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Charlie Horses: What can I do?


MAXX Physical therapy can be beneficial for managing and preventing Charlie horses, which are painful muscle cramps or spasms, usually in the calf muscles. Here are some of our physical therapy strategies that may help:

  1. Stretching exercises: Gentle stretching exercises for the calf muscles can help relieve tightness and reduce the frequency and intensity of Charlie horses. Examples include calf stretches against a wall or using a towel to stretch the calf.

  2. Strengthening exercises: Strengthening the muscles around the calf can provide better support and stability, reducing the likelihood of muscle cramps. Physical therapists may recommend exercises such as calf raises, toe curls, and ankle strengthening exercises.

  3. Massage and soft tissue mobilization: Manual techniques like massage and soft tissue mobilization can help relax tight muscles and improve blood circulation. A physical therapist can use these techniques to target specific muscle groups affected by Charlie horses.

  4. Heat and cold therapy: Applying heat to the affected area before stretching or exercising can help relax the muscles. Cold therapy, such as ice packs, can be used after activity to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

  5. Electrical stimulation: Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) or other electrical stimulation methods may be used by physical therapists to help reduce pain and muscle spasms.

  6. Education and self-management strategies: Physical therapists can provide education on proper body mechanics, hydration, nutrition, and other factors that can contribute to muscle cramps. They can also teach self-management techniques like stretching and strengthening exercises that individuals can perform at home.



It's important to consult with a MAXX physical therapist who can assess your specific condition and design an individualized treatment plan. We can provide hands-on interventions, guide you through exercises, and monitor your progress to ensure effective management of Charlie horses. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment. 337.508.2505

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