How Long Can Charley Horse Pain Last? (Solution)

Severe charley horses can result in muscle soreness that lasts anywhere from a few hours to a day. This is normal, so long as the pain isn’t prolonged or recurring. Charley horses are generally treatable at home, especially if they’re infrequent.

Can a muscle cramp hurt for days?

They can last several seconds to several minutes. If the cramp is severe, your muscle may be sore for days.

How do you get rid of lingering Charlie Horse pain?

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.

When should I worry about charley horses?

However, it’s important to get a medical check up if your cramps: Cause severe pain or discomfort. Are associated with swelling, redness, or skin changes. Cause muscle weakness or make it difficult to put weight on a limb.

Can a charley horse be a blood clot?

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot forms in one of the deep veins of your body, usually in your legs, but sometimes in your arm. The signs and symptoms of a DVT include: Swelling, usually in one leg (or arm) Leg pain or tenderness often described as a cramp or Charley horse.

Can muscle spasms last for months?

A dystonia is a lasting or frequently recurring muscle spasm. It can affect one or more muscles in the body. There is no cure; however, there are different types of treatment which can help.

When should I be concerned about calf pain?

See your doctor as soon as possible if you have: Signs of infection, such as redness, warmth or tenderness, or you have a fever greater than100 F (37.8 C) A leg that is swollen, pale or unusually cool. Calf pain, particularly after prolonged sitting, such as on a long car trip or plane ride.

Why does it feel like I have a constant Charlie Horse in my calf?

Leg pain and cramping is common and often due to muscle spasms. While this pain can feel severe, it is usually not serious. But, sometimes, what feels like a leg cramp may actually be something more serious: a blood clot, also called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

How long do leg cramps last?

Leg cramps happen when a muscle in the leg shortens and causes a sudden pain that can make it hard to move. The cramps can last from a few seconds to 10 minutes. They can affect the: calf muscle, below the knee at the back of the leg.

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 do charley horses hurt so much?

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.”

Can nerve damage cause charley horses?

In some cases, repeated charley horses can be the result of nerve issues, which can be diagnosed with an MRI scan. If you experience muscle spasms frequently, they may be a symptom of an underlying health condition such as: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease)

Can lower back pain cause charley horses?

Muscles in the back can strain or spasm and form a hard lump, like a charley horse in the leg.

How can you tell the difference between a Charlie horse and a blood clot?

A Charlie Horse is a nickname for a muscle spasm or cramp. This cramping or contraction of a muscle or group of muscles can be incredibly painful. Depending on the duration of a Charlie Horse, pain can be quite severe and soreness may exists for hours or even up to a day afterward. A blood clot is known as a thrombus.

What are the 10 signs of a blood clot?

Arms, Legs

  • Swelling. This can happen in the exact spot where the blood clot forms, or your entire leg or arm could puff up.
  • Change in color. You might notice that your arm or leg takes on a red or blue tinge, or gets or itchy.
  • Pain.
  • Warm skin.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Lower leg cramp.
  • Pitting edema.
  • Swollen, painful veins.

How can you tell the difference between a blood clot and a leg cramp?

A calf cramp can commonly present in both legs, where as a blood clot will usually appear in one spot. A DVT will often present with pain, redness, heat and a palpable lump, whereas a strain or muscle cramp will be painful but doesn’t always have redness or heat radiating from the area.

Nocturnal Leg Cramps

A tight, knotted feeling in your legs that occurs during the night is known as nocturnal legcramps. They can last anywhere between a few seconds and several minutes. If the cramp is severe, your muscle may be sore for several days after the incident. Leg cramps are not to be confused with restless legs syndrome. Both occur most frequently at night, but restless legs syndrome is characterized by discomfort and a strong desire to move rather than painful muscle cramps. Leg cramps are completely harmless, despite the fact that they are painful.

Nocturnal Leg Cramps Causes and Risk Factors

The specific reason of midnight leg cramps is unknown to medical professionals. They might occur as a result of your nerves sending the incorrect signals to your muscles. For example, your brain may incorrectly instruct your leg to move when you are dreaming. This causes yourcalfmuscles to get confused, causing them to contract. If you do any of the following, you are more likely to have a leg cramp:

  • Are over the age of 50
  • Excessive muscular contractions are harmful. Sit for an excessive amount of time without moving
  • You’re not getting enough water
  • Standing on hard surfaces for too long is bad for your health.

