A charley horse is often due to long exercise or physical labor, especially in the heat. Dehydration, age, pregnancy, and certain medical conditions may increase the risk of charley horse.

A charley horse is harmless but can be very painful. It often awakens a person during the night.

Massage can relieve cramping pain. Stretches and hydration during exercise or work can prevent a charley horse.

A sudden, involuntary contraction of one or more muscles (cramp), often in the legs.

  • muscle cramps

Consult a doctor for medical advice

Sources:  Mayo Clinic and others.


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Cases per year

More than 200,000 US cases per year

Usually self-treatable

Usually self-diagnosable

Lab tests or imaging not required

Short-term: resolves within days to weeks

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