Nobody is exactly sure how the Charley Horse got its name, but lots of people trace it back about a hundred years (late 1800s) to baseball! One possibility is that it came from the player Charley Radbourne, whose nickname was “Old Hoss.” One day, when Radbourne’s leg got a cramp, “Charley Hoss’s” problem became the name for the ailment itself! Another possibility is that a one baseball field had a work horse named Charley. Because Charley was old and slow, any injured player was compared to “Charley Horse.”
We do know that a Charley Horse’s name doesn’t have anything to do with its causes – you can get a Charley Horse even if you aren’t a horse named Charley! Since things like overusing your muscles or dehydration usually cause these cramps, you’ll hopefully find them pretty easy to avoid by taking good care of yourself!
People often come up with their own special ways of referring to things. Does your family have any special sayings or nicknames you use around the house?? What are some of your favorites? Ask your parents about where these funny names came from, and if they don't know the answer, then make up your own just for fun!
Sources & links
Morris, Evan. “My leg hurts, Einstein. What “Definition of Charley Horse.” Medterms Medical Dictionary A-Z List. 2004. MedicineNet. 07 Dec. 2010 Vorvick, Linda J. MD and C. Benjamin Ma MD. “Charley Horse.” MedLine Plus. 2009. U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. 07 Dec. 2010