How To Get Rid Of Charley Horse In Foot? (Solution)

Foot Cramp Treatment

  1. If you’re sitting or lying down, stand up and put weight on your cramping foot.
  2. Actively lift your foot and toes, pulling them up toward your nose.
  3. Rub your muscle gently as you stretch it.
  4. If ice is not working, put heat on the cramped muscle with a warm towel or heating pad.

What causes Charlie horses in feet?

Overuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle strain or simply holding a position for a prolonged period can cause a muscle cramp. In many cases, however, the cause isn’t known. Although most muscle cramps are harmless, some may be related to an underlying medical condition, such as: Inadequate blood supply.

How do you stop a charlie horse in your foot?

Charley Horse Prevention

  1. Eat more foods high in vitamins and magnesium.
  2. Stay hydrated.
  3. Stretch daily and before exercise.
  4. Wear comfortable shoes.
  5. Limit how much alcohol you drink.
  6. Ramp up your exercise slowly rather than all at once.
  7. Don’t exercise right after you eat.
  8. Don’t smoke.

What deficiency causes Charlie horses?

A mineral deficiency or an imbalance of electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, and sodium is also likely to increase one’s odds of getting a charley horse. Electrolytes are certain minerals that play an important role in muscle function.

Is it possible to get Charlie Horse in foot?

You’re sound asleep, and then, without warning, you wake up with a paralyzing stiffness in your calf or foot. Whether you call it a foot or leg cramp (aka “charley horse”), it’s a common, somewhat mysterious pain that happens when a muscle gets involuntarily stiff and can’t relax.

Do bananas help charley horses?

You probably know that bananas are a good source of potassium. But they’ll also give you magnesium and calcium. That’s three out of four nutrients you need to ease muscle cramps tucked under that yellow peel. No wonder bananas are a popular, quick choice for cramp relief.

How do I stop foot cramps at night?

Some simple things you might keep you from getting cramps:

  1. Stretch during the day and before bed. Focus on your calf and foot muscles.
  2. Drink plenty of water.
  3. Move around during the day to exercise your feet and legs.
  4. Wear comfortable, supportive shoes.
  5. Sleep under loose covers, especially if you sleep on your back.

What is the fastest way to get rid of a foot cramp?

Foot Cramp Treatment

  1. If you’re sitting or lying down, stand up and put weight on your cramping foot.
  2. Actively lift your foot and toes, pulling them up toward your nose.
  3. Rub your muscle gently as you stretch it.
  4. If ice is not working, put heat on the cramped muscle with a warm towel or heating pad.

Why are charley horses so painful?

The extreme pain comes from the continued contraction. “The contraction goes beyond what you want to do,” said Porter. “The muscle fatigues, it starts hurting, you say, ‘all right stop,’ but it’s doing it on its own — it’s not your idea, it’s an involuntary action.”

What vitamin is good for foot cramps?

Targeting the Cause of Cramps Essential vitamins you need in balanced levels in your diet in order to avoid foot cramps include Vitamin B6, D, and E; potassium; calcium; and magnesium.

What’s the difference between a Charlie horse and a cramp?

A sustained muscle spasm is called a muscle cramp. Leg muscles, especially the quadriceps (thigh), hamstrings (back of thigh), and gastrocnemius (calves), are most likely to cramp, but any skeletal muscle in the body can cramp. A “charley horse” is another name for a muscle cramp.

Why is it called charley horse?

We know that the term charley horse originated when American baseball players were describing the cramps. Possibly, the players named the painful cramps in reference to a lame horse named Charley that worked at the Chicago White Sox playing field in the late 1800s.

What can I drink for leg cramps?

Drink Water Dehydration often plays a part in muscle cramps, so drinking enough water throughout the day can help keep them at bay. Drinking fluids while you have a cramp helps the muscles contract and relax. When you keep hydrated, your muscle cells also stay hydrated and are less irritable or uncomfortable.

What causes muscle spasms in foot?

Cramps or spasms in the muscles often have no clear cause. Possible causes of hand or foot spasms include: Abnormal levels of electrolytes, or minerals, in the body. Brain disorders, such as Parkinson disease, multiple sclerosis, dystonia, and Huntington disease.

Charley Horse

Charley horse (also known as Acharley) is a muscle spasm, which occurs when a muscle contracts up on its own without any external stimulus. Muscle cramps can occur anywhere on your body at any time. They’re rather frequent in the legs.

Charley Horse Causes

Among the things that might set off a charley horse are:

  • Excessive muscular contractions due to poor blood supply Notstretchingenough
  • Involvement in physical activities in hot heat
  • Dehydration
  • A deficiency in magnesium and/or potassium in your diet A spinal cord injury or a pinched nerve in your neck or back are examples of such problems. Diabetic nephropathy

Muscle cramps are also a side effect of various medications, such as those listed below:

  • Diuretics (often known as “water pills”) are medications that remove fluid from your body, such as furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide), and others. It is used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Donepezil (Aricept) is a medication. Neostigmine (Prostigmine), which is used to treat myasthenia gravis
  • Nifedipine (Procardia), which is used to treat angina and excessive blood pressure
  • And other medications. Raloxifene (Evista), a drug used to treat osteoporosis. Medications for asthma, include terbutaline (Brethine) and albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin)
  • Tolcapone (Tasmar), which is used to treat Parkinson’s disease. cholesterol-lowering statins such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor), or simvastatin (Zocor)
  • Statins for diabetes
  • Statins for high blood pressure

Charley Horse Risk Factors

Certain persons are more prone to getting charley horses than others:

  • Overweight or obese people over the age of 50
  • Athletes, pregnant women, and pregnant women Those who suffer from illnesses such as diabetes, thyroid, liver, or nervous system problems

Charley Horse Diagnosis

There is no need to visit your doctor unless you have a charley horse in addition to one of the following conditions:

  • A feeling of weakness or numbness
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive perspiration (which might result in dehydration)
  • Overindulging in alcoholic beverages

Your symptoms and medical history will be discussed with you by your doctor. They’ll also do a physical examination. They may conduct blood tests, muscle testing, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies to rule out a medical issue that is causing the cramping.

