What Is A Charley Horse In Calf? (Solved)

A charley horse refers to a muscle cramp that is sudden and painful. It often occurs during exercise and at night. It commonly affects the calf muscle at the back of the lower leg but can also occur in the foot and, occasionally, the thigh.

How do you get rid of a charlie horse in your calf?

Massage, a bath with Epsom salts, or a heating pad can relax the muscle. To fight pain, use an ice pack or take an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen or naproxen. In most cases, the charley horse will stop within a few minutes. But if you get them often and for no clear reason, tell your doctor.

What does it mean when you get a charley horse in your calf?

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.

What does a charley horse feel like in your calf?

This usually feels like a painful knot on your leg muscle and renders it momentarily immobile. Leg cramps are most common in the calf muscle, but they can also happen in the thighs or feet.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

Where do charley horses happen?

A charley horse is the common name for a muscle spasm or cramp. Muscle spasms can occur in any muscle in the body, but often happen in the leg. When a muscle is in spasm, it contracts without your control and does not relax.

Why do they call it a 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 foods trigger leg cramps?

WHAT FOODS CAN CAUSE MUSCLE CRAMPS?

  • Refined carbs like white bread are devoid of nutrients.
  • Excessive red meat consumption is bad due to nitrates.
  • Fast food is full of trans fats.
  • Foods with refined sugar such as packaged muffins are full of artificial ingredients.
  • Salty foods can wreak havoc on the body.

How do you stop Charlie horses while sleeping?

Nocturnal Leg Cramp Prevention

  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.

Why am I getting Charlie horses in my legs at night?

Leg cramps at night, or nocturnal leg cramps, are common and can occur due to inactivity during the day, tired muscles, or certain medical conditions. Leg cramps, also called charley horses, are uncontrolled spasms in the muscles of the leg that may be painful.

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 is the best vitamin for leg cramps?

A significant body of research has found that increasing your magnesium intake can help with the frequency of night time leg cramps, especially for pregnant women. Health experts recommend getting at least 300 milligrams of magnesium each day.

What do leg cramps at night mean?

In general, night leg cramps are likely to be related to muscle fatigue and nerve problems. The risk of having night leg cramps increases with age. Pregnant women also have a higher likelihood of having night leg cramps.

Charley Horse

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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
See also:  What Is The Tallest Horse In The World? (Solution found)

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.

Muscle cramp – Symptoms and causes

When you have a muscle cramp, one or more of your muscles tighten in an unexpected and involuntary manner. If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night or been stopped in your tracks by a sudden charley horse, you know that muscular cramps may be excruciatingly painful to deal with. Muscle cramps, though normally innocuous, can make it hard to utilize the afflicted muscle for a short period of time. Muscle cramps can occur after prolonged durations of physical activity or manual labor, particularly in hot temperatures.

The majority of the time, self-care procedures may be used to cure muscular cramps at home.

Symptoms

The majority of muscular cramps occur in the leg muscles, notably in the calf muscles. Besides feeling or seeing a mass of muscle tissue beneath your skin, you may also experience or notice a quick, acute discomfort.

When to see a doctor

Muscle cramps normally go away on their own and are not acute enough to necessitate medical attention in most cases. Consult your doctor if your cramps include any of the following symptoms:

  • Result in extreme discomfort
  • Are connected with leg edema, redness, or changes in the appearance of the skin
  • These conditions are connected with muscular weakness. This occurs on a regular basis
  • Self-care does not help
  • Instead, it makes things worse. Don’t appear to be related with a clearly identifiable cause, such as severe exercise

Causes

Muscle cramps can be caused by overuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle tension, or just being in one posture for an extended amount of time.

In many situations, however, the exact reason for the condition is unknown. Although the vast majority of muscular cramps are innocuous, some may be associated with a medical condition such as one of the following:

  • There is insufficient blood supply. When the arteries that supply blood to your legs become narrowed (a condition known as arteriosclerosis of the extremities), it might cause cramp-like pain in your legs and feet when you’re exercising. These pains normally subside after a few minutes of ceasing exercise. Compression of the nerves. Compression of nerves in your spine (lumbar stenosis) can cause cramp-like pain in your legs as well as other symptoms. The discomfort normally intensifies as you walk for a longer period of time. If you walk in a slightly flexed stance, such as you would if you were pulling a shopping cart in front of you, you may find that your symptoms improve or are delayed in onset.
  • Mineral depletion is a problem. Leg cramps might be exacerbated if you consume too little potassium, calcium, or magnesium. Diuretics, which are commonly taken to treat high blood pressure, can also deplete these minerals in the body.

