Charlie Horse?

Centralia, Missouri
February 21, 2016 6:01am CST
So why is it called a charlie horse (popular colloquial term in America at least for bad leg cramps/spasms. I mean the ones that cause your toes to arch towards the floor and the muscle to visibly twitch and tighten under the skin, and hurt really bad)? These thoughts were not going through my head when I woke up this morning with a horrible one in my left calf, as both the front and the back muscles were spasming. No, I was just thinking, "Ow, Ow, Ow, Ow." Now, now though, as I sit here and stretch gently, I found myself wondering. Google brought me this gem, Charley the horse. There is some records of a ground crew in Chicago in the 1880's who used a lame horse named Charley. When a player was injured, he would get jokingly called Charley the horse, or that there was a pitcher named Charles, nicknamed Old Hoss, who got a leg cramp running bases on day. I could not find multiple sources for this, so I don't actually know where the name came from for sure. I do know that it is often a sign of overuse, a need magnesium, potassium or calcium, or a sign of dehydration, among other things. I walked and stretched until it stopped cramping, and then grabbed a multivitamin and a couple potassium caplets before I left this morning for work. I have a feeling my potassium was low, so hopefully it eases. With mine, once I have one, I can actually feel the muscle twitching and stuff the rest of the day. I know if I stretched wrong, I could easily set off another. The other leg has that achy feel I get before I get one, so definitely need to up the vitamins or something. So what are these called for your? And what do you do to relieve them?
13 people like this
13 responses
@TheHorse (70780)
• Pleasant Hill, California
21 Feb 16
I call 'em cramps. I generally drink lots of Gatorade.
2 people like this
• Centralia, Missouri
21 Feb 16
too much sugar, although I read once you can make a version with coconut water
1 person likes this
@Marcyaz (35623)
• United States
22 Feb 16
@TheHorse Really Gatorade, that stuff is not supposed to be very good for you with all that sugar in it.
1 person likes this
@TheHorse (70780)
• Pleasant Hill, California
22 Feb 16
@Jessicalynnt I drink Coconut Water too.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Feb 16
They do go away and if you can stop thinking abut them they go away faster.
2 people like this
• Centralia, Missouri
21 Feb 16
now how do you stop thinking about something that hurts that much? lol
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Feb 16
@Jessicalynnt It isn't easy - I usually get them in the pool....go figure.
1 person likes this
• Centralia, Missouri
21 Feb 16
@AbbyGreenhill now that's odd, I wonder why
1 person likes this
@Susan2015 (21306)
• United States
21 Feb 16
Those can really hurt. I get them once in a while in the bottom of one of my legs.
2 people like this
• Centralia, Missouri
21 Feb 16
this one was front and back of calf, always feels odd, to have what little muscles that runs along the front to cramp, the back is common for me, the front not so much
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (170338)
• Switzerland
22 Feb 16
I have always and only called them cramps, I do not believe that we call them using another term in Italy. At least I have never heard another way to call them in 60 years.
1 person likes this
• Centralia, Missouri
22 Feb 16
whatever they are, they need to stop!
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (170338)
• Switzerland
22 Feb 16
@Jessicalynnt It is very annoying I know, it happened to me years ago, but now I have no more leg cramps.
1 person likes this
• Centralia, Missouri
23 Feb 16
@LadyDuck mine are still lurking.
1 person likes this
@Marcyaz (35623)
• United States
21 Feb 16
I eat bananas often and when I do get a Charley HorseI try to move my feet and leg then I get up and try to move around until it is gone.
1 person likes this
• Centralia, Missouri
21 Feb 16
pretty much, I just got potassium from the vitamin aisle rather than bananas
1 person likes this
@boiboing (12882)
• Northampton, England
21 Feb 16
I don't have a name for them but mine went away when I started eating a banana every day.
1 person likes this
• Centralia, Missouri
21 Feb 16
pretty much, not a huge fan on bananas, although I do get one now and then, so I have a bottle of potassium pills.
@JudyEv (130066)
• Bunbury, Australia
21 Feb 16
I haven't heard this term for leg cramps. I don't know any colloquial terms for cramping. I just know it's painful.
1 person likes this
• Centralia, Missouri
21 Feb 16
yeah, it's what we call them anyways, and yes, yes it is
1 person likes this
@marlina (76564)
• Canada
21 Feb 16
Funny that you should mention this topic today as I just had cramps in my left foot. I hope you don't have Charlie horses very often, pretty painful.
1 person likes this
• Centralia, Missouri
21 Feb 16
not every day, but once I have one, will prob have another 2 before I get them to go away, prob diet. Need to just take potassium every day
@allknowing (68582)
• India
22 Feb 16
Cramps are uninvited guests specially when one is a asleep. I stand up for a while and then go back to bed One should hydrate oneself.
@BelleStarr (39575)
• United States
22 Feb 16
I also take potassium when I start getting leg cramps. My leg sometimes hurts for days.
@PatZAnthony (12863)
• Charlotte, North Carolina
22 Feb 16
We were told it is usually a magnesium/potassium issue, but have also read about dehydration being a possible issue.
@celticeagle (119107)
• Boise, Idaho
21 Feb 16
When I jogged each day 7.5 miles I used to get 'charley horses' in the bottom of my feet in the middle of the night. They hurt so bad. All I find about this is the same as what you have.
@UncleJoe (10618)
• Virginia Beach, Virginia
21 Feb 16
The filter won't let me print what I call them.