Charley Horse Treatment

If you get a charley horse in your calf or in the back of your thigh (hamstring), place your weight on the afflicted leg and gently bend your knees to relieve the discomfort. Alternatively, you can sit or lie down with your leg out straight and lift the top of your foot towards your head. Holding on to a chair while bending the knee of the afflicted leg will relieve a cramp in the front of your thigh (quadriceps). Pulling your foot up near your buttock will help you feel more comfortable. Massage, an Epsom salt bath, or the use of a heating pad can all help to relax the muscle.

Most of the time, the charley horse will come to a halt within a few minutes.

Charley Horse Prevention

Preventing cramps from occurring in the first place:

  • Eat more meals that are high in vitamin C and magnesium
  • Drink plenty of water
  • And stretch before and after exercise. Stretching before exercise can assist to prevent tense muscles throughout the workout session. Cramping caused by other factors can be alleviated by daily stretching.
  • Put on a pair of comfy shoes. Limit the amount of alcoholic beverages you consume
  • Increase your physical activity gradually rather than all at once. Don’t exercise straight after eating
  • Don’t smoke
  • Don’t drink alcohol right after eating.

Don’t Let Foot Cramps and Charley Horses Slow You Down

Have you ever had a paralyzing tightness in your leg or foot when you first woke up? Cleveland Clinic is a not-for-profit academic medical facility located in Cleveland, Ohio. Advertising on our website contributes to the success of our mission. We do not recommend or promote any items or services that are not provided by the Cleveland Clinic. Policy Cramping of the foot or the leg (also known as “charley horse”) is a frequent and rather unexplained type of discomfort that occurs when a muscle becomes reflexively rigid and can’t be allowed to relax.

7 common causes for cramps

Spasming or cramping of the foot and calf muscles can occur at any time of day or night. Likewise, a variety of other muscles in your body might be affected. Why? The following are the most typical causes of muscular cramps:

  1. Cramping due to dehydration: “If you’re feeling cramping, it’s vital to check your hydration first,” Dr. Lewis advises patients. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated. Complications arising from poor nutrition: While a proper electrolyte balance (a balance of calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium) is necessary for the contraction and relaxation of a muscle, it is not recommended that you self-treat with supplements. As an alternative, Dr. Lewis recommends consuming a range of meals, including lots of colorful fruits and vegetables, such as leafy greens and bananas, in order to ensure that your diet has a balanced amount of electrolytes. Leg cramps are a side effect of several drugs, including statins and diuretics, which can be quite uncomfortable. When cramps appear unexpectedly after you begin taking a new drug, this is a red flag to look out for. If this occurs, notify your healthcare practitioner immediately. Not putting up enough effort: Taking some time each day to stretch might be beneficial. Physicist Dr. Lewis explains that you want your muscles to be as powerful and supple as possible. In order to do this, adequate stretching following a brief warm-up time or after a shower is essential.
  2. Exercise too hard: If you exercise too hard or have muscular exhaustion, this might result in cramping. Poor circulation: If you are experiencing cramps that grows worse as you walk, it is possible that you have a circulation problem. “Cramping discomfort is a symptom of several circulatory disorders.” According to Dr. Lewis, “If the pain grows worse as you walk, or if you get cramps that won’t go away, you should visit your primary care physician immediately.” The incorrect footwear: Muscle cramps can be caused by a variety of factors, including your footwear. Doctor Lewis advises checking your shoes, especially if you’ve switched from flats to heels, because this can also induce cramping.

How to stop leg and foot cramps

Leg and foot cramps can be treated in a number of methods that are straightforward:

  • Try just standing up and putting some weight on the afflicted leg or foot if it occurs while you are laying down if possible. This might be sufficient to alleviate the tender stiffness in certain cases. Warmth/heating pads can be used to enhance blood circulation to the muscle and help it relax at the same time. It might also be beneficial to soak in a warm pool of Epsom salt to relieve tension. If the pain is really tenacious, you might try taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen.

Easy stretches to keep calves and feet happy

The following are some easy stretches that may be used to relieve discomfort and perhaps prevent it.

Basic calf stretch

Runners frequently utilize this calf stretch to improve their performance. Here’s how you go about it:

  1. Stand with your palms against a wall and your arms spread out in front of you
  2. Taking a step back with the leg that has been injured, lean forward on the other leg and press up against the wall You should feel a stretch in your calf muscle and the back of your leg after doing this exercise.

