Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Search: charlie horse; charley horse
Why: My mom's left pointer finger cramped up the other night right before Jersey Boys. She couldn't bend it. That happened to me the first day of 4th grade. I cried. I told my mom to make a fist, and that fixed it.
Answer: A muscle spasm! It can be anywhere in the body (like the neck or a foot), but many use this term to specifically refer to a spasm in the leg or thigh. When a charley horse happens, the muscle is overused or injured, or you have low levels of fluids (you're dehydrated), potassium, or calcium.
Source: Medline Plus
The More You Know: The term "charley horse" may come from American baseball slang of the 1880s, possibly from the pitcher Charlie "Old Hoss" Radbourn, who is said to have suffered from cramps. Another story mentions a horse named Charley that used to work at Comiskey Park, the Chicago White Sox's baseball stadium. In those days, an old, retired horse was often called "Charlie."
Also, Shari Lewis had a puppet named Charley Horse. I think he was my flavorite.