Have reached the age of 50; You’ve overworked your muscles. Spend an inordinate amount of time sitting still. Not enough water is consumed. Standing on hard surfaces for an extended period of time is not recommended.

  • Diabetes, neurological problems such as Parkinson’s disease, and other diseases Abuse of alcoholic beverages
  • Low blood sugar levels
  • Some hormonal problems, such as hypothyroidism, are treatable. Specific chemical imbalances in your body, such as excess or insufficient amounts of calcium, potassium, and magnesium
  • Flatfeet
  • Pregnancy
  • Problems with blood flow
  • Nerve injury

Leg cramps are a side effect of several drugs. These are some examples:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) medications, high blood pressure medications, statins for high cholesterol, and other medications

Nocturnal Leg Cramp Diagnosis

If you get severe leg cramps on a regular basis, consult your doctor to ensure that they are not caused by another disease. They will inquire about your medical history as well as your current symptoms. They’ll also do a physical examination to rule out any other potential reasons. If your doctor feels that you have a concealed condition, you may be subjected to blood testing.

Treating Nocturnal Leg Cramps

When you get a leg cramp, try any of these methods the next time it happens:

  • Stretch the muscle by getting out of bed and standing with your foot flat on the floor for five minutes. Apply hard pressure to the area
  • Massage the muscle
  • Flex your foot
  • Grab your toes and bring them toward you. Take a warm bath to relieve the cramp.

Your doctor may prescribe drugs such as diltiazem (Cardizem), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), or verapamil to help you sleep better (Calan,Verelan). However, they are not always effective, and they might have dangerous side effects as well. To provide an example, specialists used to recommend the anti-malariadrug quinine for the treatment of leg cramps. Doctors and the Food and Drug Administration no longer suggest it since it can also cause serious bleeding and difficulties with your heart’s beat.

Nocturnal Leg Cramp Prevention

Here are some basic things you may do to avoid cramping in the future:

  • Stretching should be done throughout the day and before bed. Concentrate on the muscles in your calves and feet. Drink lots of water, and move around during the day to keep your feet and legs active. Dress in shoes that are both comfy and supportive. Sleep with your blankets a little slack, especially if you sleep on your back.

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. This is due in part to the fact that muscular cramps can occur for a variety of causes. 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.

In addition to cramps, charley horse is used to describe muscular spasms or twitches, which are entirely separate phenomena.Generally speaking, doctors realize the need of distinguishing between cramps and other similar-appearing illnesses, such as those that affect the leg, which include:

  • 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.

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.
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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 Cramp or Something More?

A lot of individuals attempt to strike a balance between the question of their health and the question of whether or not this is bad enough to warrant seeing a doctor. Sometimes you’re not sure whether or not you should be concerned about certain symptoms, especially if all you actually need is a little rest or fluids. Leg cramps can be excruciatingly painful, but the majority of the time they do not require medical attention beyond what you can provide yourself at home. Leg discomfort, on the other hand, might occasionally signal the need for medical attention.

Muscle cramps or spasms are the most common cause of the extreme discomfort you experience in your legs most of the time.

The muscle contracts and may not fully relax for some seconds after it has been contracted. In certain cases, the discomfort may rise or intensify during the contraction. A variety of factors can contribute to the development of charley horses, but the most prevalent are as follows:

  • Dehydration. When your body is dehydrated, it has a more difficult time maintaining the proper balance of electrolytes in the blood, particularly potassium, which is essential for proper functioning. As a result, your muscles may become spastic. It is possible that diuretics such as coffee can make muscular spasms worse. Minerals have been depleted. Potassium, sodium, and magnesium can be lost as a result of poor dietary choices or excessive physical activity. In order for your nerves to correctly connect with your muscles so that they may contract, you must have certain minerals. Overuse. Sometimes, incorrect exercise habits, such as overuse or not properly warming up or cooling down after a workout, might cause your muscles to respond adversely. Blood flow has been reduced. If you stay in bed for an extended amount of time or if you keep your leg at an unusual angle, your muscle may cramp as a result of insufficient blood supply to the muscle.