Towel stretch

While you’re sitting, do this stretch:

  1. Extend the length of your legs out in front of you
  2. Draw your afflicted foot’s toes upwards toward the ceiling, ensuring that the leg is engaged. To wrap your foot, use a towel or a neck tie and hold it in place with both hands
  3. You should slightly lift the leg till you feel a decent stretch

Leg or foot cramps are a common occurrence, although they are usually manageable by the individual experiencing them. However, if they occur regularly, are severe, or if you have reason to believe one of your drugs is to blame, you should consult with your doctor. They might indicate the presence of a medical concern that necessitates care.

8 Causes of Foot Cramps at Night and How to Stop Them

A foot cramp can strike out of nowhere, waking you from a sound sleep. You may suddenly feel the muscles tighten or knot up from a few seconds to a few minutes at a time. Up to60 percent of adultsreport getting nocturnal foot cramps. Spasms may happen just once in the night or result in repeat episodes that lead to insomnia and lingering pain. The good news is that these cramps aren’t usually a reason for concern. While they can be associated with certain medical conditions, like diabetes or hypothyroidism, stretches and lifestyle changes may help ease them or make them go away entirely.

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Sitting for long periods of time or otherwise being inactive may make the muscles in your feet more apt to cramp at night.

Your sleep position may also be a factor in circulation and nerve issues.

  • Examine your sleeping habits to determine if they might be a contributing factor to your overnight cramps. When you sleep with your feet pointed downwards, you may experience impaired circulation. Try sleeping on your back or side with a pillow under your knees to relieve pressure on your joints.

Exerting too much force on the muscles in your feet may make them more susceptible to cramping. The muscle fibers in your feet contract and expand on a continuous basis to allow you to move. If you engage in too much physical activity too quickly, or if you push your feet too hard, you may develop muscular fatigue. It is possible to become fatigued during the day, which depletes your body of oxygen and permits waste products to build up. Cramping and spasms might occur as a result of this accumulation during the night.

  • Concrete floors and other hard surfaces can have a comparable effect on the body as standing or working on them.
  • It is also possible that improper footwear will hinder the circulation of the foot, cutting off blood and oxygen and causing painful spasms even when you are not on your feet.
  • It is possible that you are not drinking enough water during the day, or that you are suffering from diarrhea or another sickness that is causing you to become dehydrated.
  • As a result of dehydration and electrolyte depletion, your muscles become more prone to cramping and spasming.
  • It is for this reason that you may get foot cramps at night.
  • Leg and foot cramps can be caused by a deficiency in magnesium and potassium.
  • Using a simple blood test, your doctor can determine your levels and determine whether you require any supplements or other therapy for underlying issues.
  • Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol may result in nerve damage and the development of a disease known as alcoholic neuropathy.
  • Heavy alcohol use may also result in dehydration and nutritional deficiencies, particularly in the B vitamins, which are essential for health.

When a woman is pregnant, she is more sensitive to leg and foot cramps at night, especially during the second and third trimesters. Researchers are baffled as to why this is happening. Among the possible explanations are:

  • Dehydration, dietary inadequacies, notably magnesium deficiency, and increased weight on the foot as the child develops

There are a number of medical diseases that are connected with midnight foot cramps. These include:

  • Structure-related problems, such as spinal stenosis and peripheral arterial disease
  • Metabolic-related problems, such as renal disease, anemia, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and type 1 or type 2 diabetes
  • And other disorders, such as nerve damage, osteoarthritis, and Parkinson’s disease
  • And

Taking some drugs may also increase your risk of experiencing cramps. These are some examples:

  • Blood pressure drugs, statins, diuretics, and birth control pills are all examples of prescription pharmaceuticals.

If you’re undergoing dialysis, you may find that you’re more prone to cramping. Treatment for nocturnal foot cramps is not recommended by physicians in any particular manner. Instead, it is preferable to treat the underlying source of the problem. If you are a regular exerciser, keep up the good work! Leg and foot cramps are common throughout the day and at night, and regular movement may help prevent them. Are you new to exercise? Consult with a doctor or other medical expert for advice on a treatment plan that may be suitable for you.

After a 2012 research, anecdotal evidence shows that spending a few minutes on an exercise bike or treadmill before bed may be beneficial in the treatment of nocturnal leg and foot cramps.

Stretch and soothe your muscles

Make it a point to stretch your feet every day to keep your foot muscles fluid, especially before and after you work up a sweat. What if you’re suffering a cramp in the middle of the night? Stretching your foot softly but firmly to release the cramp by flexing your foot and pressing down on your big toe can help to relieve the cramp. Walking about and jiggling your leg may also be beneficial in relieving foot and leg cramps at the same time. Taking a warm bath or shower, or using ice, may help to alleviate any remaining discomfort.

Examine your shoes

Wearing supportive shoes that are also comfortable is important, especially if you are walking on hard terrain for long periods of time. The heel counter is the portion of your shoes that helps to keep your heel in place when you walk. The support provided by shoes with a solid heel counter may be superior in terms of giving support throughout the day. Footwear that is well suited and well-supported may also help you prevent nighttime foot cramps. Depending on your situation, your doctor may recommend that you see a podiatrist for custom inserts if you’re having difficulty finding shoes that are comfortable.

Drink more water

Generally speaking, experts recommend that males drink 15.5 cups of fluids such as water per day and that women drink 11.5 cups. Maintaining enough hydration in your muscles might help avoid cramping. It is recommended that your urine be light yellow to clear as a general rule of thumb. You should try drinking another glass of water if the color is darker than that. People who are pregnant or nursing may require an increased amount of liquids each day to satisfy their hydration requirements. If you have any worries about properly hydrating your body, see your doctor.

