Heat cramps

Background

  • Occurs to those who sweat profusely and replace fluid losses with water
    • May occur during exercise, but more common during rest several hours later
  • Typically does not involve enough muscle mass to cause rhabdomyolysis[1]

Clinical Features

  • Painful, involuntary, spasmodic contractions of skeletal muscles[2]
    • Usually affects calves, may involve thighs and shoulders

Differential Diagnosis

Environmental heat diagnoses

Evaluation

  • Clinical diagnosis

Management

  • Self-limited
  • Pain is difficult to treat
    • Often does not respond to opioids alone
  • Hydration
    • Mild symptoms: sports drinks
    • Severe symptoms: IV normal saline

Disposition

  • Usually outpatient

See Also

References

  1. Waters T. Heat Emergencies In: Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 7th ed. McGraw Hill Medical. 2011: 1339-1344
  2. Waters T. Heat Emergencies In: Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 7th ed. McGraw Hill Medical. 2011: 1339-1344