Charley horses are usually harmless and will pass on their own. You may avoid them by staying hydrated and making sure that your muscles are treated with care and respect. After working out, stretch and avoid sitting in one posture for an extended period of time. However, it is possible that abrupt leg discomfort is not caused by a charley horse, as you might expect. When you have a blood clot in your leg, you may have cramping that is similar to what you are experiencing. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is the medical term for this illness, which necessitates medical intervention.

The discomfort might come on suddenly, and your muscle may feel tight as a result.

However, certain additional symptoms may appear, and you should get medical attention as quickly as possible if you experience any of these.

  • Redness. When you have a blood clot in your leg, it might cause irritation and swelling on your skin. It is possible to have swelling in the leg as a result of a clot blocking a major blood artery in the leg, when blood flow becomes restricted. The leg may also feel heated to the touch
  • There may be lingering discomfort. Even after the acute agony has subsided, you will continue to have discomfort in your leg, particularly while applying pressure or walking. The discomfort will not normally go away on its own and may feel like a deep muscular ache
  • However, there is a chance that it will.

If you observe any of these symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention. An ultrasound may typically be used to detect DVTs, and you will be prescribed drugs to aid in the resolution of the blockage. In addition, DVT is serious because it has the potential to cause heart attack, stroke, or other complications if further clots form or if the clot travels from your leg. Responses to Urgent or Emergency Situations When you have blood clots or even leg cramps, you should visit the hospital as soon as possible.

Visiting hours for Stellis Health Urgent Care are Monday through Thursday from noon to 8pm, Friday from noon to 5pm, weekends and most holidays from 8am to 4pm.

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 common 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

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.

Charley Horse

Although the specific origin of Charley horse during pregnancy is unknown, it is believed to be connected to changes in the body’s circulation, weight, and iron levels that occur during pregnancy. When it comes to pregnancy, charley horses are more common during the second or third trimester, and they are more common at night. Preventing Charley horses during pregnancy may be accomplished in a number of ways, including drinking enough of water throughout the day, performing stretching exercises, and remaining physically active.

According to a Cochrane study review, your doctor may offer a magnesium supplement to help avoid Charley horses in certain cases.


When you get a Charley horse, you should stop whatever you are doing and massage the leg for a few minutes (or foot). If you are able, you may try to do light exercises or walk about the room to stretch the leg and foot muscles, which will help to relieve the pain. Heat applied to the spasm can help to relax the muscles by increasing blood flow to the area where the spasm occurred. If the Charley horse is caused by inflammation in a previously overused muscle, an ice pack may be more effective in alleviating the discomfort.

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Depending on how frequently they occur in the same muscle areas and whether or not they are eased by over-the-counter drugs, your doctor may recommend physical therapy or prescribe stronger pain medications.


  • Pain treatments such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve)
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Muscle massages containing camphor or menthol
  • And, in certain situations, prescription pharmaceuticals such as muscle relaxants.

After stretching and taking drugs, if your pain does not improve at all within 1 to 2 hours, consult your doctor for further instructions. If your risk factors indicate that you should be assessed by urgent care or the ER, they may recommend that you be tested to rule out a more serious problem such as a blood clot.

Leg cramps

Leg cramps are a regular occurrence that are typically innocuous and only last a brief period of time. They can occur at any time of day or night, although the majority of people experience them during night or while sleeping.

Check if it’s leg cramps

Leg cramps occur when a muscle in the limb shortens, resulting in a sharp discomfort that might make it difficult to move the affected leg. Cramping might last anywhere from a few seconds to ten minutes. They have the ability to influence the following:

  • The calf muscle is located behind the knee at the rear of the leg
  • Muscles in the foot or thighs (less frequently) are also affected.

After the cramp has passed, the muscle may be uncomfortable for up to 24 hours after it has ceased.