Eat well and supplement

Eat awell-balanced dietthat contains lots of calcium, potassium, and magnesium. If you have a diagnosed deficit, treat it with your doctor’s supervision. There have been a number of studies that have shown that magnesium supplementation can be effective in alleviating cramps.

Inquire with your doctor about appropriate dose and brand recommendations. Supplements are available at your local grocery shop, health food store, or online. Magnesium-rich foods include the following:

  • Whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and unsweetened dried fruits are all good choices.

Bananas and leafy greens may also be beneficial in maintaining electrolyte balance.

Lower your alcohol intake

Limit your consumption of alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine, and mixed drinks. These beverages have the potential to dehydrate you. If you have alcohol-related nerve damage and are having difficulty quitting drinking, you should seek professional assistance. Contacting your doctor, a friend, or a local support program are all options to consider. Conditions such as alcoholic neuropathy can cause nerve damage that is irreversible and progresses over time. Early detection and treatment are essential in preventing this.

Practice self-care

Some easy self-care measures may be able to help you avoid nocturnal foot cramps. These include:

  • Prevent your feet from being trapped by untucking the bed’s blankets from the foot of your bed before you go to sleep. To relax your muscles before night, take a bath in warm water. Light stretching should be done throughout the day to ensure that your muscles are not tense before bedtime
  • And

Essential oils

Try rubbing some topicalessential oils into your feet before going to bed as a relaxing alternative to bathing. Anti-spasmodic qualities may be found in oils such as geranium, chamomile, coriander, and ylang-ylang oils, among others. Aromatherapy using lavender or mint fragrances may also help to create a peaceful sleep environment, which may help to reduce cramping and discomfort.

During pregnancy

In the event that you experience nightly foot cramps (or other significant muscular cramping) during your pregnancy, notify your doctor immediately. While many of the same self-care techniques that helped you may be beneficial to you, your doctor can make additional recommendations. When you have a cramp, stretch your foot and raise your legs to keep them from coming back again. Physical activity, massage, and a warm (but not hot) shower or bath may all be beneficial in the treatment of insomnia.

If the cramping is preventing you from sleeping, your doctor may prescribe that you take a magnesium supplement.

Foot cramps usually go on their own after a few days of home therapy, such as stretching or a change in lifestyle, such as drinking more water.

If you are experiencing cramps on a regular basis and they are not improving after making adjustments to your routine, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor.

The Best Remedies for Toe Cramps

Overview The majority of the time, muscle cramps are innocuous, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t uncomfortable. If you’ve ever experienced a “charley horse,” you know that the acute, constricting pain may be extremely uncomfortable and debilitating. Cramping occurs when a muscle contracts suddenly and does not relax thereafter. It can affect any muscle in the body, and the toes are not exempt. Muscle cramps are something that almost everyone may face at some point in their lives. Walking requires us to utilize our toes on a daily basis, which means they receive quite a workout – even if you’re not an athlete.

The at-home therapies suggested below are often effective in alleviating toe cramps in the vast majority of people.

Most of the time, frequent stretching and strengthening exercises will aid in the prevention of cramps. When it comes to keeping your feet flexible, the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society suggests the following exercises:

  • Raise your toes. Raise your heel off the ground so that just your toes and the ball of your foot are in contact with the ground (see illustration). Continue to hold for 5 seconds before lowering and repeating 10 times
  • Flexing or pointing the toes. Make your big toe appear to be pointed in one way by flexing your foot in that direction. Ten times, hold for 5 seconds, and then release. Toe and towel curls are optional. Make a tucking motion with your toes, as if you’re attempting to tuck them all beneath one foot. Hold for 5 seconds and then repeat the process 10 times. Alternatively, you may place a towel on the ground and pick it up with only your toes
  • Marbles are picked up. 20 marbles should be placed on the floor. Use only your toes to pick up each one and deposit it in a bowl
  • Repeat with the remaining. Walking on the sand. In the event that you are fortunate enough to be near a beach, strolling barefoot in the sand may be beneficial in massaging and strengthening the muscles in your feet and toes.


Heat can aid in the relaxation of stiff muscles. Apply a warm cloth or heating pad to the cramping toe to relieve the discomfort. Alternatively, you might soak your foot in warm water.


Ice might be beneficial for pain alleviation. Gently massage your toe with a cold pack or ice wrapped in a towel to relieve the discomfort. Ice should never be applied straight to the skin. It is via sweating that salt and minerals are released from the body. These are particularly important minerals for bone health. Medications that cause your body to lose minerals, such as diuretics, are among the most common. You can receive a boost from these meals if you’re not obtaining the daily required amounts of calcium (1,000 mg), potassium (4,700 mg), and magnesium (400 mg).

  • A high supply of calcium is found in dairy products such as yogurt, low-fat milk, or cheese, while potassium and magnesium may be found in spinach and broccoli. Almonds are high in magnesium, while bananas are strong in potassium, making them excellent pre-workout snacks.

Toe cramps can be caused by a variety of factors, including the shoes you wear. For example, wearing high heels all day might raise your chances of getting toe cramps. High-heeled shoes can cause toes to crush together and pressure to be applied to the ball of the foot. Toe cramps can occur in athletes such as dancers, runners, and other sportspeople who wear the incorrect sort of shoe for their foot form. Look for shoes with a bigger toe box, and if the heels are giving you difficulty, consider removing them.

