What Is a Charley Horse?

A “Charley Horse” is not a person or an animal. It is a thing, a cramp in your arms or legs. If you have ever exercised too much and hours later felt that you couldn’t move without your muscles aching, you’ve gat a “Charley Horse.”

A “Charley Horse” is actually a strain or soreness in your muscles that occurs when these muscles work too hard at an exercise they are not used to. What happens is’ that when muscle cells contract in physical activity, they tighten up and shorten. Since muscles are attached to your bones, this contraction pulls the bone and makes it move.

If you play or exercise too long, you first feel tired. This is because you are using up the oxygen that your muscles need to function. At the same time, not enough blood is coming to these muscles to bring this needed oxygen. There is also not enough blood to take away the wastes that have been stored up.

Resting your aching muscles and keeping them warm will restore the normal flow of blood and help relax them again.