Things you can do about leg cramps yourself

Stretching and massaging the muscle during a cramp may help to alleviate the discomfort, however most cramps will go away on their own. While paracetamol and ibuprofen can assist to relieve muscular discomfort after a cramp, they will not aid when a cramp is in progress because they take too long to begin working.

Preventing cramps

Regular calf-stretching exercises may help to lessen the frequency of cramps, but they may not be able to totally prevent them from occurring. The best way to stretch your calf muscles

  1. Stretch your arms out in front of a wall until your hands are barely touching the surface of the wall
  2. Check to see that you are able to stand up straight and that your feet are flat on the floor before proceeding. Lean forward, placing your hands on the wall, until you can feel your leg muscles stretching and relaxing. For 2 or 3 seconds, keep your hand still. Stand up straight once again
  3. 3 times a day (the last time right before night), repeat a couple times for 5 minutes per session.

If the number of cramps decreases, you may just need to execute the exercise once or twice a day instead of three or four times.

Non-urgent advice:See a GP if:

  • It is causing sleep disruption
  • You also experience numbness or swelling in your legs
  • The cramps persist more than 10 minutes
  • You have any additional symptoms or concerns


Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: how to contact a GP

It is still critical to get medical attention if you are experiencing symptoms. To make contact with your primary care physician’s office, dial: Learn more about utilizing the National Health Service (NHS) during COVID-19.

Treatment for leg cramps from a GP

A general practitioner will evaluate you in order to determine the source of your leg cramps. They will recommend a course of therapy based on the underlying problem. This may be anything like:

  • Exercises to stretch the muscles
  • Quinine pills if stretching does not assist

Quinine is not suited for all people and should be avoided if possible. The doctor will go through any dangers and side effects that may be involved with you.

Causes of leg cramps

Leg cramps can be brought on by a variety of factors, including:

  • Ageing
  • Exerting too much force on muscles during exercise, which can be exacerbated in hot or humid conditions
  • Pregnancy (typically in the latter stages)
  • Certain medications, such as cholesterol-lowering statins or diuretics
  • Not drinking enough fluids (dehydration)
  • And a variety of other factors. alcoholic liver damage caused by excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages

The cause of certain cramping is still unclear. The page was last reviewed on December 16, 2020. The deadline for the next review is December 16, 2023.

Muscle Cramps: Is There Anything To Worry About?

Carmen Fookes, BPharm, was in charge of the medical review. The most recent update was made on March 5, 2021.

Hands Up If You Suffer From Charley Horse

Muscle cramps are referred to as “Charley Horses” in colloquial language. Know what I’m talking about: those terrible spasms that cause you to stop in your tracks or push you to spring out of bed like Superman! Is it ever the case that a muscle cramp is more than just a muscle spasm? What signs and symptoms should you be concerned about? When should you schedule an appointment with a doctor? To help you understand your cramps a little better and get back on your horse as fast as possible, we’ve put together some information for you.

The Hard Working Life Of A Muscle

The muscles in our body number more than 600 in number. Muscles allow us to walk, talk, kick a ball, and generally exist as humans because they pump our blood around our bodies, aid in digestion, focus our vision, and allow us to walk, talk, kick a ball, and basically exist as humans. Our skeletal muscles are the muscles that we can control with our thoughts. We have smooth and cardiac muscles, which are those that are found in our digestive tract and heart, that are completely independent of our conscious control.

Any Muscle Can Cramp

Muscle cramps can occur in every muscle, in any portion of the body, according to the scientific literature. Stomach cramps can be caused by conditions such as diarrhea, period discomfort can be caused by cramps in the uterus, and asthma can be caused by the spasming or cramping of our breathing passages. However, for the sake of this presentation, we will concentrate on cramps that occur in the muscles of our musculoskeletal system. They are the ones that move our joints and collaborate with our bones to provide us with power and endurance.

We’re talking about the ones who are presumably under our free control.

When A Muscle Normally Under Our Control Behaves Badly

Consequently, if we have control over these muscles. What causes them to cramp? Our muscles, on the other hand, are extremely sensitive. When electrical impulses from our brain travel down nerves in our spinal cord to a muscle, this is known as normal muscular contraction or contraction. When the nerve signal reaches the muscle, it induces the release of calcium and other chemicals, which causes proteins within the muscle to glide past one another, resulting in contraction.