Physical activity

Cramping is a typical occurrence during exercise due to dehydration and overexertion. When you’re dehydrated, the electrolyte levels in your body drop, which can result in muscular cramps and other symptoms.


It is natural for people to lose muscle mass as they age. It is necessary for the remaining muscle to work harder. Starting in your early 40s, if you don’t engage in regular physical activity, your muscles might become more strained, which can result in cramping.

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Medical conditions

Muscle cramps can be more prevalent in those who have medical diseases such as diabetes or liver disease, among other things. People who have diabetes are at risk for peripheral neuropathy, which is a disorder that causes nerve loss in the fingers and toes of the affected limb. It is possible to have discomfort and cramps when these nerves are not functioning properly. If your liver is not functioning properly, it will be unable to filter poisons from your blood. Muscle cramps and spasms can occur as a result of the accumulation of toxins in the body.


Some drugs, such as aspirin, might cause muscular cramps in some individuals. Diuretics and cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as statins and nicotinic acid, are examples of such pharmaceuticals.

Mineral deficiency

It is possible that you have too little sodium, potassium, calcium, or magnesium in your body, which is causing your cramps. All of these minerals are necessary for proper muscle and nerve function, as well as for maintaining normal blood pressure. Cramping in your toes can occur for a variety of causes, the great majority of which are not significant. Toe cramps are a common problem, and there are simple methods that you may do at home to alleviate the discomfort.

How to get rid of muscle cramps in your legs

To move your legs, you must contract and extend the muscles in your legs, which are made up of bundles of fibers that alternately contract and expand to create movement. The contraction (tightening) of one of these muscles, usually in the calf, occurs suddenly and involuntarily. It is possible for cramps to last anywhere from a few seconds and many minutes. Their intensity might range from light to severe enough to rouse you from a sound slumber. A charley horse is a painful muscular spasm in the leg that occurs suddenly and without warning.

There are occasions when there is no clear reason for a cramp.

Causing cramping is more likely to occur when muscles are fatigued or dehydrated.

Cramping is more likely to occur during pregnancy, presumably as a result of changes in the circulatory system and greater tension on the muscles caused by a developing abdomen.

Muscles that are older get more quickly fatigued, and they become more sensitive to changes in fluid volume in the body. The use of some medications, such as statins, to treat high cholesterol can cause cramping as a side effect as well.

Symptoms of muscle cramps

They can include the following:

  • Pain and stiffness in a muscle that occurs suddenly, usually in the calf
  • A firm lump or twitching under the skin that is only transitory

Diagnosing muscle cramps

The majority of cramps are mild to moderate in severity, but if your cramps are severe, you get them frequently, or you are experiencing other symptoms (such as numbness or weakness) in addition to them, visit your doctor. Crampings are a symptom of a problem with the spine, blood vessels, or liver in rare cases.

Treating muscle cramps

The majority of cramps will subside on their own within a few minutes. Relaxing the muscle by massaging it or gently extending it will aid in its recovery. Heat is a great way to relax stiff muscles. Massage the muscle with a heating pad or a warm damp towel to aid with the relaxation process. Ensure that you drink lots of fluids before and throughout exercise to avoid leg cramps in the future. Muscles require fluid in order to contract and relax correctly. Warming up your leg muscles before you start out with either walking in place or a gentle jog will help prevent tightness.

If you have a tendency to experience cramps while sleeping, perform another round of stretches before bed.

Photo courtesy of photocheaper/Getty Images For the benefit of our readers, Harvard Health Publishing makes our archival content available to them via a secure website.

No information on this site, regardless of when it was published, should ever be considered as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained healthcare professional.

Foot Cramps and Charley Horses

Posted at 9:39 a.m. on September 1, 2018 Foot Cramps and Charley Horses: What Causes Them and What to Do About Them Imagine falling asleep and waking up with a paralyzing tightness in your calf or foot. It happens without notice and without any warning. Foot or leg cramp (also known as “charley horse”) is a frequent and rather unexplained discomfort that occurs when a muscle becomes involuntarily rigid and is unable to relax as a result of an injury or illness. Here’s what causes these cramps, as well as some prevention strategies to keep them at bay.

  1. Dehydration is a problem. Making sure you drink enough water during the day is important
  2. Otherwise, you may become dehydrated. Nutritional issues are a concern. Though electrolytes (calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium) are necessary for the contraction and relaxation of a muscle, it is not recommended to self-treat with electrolyte supplements. The drug has a side effect. Muscle cramps can be caused by a number of drugs, including statins and furosemide (Lasix®), among others. There isn’t enough stretching. Taking the time to stretch throughout the day, particularly after a quick warm-up or after a shower, may be quite beneficial. Overexertion. It is possible to have cramps if you exercise more vigorously than usual or if you suffer muscular exhaustion. Maintain a healthy pace. Circulation is poor. You may be suffering from circulatory problems if your cramping worsens as you walk. Some circulation disorders generate pain that feels like cramping
  3. Wearing the incorrect shoes might exacerbate the condition. An uncommon cause of muscular cramping is the shoes you wear

Leg and foot cramps can be treated in a number of methods that are straightforward:

  • If it occurs when you are laying down or in bed, simply get up and put some weight on the afflicted leg or foot to see if it relieves the pain. This might be sufficient to alleviate the tender stiffness in certain cases. Warmth/heating pads can be used to enhance blood circulation to the muscle and help it relax at the same time. Soaking in a warm pool with Epsom salts can also be beneficial in relieving stress. If the pain is really tenacious, you might try taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen.

