Charley Horse Name Origin

February 21, 2012 by staff 

Charley Horse Name Origin, A “Charley horse” or “Charlie horse,” also known as a “Tommy horse,” is a popular North American colloquial term for painful spasms or cramps in the leg muscles, typically lasting anywhere from a few seconds to a few hours. It can also refer to a bruising of the quadriceps muscle of the anterior or lateral thigh, or contusion of the femur, that commonly results in a hematoma and sometimes several weeks of pain and disability. Such an injury is known in the United Kingdom, United States, and many Commonwealth countries as a dead leg, granddaddy, or chopper. In Australia it is also known as a corked thigh or “corky.” It often occurs in sports when an athlete’s limb moves in a way it shouldn’t, in a manner like the kick of a horse, perhaps the reason for its name. The condition is common among hockey players.

Another nuance for the term “charley horse” is used to describe simple painful muscle cramps in the leg or foot, especially those that follow strenuous exercise. These muscle cramps can have many possible causes including hormonal imbalances, dehydration, low levels of potassium or calcium in the blood, side effects of medication, or, more seriously, diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and neuropathy. They are also a common complaint during pregnancy while elderly.

Relief is usually given by either massaging or stretching the foot, ankle or knee in the opposite direction of the spasm.

Dietary defenciency of potassium may also cause these spasms. A simple way to increase potassium levels is to consume one average size banana.

The term may date back to American slang of the 1880s, possibly from the pitcher Charlie “Old Hoss” Radbourn who is said to have suffered from cramps.

In Norway, it is referred to as a l?rh?ne (thigh hen), in the Netherlands as an ijsbeen (ice leg) and in France as a béquille (crutch). In Portugal, it is known as a paral?tica, roughly translated to “paralyzer”. In Brazil it has become known as “tost?o” or “paulistinha”. In Japan it is known as komuragaeri (??“?‚€?‚‰è?”?‚??), which is literally “cramp in the calf”. In northeastern Italy, it is commonly called a lopez, while in the northwest it is called vecchia (old woman) or dura (“hard one” or “tough one”); in the south of the country, instead, it is called morso di ciuccio (donkey bite). In some areas of central Italy, it is called opossum. In Israel it is called Regel Etz which means wooden leg. It is called chaca (rat) in the Chamorro language of Guam and the Mariana Islands..

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