A charley horse can be caused by a direct blow or sudden stretch of the muscle, but most of the time they’re caused by strain or fatigue during exercise.
If you have a cramp, these actions may provide relief:
Improper sitting position. Sitting with your legs crossed or your toes pointed for long periods of time shortens the calf muscles, which could lead to cramping. Prolonged standing. Research suggests that people who stand for long periods of time at work are more likely to experience nocturnal leg cramps.
Muscle cramps are usually harmless and don’t require medical attention. However, you should see a doctor if your muscle cramps are severe, don’t improve with stretching, or persist for a long time. This could be a sign of an underlying medical condition.
These spasms are marked by uncomfortable muscle contractions. If the contracting muscles don’t relax for several seconds or more, the pain can be severe. 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.
A DVT blood clot can cause a calf cramp that feels a lot like a charley horse. Like leg pain, the cramping sensation with DVT will persist and even worsen with time. It won’t clear up with stretching or walking it off like an ordinary charley horse.
See your doctor as soon as possible if you have:
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. Swelling in both legs along with breathing problems. Any serious leg symptoms that develop for no apparent reason.
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.
The answer is yes. Poor circulation in the legs’ arteries can be a sign of poor circulation in heart arteries. A person having leg cramps, not being able to walk as much or having pain in the legs at rest must be tested for poor circulation or Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD).
Cramping. They’re a total pain in the butt. Well, actually, in the side… and stomach… and legs. Every runner—from the everyday to the elite—has experienced the painful, wrenching, stop-everything-and-fall-to-your-knees horror that is the mid-run cramp.
Magnesium is a widely used remedy for leg cramps.
If you have leg pain from cramps or overuse, take these steps first:
Glucose is required for muscles to properly contract and relax, as is a balanced exchange of electrolytes, such as calcium, magnesium and potassium. When imbalances happen, through either high or low blood sugar, cramps can occur. During low glucose levels, this results in muscles becoming starved for glucose.
Drink plenty of fluids. Sports drinks, such as Gatorade, will often help leg cramps.