The following are some easy stretches that may be used to relieve discomfort and perhaps prevent it. Runners frequently utilize this calf stretch to improve their performance. Here’s how you go about it:

  1. Stand with your palms against a wall and your arms spread out in front of you
  2. Step back with the afflicted calf on the affected leg
  3. Push against the wall with the other leg as you lean forward.

While you’re sitting, do this towel stretch:

  1. Legs should be spread out in front of you. Draw your afflicted foot’s toes upwards toward the ceiling, ensuring that the leg is engaged. To wrap your foot, use a towel or a neck tie and hold it in place with both hands
  2. You should slightly lift the leg till you feel a decent stretch

However, if they occur frequently, are severe, or you are worried, please call our office to make an appointment with Dr. Mussett. We are able to provide same-day appointments for your convenience. « Return to the Home Page of the News

7 Ways to Prevent Night Leg Cramps (Charley Horses)

Have you ever gone to bed and woken up with a terrible leg cramp? If so, you are not alone. If you suffer from night leg cramps, also known as nocturnal leg cramps, it can be a living nightmare.

Cavernous calf spasms and thigh cramps are characterized by rapid, unpleasant (and often severe) spasms in the calf muscles and thighs, but they can also affect your feet. They can happen when you are awake, although they happen the most frequently at night.

Causes for Nocturnal Leg Cramps

Despite the fact that night leg cramps are sometimes referred to as “charley horses,” there is no Charley and certainly no horse responsible for their occurrence. You might be wondering what might be prompting these unpleasant admonitions to get out of bed in the morning. According to Dr. Joyce Lee-Iannotti of Banner Health in Phoenix, Arizona, “No one really knows the exact cause of leg cramps at night, but there are some known factors that can increase your risk,” she said. “No one really knows the exact cause of leg cramps at night, but there are some known factors that can increase your risk.” These considerations are as follows:

  • Your chronological age is: The prevalence of nocturnal leg cramps in those over the age of 50 is thought to be close to 60 percent. Pregnancy: This may arise as a result of increased weight and changes in circulation. Individuals suffering from renal and thyroid disorders, as well as those suffering from peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage in the legs), may have leg cramps. Medications that may be used include: Leg cramps may be exacerbated by some drugs, such as diuretics, blood pressure meds, or statins.

In addition, Dr. Lee-Iannotti stated that overexerting your muscles, sitting for extended periods of time without moving, dehydration, and standing and walking on hard surfaces all day are all risk factors for osteoporosis.

Could it be Restless Leg Syndrome?

Nighttime leg cramps are sometimes confused with another illness known as restless leg syndrome, or RLS, which causes tingling in the legs. Leg cramps, like restless leg syndrome, are most common while the person is at rest. Leg cramps, on the other hand, cause muscular tension, cramping, and discomfort, whereas muscle cramps do not. A odd and uncomfortable impulse to move your legs will occur while you are suffering from RLS in attempt to relieve discomfort, although there is typically no pain connected with it.

7 Ways to Relieve and Prevent Leg Cramps at Night

The good news is that, despite the fact that they can be quite painful, nocturnal leg cramps are seldom life-threatening. There are seven home treatments you may attempt to assist ease discomfort and perhaps avoid uncomfortable wake-up calls, but some of them may require a little of trial and error.

  • You should stretch your hamstring and calf muscles many times during the day and before night
  • Throughout the day, drink lots of water and keep an eye on your alcohol and caffeine intake
  • Mild workouts, like as walking or riding a stationary bike for a few minutes, can be done before bed to help you relax. Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating properly, exercising regularly, and getting adequate sleep
  • Take a warm bath or shower to relieve tension in your muscles
  • Wearing supportive shoes with enough arch and ankle support is recommended. Keep your sheets and blankets free around your feet so that you are not constrained in your movements during the night.

“If none of these therapies work for you, and you are still experiencing severe continuous cramping that is interfering with your sleep and everyday activities, see your doctor,” Dr. Lee-Iannotti said. “Nocturnal leg cramps should not have a negative impact on your overall health.” Nocturnal leg cramps, often known as charley horses, can be a genuine nuisance, but don’t let them get the better of you. By visiting, you may speak with a Banner Health professional about your symptoms.

Charley horse: Causes, symptoms, remedies, and more

A charley horse is a muscular spasm that occurs suddenly and is extremely painful. It is more common after physical activity and at night. A calf muscle strain is most usually associated with lower leg pain, although it can also manifest itself in the foot and, on rare occasions, the thigh. These muscular spasms may also be experienced by pregnant women and persons suffering from certain medical disorders. Leg cramps afflict around a third of the population over the age of 50. According to a paper published in 2021, experts are unsure about the actual cause of muscular cramping.

Muscle cramps can be caused by a variety of factors, including the following:

  • Nocturnal leg cramps may be caused by vigorous daily exercise, electrolyte imbalances, or the use of certain drugs
  • Nevertheless, there is no definitive cause for them. Muscle cramps during pregnancy can be caused by a variety of factors, including weight growth, blood flow disturbance, and peripheral nerve compression. Cramping can occur during or after exercise due to a variety of factors including neurological changes, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances, particularly in the arms and legs.