Risk factors

Muscle cramps can be caused by a variety of factors, some of which are as follows:

  • Age. Because older persons lose muscular mass, the residual muscle is more susceptible to being overstressed
  • Dehydration. Cramping is common in athletes who become weary and dehydrated when participating in warm-weather activities. Cramping is also common in pregnant women. Muscle cramps are also prevalent during pregnancy
  • However, they are less severe. Medical conditions are listed below. It is possible that you will be more susceptible to muscular cramps if you have diabetes, or if you have nerve, liver, or thyroid diseases.

Prevention

Cramping may be avoided by following these steps:

  • Dehydration should be avoided. Drink enough of fluids on a daily basis. This varies depending on your diet, your gender, your level of exercise, the weather, your physical and mental well-being, your age, and the drugs you take. Fluids aid in the contraction and relaxation of your muscles, as well as keeping muscle cells hydrated and less irritable. Replace fluids at regular intervals while your exercise, and continue to drink water or other fluids after you’ve stopped
  • Make sure to stretch your muscles. Stretching should be done before and after using any muscle for a lengthy amount of time. Stretching before bedtime might help if you suffer from leg cramps at night. Light activity, such as riding a stationary bicycle for a few minutes before night, may also be beneficial in preventing cramps while you’re sleeping
  • For example,

3rd of March, 2021

  1. Muscle cramps are a painful condition. An acronym for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Winkelman JW (accessed November 18, 2015)
  2. Winkelman JW. Leg cramps that occur during night. Muscle spasms, last accessed on November 18, 2015. Professional Edition of the Merck Manual. On November 18, 2015, I was able to access

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

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.

A person who is over the age of sixty-five: Nighttime leg cramps afflict around 37 percent of Americans over the age of 60. Experiencing pregnancy entails the following: Cramping of the muscles occurs in around 50% of pregnant women, particularly at night. If you have chronic renal failure, you may have the following symptoms. Chronic renal failure affects around 50% of the population. Muscle cramps, particularly in the legs, are experienced. Having amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) means that you have the following: Muscle cramps are quite common in people with ALS, with a 95% likelihood of occurring.

In persons with type 1 diabetes, muscular cramps affect around 60% of the population.

The percentage of patients with type 2 diabetes is around 80%.

  • 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.

  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.

It is recommended that a person get medical attention if their cramps are severe and they are experiencing additional symptoms such as altered level of awareness or fever.

Charley horse : MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

A charley horse is a term used to describe a muscular spasm or cramp in general. Muscle spasms can occur in any muscle in the body, although they are most frequently experienced in the leg muscles. When a muscle is in spasm, it contracts and does not relax, despite your efforts to regulate it. Muscle spasms are common when a muscle is overworked or damaged, and they are painful. A muscular spasm can be triggered by a variety of factors, including:

  • Taking part in physical activity while you haven’t had enough fluids (you’re dehydrated)
  • Having low mineral concentrations, such as potassium or calcium

Some spasms arise as a result of irritation to the nerve that links a muscle to another muscle. As an illustration, consider the case of a herniated disk that produces irritation of the spinal nerves, as well as discomfort and spasm in the back muscles. Spasms in the calf are common during swimming or running and occur when the leg is kicked. They can also occur during the night while you are sleeping. Upper leg spasms are more likely when participating in sports such as running or leaping. Stress can cause spasms in the neck (cervical spine), which can be painful.

  • It is referred to as a knot in some circles.
  • Muscle spasms are diagnosed by looking for tight or firm muscles that are painful to the touch, as indicated by your health care practitioner.
  • A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan may be useful in determining whether or not the spasm is caused by nerve irritation, such as that in the back.
  • At first, heat will help to relax the muscle.
  • If the muscle is still uncomfortable after applying heat and ice, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) can be used to alleviate the discomfort.
  • After you’ve been treated, your healthcare professional should investigate the origin of the spasm to ensure that it doesn’t recur.
  • If you exercise and consume water or sports drinks, it might assist to alleviate cramps caused by dehydration.
  • Muscle spasms will subside over time as a result of rest and relaxation.
  • Spasms can be prevented from happening on a regular basis by learning how to exercise effectively with the necessary training and adequate hydration intake.

