The other night my spouse awoke moaning! As I was pulled from sleep and asked what was wrong, I was told that it was a very painful leg cramp. Has this ever happened to you? If you’re not already familiar with this type of sharp, shooting cramp in the leg, it is known as the “Charley horse”. If you have experienced a Charley horse before, you’ll recall how unwelcome it is, and how quickly you wish it would “go out to pasture”!
Some people experience these more than others, certain factors play in. A biggie is how hydrated/dehydrated you are. Dehydration tends to be a big cause of the “Charley horse”. If you haven’t consumed enough fluids throughout the day/ expelled a lot of fluids from your body through sweating, you are more prone to this type of leg cramping.
Being on one’s feet a lot throughout the day without resting is another cause. If you have a job that requires constant standing, your legs and feet take a lot of stress. Muscles tend to cramp up more when they’ve been over-worked without a rest. The combination of standing for long periods of time and not drinking enough throughout the day can be a recipe for disaster.
The Charley horse is another name for a muscle spasm. Because the muscles don’t relax for several seconds or more, the pain that goes hand in hand with this can be severe. Some charley horses are so severe that they can result in the muscle being sore for a few hours, or even a day! The causes for Charley horse as stated on “healthline” are:
· Inadequate blood flow to the muscle
· Muscle injuries
· Exercising in excessive heat or cold
· Overuse of a specific muscle during exercise
· Stress, most often in the neck muscles
· Not stretching before exercise
· Nerve compression in the spine
· Taking diuretic, which can lead to low potassium levels
· Mineral depletion, too little calcium, potassium, and sodium in the blood
The Charley horse is never a fun experience. In further blogs I will discuss this topic more. If you suspect that nerve damage may be to blame, definitely see a podiatrist. Dr. Eric Abrams is a skilled podiatrist that has two central NJ offices available to visit. Call him if any foot or leg issue is plaguing you, he can help!