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The term myositis is sometimes rathe loosely applied to any painful condition or muscle, although true inflammatory change may be absent. It is used incorrectly as a label for the muscular disabilities of gout and rheumatism.
This term is derived from two Greek words meaning muscle and inflammation. Inflammatory conditions of muscle tissue are not very common; far more usually it is the tendinous attachments which suffer, but occasionally a true muscle inflammation occurs.
One type of this is the suppurative form due to local or rapidly spreading infection with virulent germs such as those of erysipelas or gas gangrene. The affected muscle swells, softens and becomes infiltrated with matter, for which the only relief is immediate and active surgical interference. In the course of typhoid fever, and occasionally as a complication of influenza, inflammatory softening of large muscles, especially of the abdominal wall, takes place and may lead to partial or complete rupture.
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A rare form of muscle inflammation, known as myositis ossificans, is sometimes seen. Two forms are recognized. The more common affects single muscles, or groups of muscles and is the result of repeated or severe injuries. Of this nature is the "rider's bone," which forms in the insertion of the inner muscles of the thigh at the crutch as a consequence of long-continued pressure and friction against the saddle. Another local form of this condition is sometimes seen in the neighbourhood of a bad fracture of bone as a result of invasion of the soft tissues by bone-forming cells during the process of repair. Generalised myositis ossificans is fortunately very rare; its cause is unknown and its progress slow but uninterrupted; victims of this condition gradually become stiff and rigid throughout their whole body from a gradual conversion of the whole of their muscles into bone.
Myositis fibrosa is still another very rare disability of muscle. In this condition the muscles lose their contractile power and become replaced, slowly but extensively, by fibrous tissue, which by its gradual contractim produces crippling and immobility.