If the spasm was triggered by an inflamed nerve, you may require further therapy. The outcomes of these therapies might be unpredictable. If any of the following apply, contact your service provider:

  • You’re suffering from a severe muscular spasm and terrible agony. You are experiencing weakness as a result of your muscular spasm. You are experiencing a muscular spasm that will not quit and is spreading to other places of your body
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Your physician can assist you in changing your exercise regimen to lessen the likelihood of future spasms, even if they are not severe at the time. Among the things you may take to reduce your chances of getting muscular cramps are the following:

  • Flexibility exercises can help you become more flexible
  • Changing up your routines can help you stay within your capabilities
  • Increase your potassium intake and drink lots of water when you’re working out. Fruits such as orange juice and bananas are excellent sources of potassium.

Geiderman JM, Katz D. General concepts of orthopedic injuries. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1989. Walls RM, Hockberger RS, and Gausche-Hill M (eds.). In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, and Gausche-Hill M (eds.). Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice (Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice). Elsevier, 9th edition, Philadelphia, PA, 2018:chap 42. D. Wang, C. Eliasberg, and S. A. Rodeo. The physiology and pathology of the musculoskeletal tissues are covered in detail.

Elsevier, Philadelphia, PA, 2020:chap 1 of the 5th edition.

Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, University of Washington Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, provided the most recent update.

Editorial staff examined the manuscript for accuracy.

Muscle Cramps

Charley horse is another name for this animal. On this page, you will find

See, Play and Learn

When you get a muscle cramp, it means that one or more of your muscles clench or spasm suddenly and without warning. They are quite prevalent and frequently arise as a result of physical activity. Muscle cramps, particularly leg cramps, can be a problem for certain people at night. They can be uncomfortable and can last anywhere from a few seconds to many minutes. Cramping can occur in any muscle, although it occurs most frequently in the following:

What causes muscle cramps?

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

  • Overexerting or overstretching a muscle. This is the most prevalent reason for the problem. If you suffer from a spinal cord injury or a pinched nerve in your neck or back, you may experience compression of your nerves. Dehydration
  • Elevated amounts of electrolytes (e.g., magnesium, potassium, and calcium)
  • There is insufficient blood flow to your muscles
  • Pregnancy, certain medications, and other factors Gettingdialysis

Muscle cramps can have a variety of causes, some of which are unknown.

Who is at risk for muscle cramps?

Muscle cramps can occur in everyone, however they are more prevalent in certain individuals:

  • Athletes
  • People over the age of 50
  • Those who are overweight Women who are pregnant
  • Those who have specific medical issues, such as thyroid and nervous system abnormalities

When do I need to see a health care provider for muscle cramps?

Muscle cramps are normally mild and disappear after a few minutes of occurrence. However, you should consult your health-care practitioner if you have the following symptoms:

  • Are really harsh
  • This occurs on a regular basis
  • Stretching and consuming plenty of water will not help you feel better
  • Last for a lengthy period of time
  • These symptoms are accompanied by swelling, redness, or a warm sensation
  • These symptoms are accompanied by muscular weakness.

What are the treatments for muscle cramps?

Muscle cramps are typically not serious and do not require medical attention. You may be able to get some relief from cramps if you do the following:

  • Using gentle stretching or massage motions to relax the muscle Applying heat when a muscle is tight and ice when a muscle is painful will help to relieve the pain. If you are dehydrated, you should drink extra water.

If the cramps are caused by another medical condition, addressing that condition will most likely alleviate them. When it comes to cramp prevention, there are medications available that are occasionally prescribed by doctors, but they are not always helpful and may have negative effects. Consult with your healthcare practitioner about the risks and advantages of taking medications.

Can muscle cramps be prevented?

