Once in a while I’ll wake up to a lovely charley horse (or muscle spasm) in my calf. What is the best stretch or exercise to do immediately following this?

1 Answer 1


Me too.

The best stretch is to lift the tip of your foot and contract hard, without using your hands. It usually relieves the pain almost immediatelly.

To prevent the cramps (or charley horse as you called it) perhaps try drinking more water and ensuring you ingest enough minerals (calcium, potassium, and sodium).

Once I increased my water intake seriously (I went from drinking 1L / day to 3.5L) and some simple vitamin supplementation I essentially never had another night cramp.

To know the optimal amount of water to stay hydrated you could calculate 1L per 20Kg of body weight.

  • 1
    I'd change this to say decrease sodium intake, not increase it. Generally, people eat too much salt, which contributes to muscle cramps. Potassium is part of the relaxation motion, and sodium part of contraction, hence suggestions to eat high potassium foods (quintessentially, the banana). Water dilutes all, and many don't drink enough, so you're right to suggest this.
    – user38714
    Oct 26, 2022 at 16:09
  • Another important point is that supplementing with minerals can help against cramps if you have deficiencies of those minerals. If you don't have a deficiency, supplementation won't help.
    – gustafc
    Oct 27, 2022 at 9:31
  • Also, hydration - for most people - is best regulated by drinking when you're thirsty (or, if thirst is broken for some reason, drink enough to keep your urine a pale yellow color). Giving general recommendations on quantities to drink doesn't make any sense, it varies enormously depending on activity level, how much water's in your food, the temperature and humidity of the environment you're in, individual factors such as genetics and general fitness, etc. nytimes.com/2015/08/25/upshot/…
    – gustafc
    Oct 27, 2022 at 9:49
  • @user38714 note that I said enough minerals not increase sodium. Indeed the potassium/sodium balance is more important. Also, make sure = consult a doctor.
    – Luciano
    Oct 28, 2022 at 7:46
  • @gustafc you should drink even if you're not thirsty. I doubt drinking less than a liter of water will make urine look clear for anyone that weights more than 40Kg. Most people drink way too little water.
    – Luciano
    Oct 28, 2022 at 8:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.