Muscle cramps can be caused by anything that interferes with either the electrical signaling mechanism or the release of calcium or other substances from the muscles.

Certain Conditions Make Muscles More Vulnerable to Cramps

In the aftermath of a stroke, with multiple sclerosis, after trauma or spinal cord injury, and after amputation, damage to nerve pathways can develop. Salt balances in our bodies are quickly upset by excessive perspiration, dehydration, and other factors, such as in seniors and sportsmen, as well as during pregnancy. Cramping is a side effect of several medications, such as diuretics, which regulate bodily fluids, and statins, which treat excessive cholesterol. Muscles that have been overworked, stretched, or kept in a fixed posture for an extended period of time, as well as those with insufficient blood flow, are more susceptible.

When Should I Be Worried?

A visit to the doctor is rarely necessary because most muscle cramps subside on their own within 10 minutes of occurrence. However, it is critical to get medical attention if you are experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Cause excruciating agony or anguish Are connected with swelling, redness, or changes in the appearance of the skin
  • Make it difficult to bear weight on a leg or cause muscular weakness in the affected limb This occurs on a regular basis
  • Take no action in response to self-help initiatives
  • Have no evident cause, such as dehydration or exercise, and do not appear to be related to one another.

Self-Help Measures to Lessen the Pain

Stretching and massaging the afflicted muscle might aid in the relaxation of the muscle. When you get calf or hamstring cramps (back of the thigh), put weight on the afflicted leg and lift the toes off the ground. If you are unable to stand, take a seat with your legs stretched out before you. Causing cramping in your quadriceps, try sitting in a chair to keep yourself steady and pulling your foot up towards your buttock to alleviate the pain and stiffness. Heat can also be used to relax and relieve tight and strained muscles.

Preventing Cramps

Some persons who have frequent cramps may benefit from regular calf stretching (3 times a day for 5 minutes each time). Put your feet level on the ground and bend forward to lean against the wall until you can feel the stttttttttttttchhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Repeat this numerous times and hold for as long as you are able to maintain your balance. Avoid sleeping on your back if you are prone to night cramps by using a pillow to hold up your feet in bed, and keep blankets free so that your feet don’t become confined while sleeping.

Athletes: Avoid Being Sidelined By Cramping

Cramping is a common occurrence among athletes in particular. Those who are “salty sweaters” are particularly vulnerable to a charley horse because of the combination of salt loss, fluid loss, and muscular exhaustion that occurs throughout the process. Diets should contain enough salt (sodium) to compensate for this loss, but they should not be excessive. It is also a good idea to replenish salt and other electrolytes during a race or longer training session with some sports drinks, but avoid ingesting sports drinks that are heavy in sugar.

Natural Remedies And Other Treatments

It is possible to maintain the balance of salts in your body by eating foods that are high in potassium (such as bananas, dried fruit, mushrooms, apple cider vinegar), calcium (such as dairy products, leafy greens, sardines), or magnesium (such as beans, almonds, and green vegetables). Some persons, such as athletes, lose a significant amount of salt from excessive perspiration and may require a little increase in salt in their diet in order to avoid hyponatremia, which can result in cramping.

Other therapies that have been attempted include ginkgo biloba, Japanese quince, and vitamin B, vitamin E, and magnesium supplements, among other things.

Medicine For Cramps

Quinine has been used to cure cramps in the past, but due to its toxicity, it is no longer approved by the FDA for the treatment of nighttime leg cramps. If your cramps continue to bother you despite your best efforts, consult your doctor. It is possible to use different medications, and pain killers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil,Motrin) may be beneficial. Other medications to consider include: Your doctor can assess if you require a mineral supplement, such as magnesium, and may also undertake other examinations to attempt to discover the origin of your symptoms and discomfort.

Finished: Muscle Cramps: Is There Anything To Worry About?