You may avoid muscular cramps by doing the following:

  • Stretch your muscles, especially before you engage in strenuous activity. If you get leg cramps at night on a regular basis, stretch your leg muscles before bed and drink lots of water. Using sports drinks can help you replenish electrolytes if you engage in strenuous exercise or exercise in hot weather

Charley Horse: Causes, Risks, and Treatments

We feature goods that we believe will be of interest to our readers. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of the links on this page, we may receive a small commission. Here’s how we went about it. What is a charley horse and how does it work? Amuscle spasm is referred to as “charley horse” in some circles. Charlie horses may affect any muscle, although they are most commonly found in the legs and thighs. These spasms are characterized by uncomfortably tight muscular contractions in the affected area.

When charley horses are severe, they can cause muscular discomfort that can last anywhere from a few hours to a day.

Charley horses are often curable at home, especially if they occur on a regular basis and are mild.

Your doctor can assist you in determining the source of your recurring charley horses.

Additionally, you can put treatments and preventative measures in place to improve your comfort. Cramping or spasming of a muscle can be caused by a variety of circumstances. The following are the most typical causes:

  • Exercising in extreme heat or cold, overusing a specific muscle during exercise, and tension (which is most commonly felt in the neck muscles) are all possible causes of muscle injuries. not warming up before a workout session
  • Dehydration
  • Using diuretics, which can cause low potassium levels
  • Mineral depletion, or having too little calcium, potassium, and sodium in the blood
  • Nerve compression in the spine

Numerous people report having charley horses during their sleeping hours and being roused as a result of them. Muscle spasms that create charley horses as you sleep are a typical occurrence in the population. However, the exact reason for the occurrence of these evening spams is still a mystery. It is considered that laying in an uncomfortable position in bed for an extended period of time contributes to this condition. Muscle spasms can occur at any age and in any situation. As well as occurring at any time of day or night, a charley horse can occur at any location.

  • Athletes, newborns, elderly persons, those who are obese, people who are taking certain medications such as diuretics, raloxifene (Evista), orstatin treatments, and people who smoke are just a few examples of who should avoid smoking.

Because of poor circulation in their legs, people who are fat are more prone to develop charley horses than other people. Athletesoften suffers from charley horses as a result of muscular exhaustion or excessive usage. The occurrence of the odd charley horse does not necessitate a formal medical diagnosis. Your doctor, on the other hand, should look into the frequency and recurrence of muscular spasms. This would apply if a charley horse appeared more than once a week without a satisfactory explanation for the occurrences.

  • In order to determine whether nerve compression is the source of repeated charley horses, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans may be performed.
  • It may also be necessary to do laboratory tests to rule out the presence of low potassium, calcium, or magnesium levels.
  • The therapy for charley horses is determined on the underlying cause of the problem.
  • Heating pads can assist to speed up the process of relaxing, while an ice pack can aid to dull the discomfort.
  • A more forceful approach is required for recurrent charley horses.
  • In extreme circumstances, your doctor may prescribe an antispasmodic medicine to alleviate the symptoms.
  • In extreme circumstances, your doctor may recommend that you have surgery performed.
  • If your spasms are caused by nerve compression, this may be of assistance.
  • In order to ease the discomfort associated with a charley horse, you can apply pressure to the region of the cramp with your hands during the procedure.

You may also try applying pressure to the spot of the cramp with both of your thumbs, gradually increasing the pressure until the pain subsides. If you have a charley horse in your leg, you can try the following stretches to see if they help to alleviate the discomfort:

  • Standing up and lunging forward on the front leg of the leg that is not experiencing muscular cramping
  • Straightening the back of the leg that is experiencing the cramp and lunging forward on the rear leg of the leg that is experiencing the cramp

For a few seconds, you can also stand on the tips of your toes in order to stretch out your calf muscles. The symptoms of the occasional charley horse are often straightforward to avoid after the underlying cause has been identified and addressed. Take the following actions to reduce your risk of future muscle spasms:

  • You may also stretch your calf muscles by standing on the tips of your toes for a few seconds. The symptoms of the occasional charley horse are often straightforward to prevent after the underlying cause has been identified and addressed. Consider taking the following strategies to reduce your risk of future muscle spasms:

A frequent occurrence, Charley horses can arise in any muscle and at any moment. They’re typically curable, and in certain cases, they can even be prevented. Pain induced by a spasm is usually temporary, lasting no more than a day or two. However, if you are experiencing charley horses on a regular basis, you should consult your doctor about possible remedies.

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.

