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:
Some of the other causes include:
Step 1: Get plenty of vitamin D-3, magnesium, potassium, and calcium (get tested for your blood levels of these and iron, too). Deficiencies are linked to cramping.
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.
Magnesium is a widely used remedy for leg cramps.
Too little potassium, calcium or magnesium in your diet can contribute to leg cramps. Diuretics — medications often prescribed for high blood pressure — also can deplete these minerals.
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.
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.
Nocturnal Leg Cramp Prevention
Drink plenty of fluids. Sports drinks, such as Gatorade, will often help leg cramps.
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.
A deficiency of magnesium is the leading cause of muscle spasms, and it’s the leading cause of Charley Horses.