Why Is It Called Charley Horse?

Are you familiar with the term ‘charley horse’? Have you ever experienced its strange and often cramp-like symptoms?

In sports, it’s a common injury. But why is it called a ‘charley horse’? Has it always been by this name, or has its origin been slightly mysterious?

In this article, we’ll uncover the mystery behind this common ailment and look at why it’s so-called a ‘charley horse’. From old vaudeville acts to baseball fields, discover the historical origins of this term and much more.

So without further ado, let’s delve into why it’s called a charley horse.

Why Is It Called Charley Horse?

Have you ever experienced a sudden, sharp pain in the thigh, calf, or upper arm?

This type of cramp, commonly referred to as a Charley Horse, can be so painful you may end up on the ground. But where did the term come from? Read on to get an inside look at the mysterious Charley Horse.

What Is A Charley Horse?

A Charley Horse is a painful cramp of the muscles usually near the thigh, calf or upper arm.

It’s typically a sudden and intense muscle spasm that can last for a few seconds or up to 15 minutes. While the pain associated with this type of cramp can be incredibly debilitating, the condition is typically harmless and is caused by muscle strain or dehydration.

The Origin Of Charley Horse

The phrase is believed to have originated in the 19th century, when professional baseball player Charlie “Old Hoss” Radburn was plagued by cramping in his calves.

While playing for the Providence Grays of the National League in 1890, Radburn experienced a particularly violent spasm in his calf muscle during a game against the Boston Beaneaters. While Radburn was unable to finish the game due to this injury, the phrase “Charlie horse” began to spread among the sportswriters covering the game.

Treating Charley Horses

Fortunately, there are several thoughtful and effective ways to address and treat Charley Horses.

Massaging the affected area can help relieve pain and discomfort, as well as stretching or using a heating pad. Additionally, drinking plenty of fluids and eating foods that are high in potassium can go a long way towards prevention.


Charley Horses might seem mysterious and scary, but the condition is usually harmless and will typically go away on its own. By understanding the origin of the phrase as well as how to treat and prevent future cramps, we can make sure we don’t end up dropping to the ground the next time we experience a Charley Horse. Citation URL:- https://www. livestrong. com/article/225263-what-causes-a-charley-horse/ – https://www. healthline. com/health/charley-horse- https://www. verywellfit. com/what-is-a-charley-horse-cramp-290969

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