What causes a charlie horse?


Charlie horses occur when a muscle is overused, often when working out and you haven't had enough fluids, potassium or calcium.

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Chemical elements

A chemical element is a pure chemical substance consisting of one type of atom distinguished by its atomic number, which is the number of protons in its nucleus. Elements are divided into metals, metalloids, and non-metals. Familiar examples of elements include carbon, oxygen (non-metals), silicon, arsenic (metalloids), aluminium, iron, copper, gold, mercury, and lead (metals).

The lightest chemical elements, including hydrogen, helium (and smaller amounts of lithium, beryllium and boron), are thought to have been produced by various cosmic processes during the Big Bang and cosmic-ray spallation. Production of heavier elements, from carbon to the very heaviest elements, proceeded by stellar nucleosynthesis, and these were made available for later solar system and planetary formation by planetary nebulae and supernovae, which blast these elements into space. The high abundance of oxygen, silicon, and iron on Earth reflects their common production in such stars, after the lighter gaseous elements and their compounds have been subtracted. While most elements are generally viewed as stable, a small amount of natural transformation of one element to another also occurs at the present time through decay of radioactive elements as well as other natural nuclear processes.

Dietary minerals

Dietary minerals (also known as mineral nutrients) are the chemical elements required by living organisms, other than the four elements carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen present in common organic molecules. The term is archaic, as it describes chemical elements rather than actual minerals.

Minerals in order of abundance in the human body include the seven major minerals calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, and magnesium. Important "trace" or minor minerals, necessary for mammalian life, include iron, cobalt, copper, zinc, molybdenum, iodine, and selenium (see below for detailed discussion).

Reducing agents

A reducing agent (also called a reductant or reducer) is the element or compound in an oxidation-reduction reaction that donates an electron to another species. Because the reducing agent is losing electrons, we say it has been oxidized.

This means that there must be an "oxidizer"; because if any chemical is an electron donor (reducer), another must be an electron recipient (oxidizer). Thus reducers are "oxidized" by oxidizers and oxidizers are "reduced" by reducers; reducers are by themselves reduced (have more electrons) and oxidizers are by themselves oxidized (have fewer electrons). For example, consider the following reaction:

Potassium Calcium

A charley 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 about a day. It can also refer to a bruise on an arm or leg and a bruising of the quadriceps muscle of the anterior or lateral thigh, or contusion of the femur, that commonly results in a haematoma and sometimes several weeks of pain and disability. In this latter sense, such an injury is known in the United Kingdom as a dead leg. In Australia it is also known as a corked thigh or corky. It often occurs in contact sports, such as football when an athlete suffers a knee (blunt trauma) to the lateral quadriceps causing a haematoma or temporary paresis and antalgic gait as a result of pain. Another nuance for the term jolly horse is used to describe simple painful muscle cramps in the leg or foot, especially those that follow strenuous exercise.

Some people]citation needed[ also refer to cramps in the foot muscles as Charley Horses.

Muscle weakness

Muscle weakness or myasthenia (my- from Greek μυο meaning "muscle" + -asthenia ἀσθένεια meaning "weakness") is a lack of muscle strength. The causes are many and can be divided into conditions that have either true or perceived muscle weakness. True muscle weakness is a primary symptom of a variety of skeletal muscle diseases, including muscular dystrophy and inflammatory myopathy. It occurs in neuromuscular junction disorders, such as myasthenia gravis. Muscle weakness can also be caused by low levels of potassium and other electrolytes within muscle cells.

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