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Muscle cramps and spasms can be painful, and often come on without warning, during or shortly after exercising, or when falling asleep. Skeletal muscles cause a muscle spasms in the legs that is often referred to as a charley horse. Older adults, athletes, and people with certain medical conditions are most likely to experience muscle spasms.

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1. What a Charley Horse Feels Like

A muscle spasm in the calf is called a charley horse. Most skeletal muscular cramps, especially those in the leg, feel much like a charley horse, often resulting in symptoms such as sharp pain or the sensation of a hard lump or twitching spot just under the skin (where the muscle tissue has contracted). Charley horses usually come on quickly and last for up to 15 minutes.

muscle cramp in calf Jan-Otto / Getty Images
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