Charley horse also known as corkie is nothing but another name for the painful leg muscle cramps or spasms. Almost everyone experiences a leg muscle spasm at least once in a lifetime. Charley horse is also associated with painful bruises, swelling, hematoma or internal bleeding, etc, on the thigh, knees, calf, or lower legs, etc. There are many symptoms of charley horse though it strikes suddenly and involuntarily when the muscles are tired or weakened by the injury or strain. The symptoms of charley horse include, muscle spasm which may not be painful, swelling, bruising, and tingling in one part of leg which may or may not be associated with pain, and muscle contraction, etc. In some cases, people may also experience tenderness in the leg before the onset of an actual charley horse. Well, charley horse is not a life-threatening health problem but it is certainly serious and hazardous for the leg muscles if neglected. So it is essential to get rid of them as soon as possible.
Causes of Charley Horse
Charley horse is a condition which is most commonly faced by sportsmen. Since it occurs when leg muscles are strained or hurt and which is generally the case with sportsmen. But other people too can be threatened with this condition due to some reasons. Given below are some of the common causes of charley horse.
- Mineral and vitamin deficiency
- Side effects of certain drugs or medicines
- Chronic muscle fatigue
- Inadequate calcium absorption by the body
- Damaged neurons in the brain
- Weight gain during pregnancy
- Leg injuries
- Firstly, you have to stop straining your legs further and provide them proper rest.
- If the leg cramp lasts for more than a few minutes, you can apply an ice pack on the spasmed area to soothe the muscles.
- Elevating the spasmed area is one of the effective treatment for the charley horse. All you have to do is lie down on the bed and place your legs a little higher, say on the pillows, so that the blood flows towards the heart so the muscle congestion and contraction is released.
- For people who suffer from leg cramps in the night, taking vitamin E regularly can help strengthen leg muscles and provide you some relief from the frequent charley horse.
- Proper stretching exercises and light massage therapy can help get rid of charley horse. But remember not to undergo vigorous massage as it can cause further damage to the muscles.
- Including potassium rich foods, such as, banana in the daily diet can help fortify the muscles and soothe the aching muscles.
- Having a slow light walk can also improve the blood circulation and relieve the tightness from the leg muscles.
One must also use adequate preventive measures to avoid charley horse. Warming up and stretching before exercising, keeping the body well hydrated every time, consuming minerals and vitamins, and using proper body padding during intense outdoor sports, etc., can reduce your chances of suffering from charley horse. But, one must learn to relax the leg muscles properly during and after the onset of charley horse to avoid further complications.