Ask your provider if you need to avoid drinking alcohol while taking this medicine.

How can I help prevent myositis ossificans?

Most bruises, which can later cause myositis ossificans, happen from hits that cannot be easily prevented. However, doing rehab exercises after an injury to get your range of motion back may help prevent myositis ossificans. Also follow safety rules and use any protective equipment recommended for your work or sport.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-10-21
Last reviewed: 2013-07-19
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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