A charley horse is a muscle cramp in your calf muscle. While rarely harmful, a charley horse can be painful, and can happen more frequently with age. A charley horse may be caused by low levels of calcium, potassium, or magnesium. Dehydration, poor circulation in your legs, and certain medications may also trigger an uncomfortable charley horse.*

The first step to avoiding a charley horse is to stay well hydrated. Make sure you drink enough water so that your urine is a pale yellow color. Regular stretching and leg exercises may also reduce your risk of a charley horse.

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Photo | Randy Lemoine | ING NYC Marathon 2010 | Used under a Creative Commons Attribution License


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