  1. There are occasions when there is no clear reason for a cramp.
  2. Causing cramping is more likely to occur when muscles are fatigued or dehydrated.
  3. 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.
  4. Muscles that are older get more quickly fatigued, and they become more sensitive to changes in fluid volume in the body.

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.

Please include a note of the date of the most recent review or update for each article. 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.

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.
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“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 bannerhealth.com, you may speak with a Banner Health professional about your symptoms.

Charley horse – Wikipedia

This page refers to the page on “dead leg” in engineering. A “dead leg” is a redundant length of pipe through which flow is impossible because one end of the pipe is shut. Cramping in the legs and/or foot caused by a charley horse can last anywhere from a few seconds to many days. It was once used to refer to bruising of the quadriceps muscle of the anterior or lateral thigh, or concussion of the femur, which usually leads in a haematoma and, in some cases, several weeks of discomfort and impairment.

Such an injury is referred to as a “dead leg” in this later sense.

A charley horse is characterized by muscular contractions that occur without notice and can continue anywhere from a few seconds to many days.

It is common in contact sports such as football for athletes to sustain a knee injury to the lateral quadriceps, which causes a haematoma or transient paresis, as well as analgic gaitas as a result of the discomfort.

Cause

In addition to hormone imbalances and dehydration (the evidence for which has been mixed), they may also be caused by drug side effects or, more gravely, illnesses such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and neuropathy (which have been linked to low magnesium, potassium, and calcium levels). They are also a typical complaint among women who are expecting a child.

Treatment

Using the opposite direction of the cramp to massage or stretch the leg and/or foot might provide relief. Standing up can also provide relief since it counteracts the signal that causes the muscles to tense.

Notes

  • To find out more about the origin of the term “Charley Horse,” see Shulman D (1949), American Speech 24(2): 100–104, doi: 10.2307/486616.JSTOR486616
  • Tonbridge SV (n.d). (1950). The Return of the “Charley Horse””.American Speech.25(1): 70
  • Woolf HB (1973). “Mencken as Etymologist: Charley Horse and Lobster Trick.” American Speech.48(3/4): 229–238.doi: 10.2307/3087830.JSTOR3087830
  • “Mencken as Etymologist: Charley Horse and Lobster Trick.”

External links

It happens to the best of us: we’re working out hard at the gym, finishing a walk around the block, or even sleeping like a baby when all of a sudden we’re bent over in excruciating leg agony that seems to come out of nowhere. Say hello to the discomfort of a leg cramp. A cramp, often known as a “charley horse,” happens when a muscle contracts without the person’s consent and is unable to release. Muscle cramps are most commonly experienced in the calves and thighs, although they can also occur in the hands and arms as well as the belly and feet.

Leg cramps can affect anybody, although they are most frequent in the very young and elderly, as well as in persons who are overweight or who are active in sports like running.

Dr.

Continue reading to find more about some of the causes of leg cramps.

Overuse and Dehydration

Overusing or straining the muscle is the most prevalent cause of muscular pain, with inadequate stretching before to usage also being a significant factor in many cases. Being dehydrated, whether as a result of working out in the heat or for other causes, can irritate muscle cells and result in cramping and other symptoms. In most cases, self-treatment is sufficient, such as increased stretching (even before bed with or without mild exercise if leg cramps wake you) and making sure to drink enough fluids each day.

Medical Conditions and Medications

Leg cramps are more common during pregnancy, and certain medical diseases such as diabetes and nerve, thyroid, or liver problems can make them more often. Low electrolyte levels, such as potassium, magnesium, or calcium, can also make them more frequent. Aside from dialysis and certain drugs such as diuretics, painful muscular spasms can also be a side effect of dialysis. A compressed or pinched nerve in the back or neck can cause discomfort similar to that of a leg cramp, with the intensity of the agony rising as the distance walked increases.

Insufficient Blood Supply

Cramping in the legs can sometimes indicate the presence of something more serious, such as a lack of blood supply to the muscles.

There are a variety of reasons why the free flow of blood may be obstructed, including:

If you have arteriosclerosis, you may potentially experience complications. When you’re young and healthy, your arteries are elastic and flexible; but, as you become older, your arteries might become rigid, thick, and restricted. It is possible to suffer pain in your legs and feet when exercising due to the reduced ability of the blood to move through your arteries. Most of the time, the cramps subside as you stop working out. There are, fortunately, remedies available for this condition. Dr.

