Everyone has experienced the pain of a charley horse, which is really a muscle cramp. It is an uncontrolled contraction of the muscle and may produce intense pain. Muscle cramps can develop in any muscle in the body although they most often occur in the calf or foot, and they usually happen while lying in bed or playing sports or exercising. Overuse, injury, muscle strain, or staying in the same position for a long time can produce cramping.
Night time calf cramps usually strike a person when in bed. It is possible that the day’s activities such as a tough workout, wearing high heels, or taking some drugs, such as diuretics, may spark the cramp.
Cramps during exercise can be prompted by a number of factors, such as overexertion or muscle fatigue. Dehydration or sweating too much can also create an imbalance of potassium and sodium in the blood which can lead to cramping.
Scott Byrd is coordinator of the Fort Sanders Sports Medicine program, certified by the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) and Licensed by the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners. Scott is also a National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) Approved Clinical Instructor as well as a NATA Board of Certification approved examiner.

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