Calf Cramp (Charley Horse)
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Reviewed By:

Unnati Patel, MD, MSc

Unnati Patel, MD, MSc (Family Medicine)

Dr.Patel serves as Center Medical Director and a Primary Care Physician at Oak Street Health in Arizona. She graduated from the Zhejiang University School of Medicine prior to working in clinical research focused on preventive medicine at the University of Illinois and the University of Nevada. Dr. Patel earned her MSc in Global Health from Georgetown University, during which she worked with the WHO in Sierra Leone and Save the Children in Washington, D.C. She went on to complete her Family Medicine residency in Chicago at Norwegian American Hospital before completing a fellowship in Leadership in Value-based Care in conjunction with the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, where she earned her MBA. Dr. Patel’s interests include health tech and teaching medical students and she currently serves as Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Arizona School of Medicine.

Kent C Doan, MD

Kent C Doan, MD (Orthopedics)

Dr Doan Graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine and completed residency training in Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Colorado. He completed additional fellowship training in Orthopedic Sports Medicine at the prestigious Steadman Clinic and Steadman Philippon Research Institute in Vail, Colorado. He is a practicing Orthopedic Surgeon who specializes in complex and revision knee and shoulder surgery at the Kansas City Orthopedic Institute. He also holds an assistant professorship at the University of Kansas City.

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Content updated on Jul 3, 2024

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People with similar symptoms also use Ubie's symptom checker to find possible causes

  • Foot cramping

  • Leg cramps

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About the Symptom

Leg cramps are episodes of sudden pain in the muscles of the leg caused by an involuntary contracting (shortening) of the leg muscle.

When to see a doctor

Seek professional care if you experience any of the following symptoms

  • Fever

  • Disorder of consciousness

  • Seizure attack

Possible Causes

Generally, Calf cramp (Charley Horse) can be related to:

  • Leg Cramps

    Leg cramps are episodes of sudden pain in leg muscles caused by involuntary contractions (shortening) of the leg muscle. Most leg cramps happen in the calf muscles and, less commonly, in the feet and thighs.

  • Diabetic Neuropathy

    Diabetic neuropathy is a kind of nerve damage that can happen in people with long-term diabetes. High blood sugar can harm nerves all over the body, mainly in the legs and feet.

  • Muscle Cramps of All 4 Limbs

    Limb muscle spasm is the involuntary contraction of muscles in the limbs, often caused by various underlying conditions.

  • Dialysis Disequilibrium Syndrome (DDS)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Lumbar Vertebrae Disk Herniation
  • Hyperuricemia

  • Neuropathic Pain
  • Diabetes Mellitus

Related serious diseases

Sometimes, Calf cramp (Charley Horse) may be related to these serious diseases:

  • Heatstroke

    This is a life-threatening emergency where the person's body temperature is dangerously high and they display neurological abnormalities. This occurs when the body fails to regulate its temperature properly. It can be caused by the surrounding environment (heat, moisture) or internal factors (dehydration, strenuous exercise).

Doctor's Diagnostic Questions

Your doctor may ask these questions to check for this symptom:

  • Have you experienced leg cramps lately?

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Find Similar Symptoms

Similar symptoms or complaints

References

  • Charley Horse - WebMD

    https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/muscle-spasms-cramps-charley-horse

Reviewed By:

Unnati Patel, MD, MSc

Unnati Patel, MD, MSc (Family Medicine)

Dr.Patel serves as Center Medical Director and a Primary Care Physician at Oak Street Health in Arizona. She graduated from the Zhejiang University School of Medicine prior to working in clinical research focused on preventive medicine at the University of Illinois and the University of Nevada. Dr. Patel earned her MSc in Global Health from Georgetown University, during which she worked with the WHO in Sierra Leone and Save the Children in Washington, D.C. She went on to complete her Family Medicine residency in Chicago at Norwegian American Hospital before completing a fellowship in Leadership in Value-based Care in conjunction with the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, where she earned her MBA. Dr. Patel’s interests include health tech and teaching medical students and she currently serves as Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Arizona School of Medicine.

Kent C Doan, MD

Kent C Doan, MD (Orthopedics)

Dr Doan Graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine and completed residency training in Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Colorado. He completed additional fellowship training in Orthopedic Sports Medicine at the prestigious Steadman Clinic and Steadman Philippon Research Institute in Vail, Colorado. He is a practicing Orthopedic Surgeon who specializes in complex and revision knee and shoulder surgery at the Kansas City Orthopedic Institute. He also holds an assistant professorship at the University of Kansas City.

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