Crampings, particularly those that afflict the leg, are referred to as “charley horses.” Despite the fact that some individuals use the term “charley horse” to describe muscular spasms or twitches, these are two very distinct events.

In general, clinicians understand the need of distinguishing between cramps and other disorders that appear to be the same as cramps, such as the following:

  • Dystonia is a movement condition characterized by involuntary movements
  • Myotonia is the process of muscles tensing, which includes both voluntarily flexing and involuntarily contracting
  • And dystonia is a movement disorder characterized by involuntary movements. Tetany, which is an electrolyte imbalance caused by low calcium levels
  • Myalgia, which is muscular soreness
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Scientists have determined that a charley horse arises when muscles abruptly spasm or constrict, resulting in pain and discomfort. The ailment most commonly affects the calf muscle, which is located towards the rear of the lower leg. The abrupt and uncontrolled spasm is usually short, but it can linger for up to ten minutes in certain cases. The majority of people have unpleasant muscular contractions that do not result in long-term difficulties. Others, on the other hand, may have excruciating agony and suffering that lasts for several days.

Painful leg cramps, for example, might make it more difficult to move about and get around.

Additionally, the timing of a cramp might have an impact on its significance.

According to an analysis published in 2021, there are various risk factors for leg cramps:

  • Being above the age of 60: A total of 37 percent of Americans over the age of 60 suffer from nocturnal leg cramps
  • Being pregnant entails a number of changes. Cramping of the muscles occurs in around 50% of pregnant women, especially at night. If you have chronic renal failure, you may have the following symptoms: People suffering from chronic renal failure account for around 50% of the population. Muscle cramps, particularly in the legs, are experienced
  • Having amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) means you have the following symptoms: Muscle cramps are common in people with ALS, with a 95 percent risk of having them. Having diabetes is a medical condition. Muscle cramps are experienced by around 60% of persons with type 1 diabetes. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is around 80% in the general population.

Acute calf discomfort can occur for a variety of reasons that are unrelated to cramping. These are some examples:

  • Trauma, deep vein thrombosis, a burst Baker’s cyst, to name a few conditions.

Following a review of publications published in 2017, researchers discovered that the following categories of sickness are frequently associated with leg cramps:

  • A number of diseases and treatments are available for cardiovascular diseases, including coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and uremia
  • Neurological conditions such as motor neuron disease and polio
  • And musculoskeletal problems such as arthritis. Metabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, liver disease, and thyroid dysfunction are also available.

Drugs and muscle cramps

Leg cramps are a common side effect of several medications. Staminoids, which assist decrease cholesterol levels, and diuretics, which help lower blood pressure levels, are examples of such medications. Some stimulants, such as amphetamines and caffeine, may also cause a charley horse or a leg cramp if taken in large quantities. Anyone who experiences leg cramps after taking prescription medications should consult with a doctor or pharmacist, who can provide advice on whether or not the medicine should be changed.

When the frequency or severity of muscular cramping increases, it is important to see a doctor since it might indicate an underlying condition that needs to be addressed.

  • It is important to know what the cramping feels like and where it occurs
  • When and how often the cramps occur
  • How severe the cramps are
  • Whether they have started recently
  • The person’s exercise habits
  • Whether the person has any other symptoms, medical problems, or is taking any medications
  • And whether the person is pregnant.

According to the 2021 study, a doctor may also instruct the patient to conduct stretches around the area afflicted by cramps or to move muscles in the surrounding area. This information can assist the doctor in determining the likely reason. In accordance with current research, quinine appears to be the only medicine that can help lower the intensity and frequency of leg cramps.

Doctors, on the other hand, are reluctant to suggest this medication since its usefulness is questionable, despite the possibility of major adverse effects. When a person is suffering from a charley horse, the following actions may be of assistance in alleviating their symptoms:

  1. Standing or moving the leg or foot will help to gently stretch out the muscle. Pulling the toes and the foot up and to the front of the leg should be firm but not harsh. Continue to perform these exercises until the cramping subsides and disappears.

A massage of the tight muscle has been shown to be effective by some persons. Depending on whether there are evidence of an underlying disease that may be causing the cramping, a doctor may recommend more tests. If a person is taking a medication that increases the likelihood of cramping, a doctor may decide to modify the medication or the dosage. A person may want to attempt the following methods to avoid getting a charley horse or a muscular cramp:

  • Leaving enough time between eating and exercising
  • Warming up before and after exercise by gently stretching muscles
  • Drinking fluids and eating a small amount of food after exercise to replace fluid and minerals lost during exercise
  • Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water at all times
  • Avoiding caffeine and other stimulants Keeping an eye out for any potential adverse effects of prescription medicines

A number of individuals take magnesium supplements to try to ease muscle cramps. However, evidence shows that magnesium supplements are ineffective in alleviating either pregnancy-related leg cramps or nocturnal leg cramps in women. Changes that may be beneficial, despite the lack of scientific evidence to support them, include the following:

  • The use of relaxation techniques such as massage and heat treatment, as well as the use of alternative footwear, are all recommended. for people who lead a physically inactive existence, physical activity

Although the exact origin of the phrase is unknown, sources claim that the term charley horse, which is used to describe a muscular cramp, dates back to casual American athletic discourse that began in the 1880s and continues today. One explanation holds that the name originated from a baseball player who was referring to a lame horse. Horses were formerly employed to assist with groundskeeping duties in baseball. The name was allegedly derived from a baseball player named Charley, who had muscular cramps while pitching during a game in 1880, according to a tale that published in the Washington Post in 1907.