  • This screening test, which is noninvasive and requires no preparation or recovery time, uses sound-wave technology to produce pictures of the blood flow in your legs.
  • Banda may propose that you wear compression stockings, lose weight if necessary, and exercise to aid in the improvement of blood flow.
  • However, if you get leg cramps on a regular basis and find that self-care is not alleviating the problem, contact your doctor right away.
  • Banda, please call or click now.

Muscle Cramps – OrthoInfo – AAOS

The contraction of a muscle that happens suddenly and does not allow the muscle to relax is known as a “muscle cramp.” The quick, tight, and excruciating agony that comes with an immobilized muscle is likely still fresh in your mind if you have ever been the victim of a charley horse attack. Cramps can affect any muscle that you are able to control voluntarily (skeletal muscle). They might include a single muscle or numerous muscles in a group, or they can involve half or all of a muscle. The following muscle groups are the most often affected:

  • The gastrocnemius muscle is located at the back of the lower leg/calf
  • The hamstrings are located at the back of the thigh
  • And the quadriceps are located at the front of the thigh.

Cramps in the feet, hands, arms, belly, and along the rib cage are also highly prevalent in those who have high blood pressure. Some researchers believe that insufficient stretching and muscular exhaustion are the root causes of muscle cramps, which are characterized by anomalies in the processes that govern muscle contraction. Other variables, such as poor conditioning, exercising or working in extreme heat, dehydration, and depletion of salt and minerals, may also be implicated (electrolytes).

Inadequate Stretching and Muscle Fatigue

Muscles are a bundle of fibers that contract and extend in order to generate movement in the body. Muscle fibers get longer as a result of a regular stretching regimen, allowing them to contract and tighten more fiercely as you exercise. You are more prone to suffer muscle tiredness if your body is not in good shape. Muscle fatigue can cause changes in the spinal neural reflex activity. Overexertion depletes the oxygen supply of a muscle, resulting in the accumulation of waste products and spasm.

Heat, Dehydration, and Electrolyte Depletion

When you exercise in hot weather, you are more prone to have muscle cramps because perspiration depletes your body’s fluids, salt, and minerals (i.e., potassium, magnesium and calcium).

Muscle spasms can also occur as a result of a lack of certain nutrients.

Risk Factors

Some persons are susceptible to muscular cramps and experience them on a frequent basis after engaging in any physical activity. Infants and young children, as well as individuals over the age of 65, are at the highest risk of cramping and other diseases associated with excessive heat exposure. Other variables that increase the likelihood of experiencing muscular cramps are as follows:

  • Inability to work because of illness or obesity
  • Overexerting oneself at work or during exercise
  • Certain drugs are being taken

Caffeine-induced muscle cramps are extremely prevalent among endurance athletes, such as marathon runners and triathletes, as well as elderly persons who participate in rigorous physical activity.

  • Athletes are more susceptible to cramping during the preseason because their bodies are less conditioned and consequently more susceptible to tiredness. In older persons, muscular cramps are more likely to occur at the conclusion of a vigorous or protracted exercise session, or 4 to 6 hours afterwards. This is due to normal muscle loss (atrophy), which begins in the mid-40s and accelerate if a person does not engage in physical activity. As you get older, your muscles are no longer able to function as hard or as swiftly as they once could. The body also loses part of its capacity to detect and respond to changes in temperature, as well as some of its sensation of thirst.

Pain from muscle cramps can range in intensity from a little twitch to excruciating agony. A cramping muscle may feel rigid to the touch and/or seem visually deformed or twitch beneath the skin, depending on the severity of the cramp. Cramping can last anywhere from a few seconds to 15 minutes or more. It is possible that the problem will repeat several times before it is resolved. Cramps are frequently self-resolving and do not necessitate seeing a doctor.

  • Put an end to whatever it was that caused the cramp. Using gentle stretching and massage, stretch and massage the cramping muscle, maintaining it in the stretched position until the spasm stops
  • Heat should be applied to tense/tight muscles, while ice should be used to sore/tender muscles.

Work toward improving your general fitness in order to avoid recurring cramping. Pre and post-workout flexibility exercises should be performed on a regular basis to stretch muscle regions that are prone to cramping.