  • Muscle cramps are a painful condition. Hand or foot spasms, according to the Mayo Clinic in 2021. 2021
  • Medline Plus
  • 2022
  • Don’t let foot cramps and Charley Horses get in the way of your progress. Foot cramps and charley horses are caused by seven different factors, each with a different treatment. Updated on September 10, 2020. Cleveland Clinic
  • Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Further information

Always check with your healthcare practitioner to confirm that the information contained on this page is accurate and applicable to your specific situation. Disclaimer of Medical Importance

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.


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


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.
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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.


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

Why You Should Never Ignore Leg Cramps: Clement Banda, MD: Dermatologist

Cramping of the muscles An organization founded by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in 1922. The Winkelman Journal of Women’s Studies was accessed on November 18, 2015. Leg cramps in the middle of the night; Muscle spasms, last accessed on November 18, 2015; Professional Edition of the Merck Manual On November 18, 2015, I was able to access;

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. If you have any questions, please contact us.

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.

  • There are, fortunately, remedies available for this condition.
  • Banda often does a color duplex ultrasound to check the quality of your veins when he feels that your blood flow is impaired.
  • Following a thorough examination of the data, Dr.
  • As a last resort, he can conduct one of many minimally invasive treatments to correct the issue if the previous efforts are insufficient.
  • To schedule an appointment with Dr.

What to know about leg cramps, sudden pains in your leg

Nobody has to be an Olympian to understand the agony of a leg cramp or to be surprised by a shooting painthat sensation appears out of nowhere. You don’t even have to be a weekend warrior to participate. Leg cramps, also known as calf cramps or hamstring cramps, and often fondly referred to as a Charley Horse, can affect anybody, whether they are athletes or couch potatoes. The good news is that most cramps — which can occur anywhere on the leg — aren’t anything to be concerned about the majority of the time, despite their discomfort.

calf massage / discomfort / cramp relief Getty Images is a stock photography company.

1. Understanding the charley horse

First, some fundamentals of biology. The emergency medicine specialist Dr. Scott Dresden of Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago said that a leg cramp is basically just a muscle clenching and tightening on its own without any external stimulus. It can be quite unpleasant for a few seconds or even many minutes, which is an issue. Unfortunately, the exact cause of leg cramps (or other muscular pains) is not fully understood at this time. According to him, “there are a lot of different theories on why it happens, but there is no one conclusive explanation.” Cramps can be caused by a variety of factors, including dehydration (especially among athletes or any of us working out in hot, humid conditions.) Another possibility is an electrolyte imbalance, which might be the cause.

Leg cramps is a common adverse effect of several drugs, including aspirin.

UPMC Rooney Sports Complex in Pittsburgh’s Ron DeAngelo, director of sports performance training, explained that some people may develop microscopic microtears in their muscles as a result of the powerful contractions.

“This is especially true when it’s a nasty, painful cramp,” DeAngelo added. In certain cases, it may take up to 24 hours for the micro-tears to mend completely.

2. When a cramp wakes you up

It starts off as an enjoyable dream while you’re sleeping, and the next thing you know, you’re in bed writhing in pain because your calf, thigh, or what appears to be your entire leg has cramped. It’s possible that your foot was cramping. You are not alone in your feelings. “These kind of evening or nocturnal cramps are frequent, and most of the time they are not suggestive of a medical condition,” said Dr. Michael Hanak, an assistant professor of family medicine at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

  1. The reasons why you could be suffering midnight leg cramps are numerous and varied.
  2. It’s possible that you’re pregnant or dehydrated.
  3. Many of these overnight leg cramps are caused by poor sleeping posture, according to Dr.
  4. During the day, you may want to make certain that you are wearing appropriate footwear.
  5. If you want to avoid a startling wakeup, drink plenty of fluids and consider extending your legs before you fall asleep.
  6. If you get a cramping feeling in your leg at night, don’t mix it with the “crawling” sensation that occurs with a sleep problem called restless leg syndrome, which does not produce cramping.