A charley horse, often known as a leg cramp, is a frequent ailment that does not generally signal the presence of a major medical condition.

Charley horse can be difficult to cure or avoid, with the exception of warming up before physical activity and staying hydrated throughout the process.

Leg cramps: Causes, treatment, and prevention

Foot, calves, and thigh muscles cramping, also known as Charley horses, are a frequent ailment that affects the foot, calves, and thigh muscles. They are characterized by involuntary contractions of a leg muscle that are unpleasant and abrupt. When a person is sleeping or resting, they are more likely to occur. They can vanish in a matter of seconds, but the average length is nine minutes. They can cause discomfort in the muscle for up to 24 hours after they have been applied. In the majority of cases, there is no discernible reason why they occur, and they are completely innocuous.

  • The majority of the time, individuals are baffled as to why they have leg cramps, while there are a variety of ideas.
  • When you sleep with your foot extended out and your calf muscles shortened, you may get night cramps.
  • Exercise is a consideration.
  • Cramping is a common occurrence among athletes, especially during the beginning of a season when their bodies are out of shape or fatigued.
  • Dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities, according to some experts, may be contributing factors.
  • However, no scientific evidence has been found to support this association.

Leg cramps can be caused by an underlying disorder that affects the neurological system, circulation, metabolism, or hormones in some cases, but not always. Some drugs can potentially raise the likelihood of developing the condition. Cramping can be caused by a variety of conditions, including:

  • Alcoholism
  • Cirrhosis
  • Chronic kidney failure
  • Hemodialysis
  • Cancer treatment
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Vascular disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Pregnancy, especially in the later stages
  • Motor neuron disease
  • Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS)
  • Hardening of the arteries
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Thyroid disease and hormonal problems
  • Chronic infections

Cramping can be triggered by a number of medications, including:

  • The use of iron sucrose (Venofer)
  • Conjugated estrogens
  • Raloxifene (Evista)
  • Naproxen (Aleve)
  • Teriparatide (Forteo)
  • And other medications.

Individuals over the age of 65 are more prone to suffer from leg cramps. Muscle loss begins in the mid-40s and accelerates if a person does not engage in physical activity. Cramping may become more likely as a result of this. According to research, 50–60 percent of adults and 7 percent of children suffer from cramps, and the chance of experiencing cramps rises with age. For cramping relief, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) recommends that you do the following:

  • Stop doing whatever it was that produced the cramp
  • Stretch and massage the muscle
  • And rest. Maintain the extended posture of the leg until the cramping subsides. Heat should be applied to muscles that are tight or strained. Apply cold packs to sore muscles to reduce inflammation.

Some individuals use supplements, such as magnesium, to help them recover from muscular cramps more quickly. In contrast, a 2020 study that looked at older persons came to the conclusion that they would be unlikely to benefit from the therapy. In some situations, like as pregnancy, there is insufficient data to determine if supplements are beneficial. Stretching before night may be beneficial, however research on this topic is sparse. Leg cramps are unlikely to be prevented by medicine. It may be beneficial to use an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever if a strong cramp leaves a muscle feeling sore.

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), on the other hand, advises against using it since it may have harmful interactions with other medications and negative effects.
  • Multivitamins may be beneficial during pregnancy to some extent.
  • Learn more about treating leg muscle cramps by visiting this page.
  • It may be beneficial to walk on your tiptoes to stretch your muscles and reduce a cramping sensation.
  • Consider performing the following stretches to alleviate a calf muscle cramp:

Hamstring muscle stretch

  1. Lay on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you. Pulling the toes up toward the knee can help to stretch the calf muscles. Hold for a total of 30 seconds.

Calf muscle stretch

  1. Holding both feet level on the ground, stand approximately one meter from a wall Extend your arms extended and your hands flat against the wall as you lean forward toward the wall. Keep your heels firmly planted on the ground. Simply maintain this posture for 10 seconds before slowly returning to an upright position
  2. Repeat the process 5-10 times.

Quadriceps muscle stretch

  1. As you get up, use a wall or a chair to support yourself if required. One foot should be pulled up toward the buttocks, the ankle should be grabbed, and the foot should be held as near to the body as possible
  2. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch to the other foot and repeat.

Cramping can be relieved or prevented by performing these activities. They can also be used as a warm-up before physical activity. Additionally, the following steps may be beneficial in preventing leg cramps.

  • When lying down or sleeping, supporting up the feet with a pillow will help to support the toes. Ensure that your bedding is loose to assist avoid your feet and toes from pointing downward while you sleep. Don’t forget to put on appropriate footwear during the day, especially if you have flat feet or other foot issues.

Maintaining a healthy weight by engaging in regular physical activity might be beneficial. If someone exercises, they should make certain that their program is appropriate for their needs and that their growth is steady. Avoid overexertion and training for extended periods of time, and always remember to warm up before commencing any exercise session or game. Even while leg cramps are normally not a reason for alarm, they might occasionally signal the presence of an underlying disease. If the cramps are severe or occur regularly, it may be necessary to seek medical attention.

If the patient is taking drugs that have the potential to cause cramping, the doctor may modify the dose or switch to a different prescription.

Stretching and massaging the muscle can frequently provide temporary relief from the pain. The presence of an underlying reason that necessitates medical intervention is possible in some instances. If your cramps are severe or recurrent, you should consider seeing a doctor.

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