Don’t Let Charley’s Horse Slow You Down
We may not know the exact answer to the nickname behind the spasm but we have some facts that may help. We have all had them and it usually starts with a shout out in pain and abruptly stopping whatever it is you are doing. Since the contracting muscle doesn’t stop for several seconds or more, neither does the discomfort. This American baseball slang term, originating in the 1800’s, is now a common cramp in or out of sports. Although there are a few conflicting stories behind its origin, there is no doubt that it will stop you right in your tracks.
What causes the spasm?
- Muscle injuries
- Excessive exercising in heat or cold environments
- Stress or over use of a muscle
- Lack of good blood flow to that muscle
- Insufficient stretching before exercise
- Malfunctioning pinched nerves
- Vitamin deficiencies
These symptoms can also be a warning sign of other serious health problems and should be considered when visiting your doctor. Medical attention for recurring problems is always a wise choice and can never hurt to get an opinion or examination.
How can it be prevented?
- Stretch before and after all exercise
- Do not exercise the same muscles two days in a row
- Stretch before going to bed
- Drink beverages that have electrolytes to help with hydration
- Drink plenty of water all day
- Avoid exercise in extreme weather conditions
What to do during a spasm?
- If you are laying down or in bed try to stand up and put pressure on the foot
- Use warmth to increase blood flow and relax the muscle
- If it is persistent you can use ibuprofen
- If it occurs often then a trip to the doctor is suggested
While these sudden cramps can be generally managed easily from home, they should still be monitored. If severe and frequent foot spasms occur and you feel like there is more to the problem, call one of our offices and schedule an appointment. Foot and Ankle Center of Fort Lee has six locations between New Jersey and New York and can be easily contacted at 201-363-9662. Our team of doctors are ready to knock that Charley Horse out of the race and get you back in shape for the Spring.