3. Weekend warrior leg cramps

So you started running or walking this summer, only to have your calves, quadriceps, and hamstring muscles hurting as a result. According to DeAngelo, the most likely explanation is that you were just dehydrated. According to him, “if people are deconditioned and begin exercising, it’s possible that they may underestimate how much they are truly sweating.” Because of all of your perspiration, you’ll need to drink extra water. According to him, if you don’t, the communication between the nerves that control your muscles’ ability to relax or tense may become faulty, resulting in leg cramps and other symptoms.

He also suggests that you drink plenty of water before beginning your workout.

4. When to see a doctor

Numerous people are concerned that a leg or calf cramp indicates the presence of an underlying medical condition, such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is simply defined as a blood clot that develops in one of the deep veins of your body, usually in the leg. Cramping, which commonly occurs in the calf, is one of the signs of plantar fasciitis. Other symptoms include swelling of one side (usually the leg), foot, and ankle, as well as significant pain in the foot and ankle. It is possible that one section of the leg is warmer than other areas of the leg.

  1. According to Dr.
  2. It is preferable to consult someone as soon as possible if you are experiencing signs of a DVT or are just concerned, according to him.
  3. Leg cramps, on the other hand, can be a recurring problem for certain people.
  4. According to Dr.

“If that’s a concern, my recommendation is to speak with your doctor to see what can be done and what modifications can be made,” Hanak advised patients. To get easy ways to improve your life every daily, follow TODAY Health & Wellness on Facebook and sign up for our newsletter “One Small Thing.”

5 Steps to Get Rid of Calf Muscle Soreness After Cramping

Muscle cramps can produce soreness that lasts for a long time. Photo courtesy of phototake/iStock/Getty Images. Causing abrupt and extreme pain, muscular cramps, or charley horses, briefly cause your calf muscle to feel as if it is stuck in place, according to the Mayo Clinic. Despite the fact that the cramp gradually disappears, discomfort may linger as an unpleasant memory of the experience. After a charley horse, some moderate stretching and application of ice or heat are usually sufficient to alleviate any remaining discomfort.

What Is a Muscle Cramp?

It is possible to get muscle cramps when your muscles contract uncontrollably and remain in the contracted position. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, calf muscle cramps are among the most common types of muscle cramps to experience. You may notice that a cramped muscle feels hard to the touch, and that the muscle appears distorted or twitches under the skin. Cramps can last anywhere from a few seconds to as long as 15 minutes. Cramping may occur in groups in some cases, with another cramp occurring immediately after the first one subsides.

Pain in Calf After Cramp

When you have a cramp, you should stop whatever you were doing that was causing it right away. Then, gently stretch the muscle by flexing and pointing your foot, or by completing a calf stretch against a wall, as directed by your doctor. You may also use your fingers to gently massage the calf muscle to help it relax more. Warmth used soon after the cramp, such as via a heating pad or a warm bath, can assist in relaxing the tense muscles. If you experience persistent discomfort following a leg cramp, you can apply ice to the affected area for 10 minutes at a time to assist dull pain receptors and lessen pain in the area.

Avoiding Calf Cramps

Muscle cramps are believed to be caused mostly by a lack of conditioning, as well as insufficient stretching and warming up before to exercise. You may avoid more cramping by getting into good condition and stretching before every activity session you participate in. As a result, you should stretch not just your calf muscles, but also your hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes. This is because tension in any of these muscles can lead to calf muscle cramping as well. Maintaining hydration while exposed to high temperatures and humidity, particularly while exercising, can help you avoid cramps and the subsequent muscular soreness that might occur.

Leg cramps in the evening might be caused by overuse of the calf muscle during activity.

Additionally, choosing supportive footwear, particularly if you have flat feet or other structural difficulties, can help to lessen the likelihood of getting leg cramps after a long run.

Warnings and Precautions

The presence of lasting discomfort following an episode of charley horse isn’t normally indicative of a significant medical problem, but in rare instances it may indicate the presence of a potentially life-threatening medical disease known as deep vein thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) happens when a blood clot develops deep within a vein and is difficult to treat. Leg discomfort and edema are common signs and symptoms of deep vein thrombosis. It is possible that the skin above the affected region will feel heated and appear red or blue as a result of the discomfort.

When it comes to blood clots in the leg, they are particularly serious because if they move through your circulation to your lungs, they can be deadly.

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