Warm Up

Stretching should always be preceded by a warm-up. Warm-up exercises such as gently running in place or walking briskly for a few minutes are both excellent examples of what to do.

Calf Muscle Stretch

Leaning forward against a wall, one leg in front of the other, perform this exercise. Straighten your rear leg and press your heel firmly into the ground. Repeat on the other side. Your front knee is bent at the hip. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds. Don’t forget to keep both heels level on the ground! Make a pointing motion with your rear foot’s toes toward the heel of your front foot.

Hamstring Muscle Stretch

As you sit, keep your back straight and your legs stretched straight in front of you. Your feet are in a neutral position – they are neither pointed or flexed. Placing your palms on the floor and sliding your hands toward your ankles is an excellent exercise. Hold for a total of 30 seconds. Do: Keep your chest open and your back as long as possible. Make a reach with your hips. When you feel the strain, you should stop moving your palms forward. Don’t do the following: Make an effort to bring your nose to your knees or to round your back.

Quadriceps Muscle Stretch

Holding on to a wall or the back of a chair will help you maintain your equilibrium. Elevate one foot and bring the heel of that foot up toward your buttocks. Grip your ankle with one hand and draw your heel closer to your torso to complete the movement. Hold the stretch for a total of thirty seconds. What to Do: Keep your knees together as much as possible. When you feel the strain, stop pushing your heel closer to your toes. Avoid arching or twisting your back. Hold each stretch for a brief period of time before releasing it.

Although the majority of muscle cramps are harmless, they can occasionally signal the presence of a significant medical issue.

It is possible that you will experience difficulties with your circulation, nerves, metabolism, hormones, drugs, and nutrition.

What Is a Charley Horse? – Pain Management Center – Everyday Health

It’s possible that you’re going to fall asleep or that you’re about to wake up. Your calf muscle goes into spasm and won’t let go — it contracts into a rock-hard mass, and you’re trapped in the grip of intense pain. This happens without any apparent reason. Experiencing a muscle cramp, often known as a Charley horse, can be terrifying and devastating for those who have never had one before.

What Is a Charley Horse?

The term “charley horse” refers to an involuntary muscular cramp, spasm, or contraction that occurs without the use of voluntary muscles. Although the word is typically used to refer to a muscular spasm in the back of the calf at night, it can occur in any muscle in your body at any time of day. It is possible to have a Charley horse because neurons from your spinal cord encourage the muscle to continue contracting. After all, who exactly is Charley, and what exactly is the big deal about his horse?

One legend is that the grounds crew in Chicago utilized a lame horse named Charley at some point in the late 1880s or early 1900s.

Another legend has it that a pitcher called Charles was given the nickname “Old Hoss” because of his age.

A fellow player approached him as he staggered near home plate and said, “What’s up with you, Charley Hoss?”

What Causes a Charley Horse?

The actual reason for a Charley horse’s appearance is not always known. However, muscular damage and overuse are two of the most prevalent causes – for example, you may not have stretched correctly before working out or you may not be adequately hydrated. Leg cramps can also be caused by low blood levels of important minerals such as potassium, calcium, or magnesium, and somediuretic drugs that deplete the body of potassium might make you more prone. An inflamed nerve anywhere in your body may be the source of your Charley horse in some circumstances.

Additionally, as you grow older, you are more prone to experience cramps since your muscles are no longer accustomed to working as hard or as quickly as they once did.

Treating a Charley Horse

Charley horse cramps normally subside on their own, without the need for medical intervention. Stop doing whatever you’re doing as soon as you notice a cramp coming on. Massage your muscle and stretch it slowly, holding the stretch for as long as it takes to relieve the cramp. In the case of calf cramping, bend your foot (with the toes directed toward you) and maintain it flexed until the spasm is relieved. Applying heat to your muscles might assist to relieve muscle tension. Your muscles will be sore for a few days after you’ve survived your adventure.

What is the best way to avoid becoming a Charley horse?

Also, remember to stay hydrated at all times, but especially when engaging in vigorous physical activity.

On rare circumstances, they may, however, be a symptom of a more serious problem that necessitates medical intervention and treatment.

Seeing a doctor if your Charley horses are accompanied by significant discomfort or weakness, are becoming more frequent (even if they are not unpleasant), are not getting better with self-care, and do not appear to be caused by overuse or effort is highly recommended.

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