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  • Writer's pictureMonique Coombs

Fishermen Wellness: Charley Horses

I have been in multiple meetings with fishermen where suddenly, some light kicking starts under the table. This is often followed by an expletive and a fisherman jumping out of their seat and stepping outside. The culprit is always a charley horse.

(Raise your hand if you thought it was Charlie because I did.)

There are a number of different things that can cause a charley horse but the most common is usually dehydration, not stretching enough, activity in high temperatures, and working your muscles too much. Fishermen are pretty familiar with all of these things that have the potential to cause a charley horse, so it's no wonder that fishermen commonly complain of the painful muscle spasm.

(You can get a charley horse in any muscle but the legs are the most common.)


  • Drink lots of water or fluids with electrolytes. (like Gatorade)

  • Comfy shoes. (Don't wait too long to replace your boots!)

  • Limit alcohol use and quit/cut back on smoking butts.

  • Stretch!

  • Eat foods high in magnesium and potassium. (Almonds, spinach, bananas.)


  • Rub the muscle.

  • Lay down and stretch your leg out straight and pull it towards you. (Stretch.)

  • Put your weight on the leg having the muscle spasm and bend your knee slightly.

While charley horses are very rarely symptomatic of a larger issue, it doesn't mean you have to just suffer through them on a regular basis. A few little changes can make all the difference.

Fishermen Wellness was started during the pandemic. It was a series that started with support from NAMI Clinical Staff on topics pertaining to mental health, and we are continuing the series with more mental health info as well as other wellness topics. We are also growing our network of partners to feature a variety of helpful information for fishermen's mental health, physical health, and wellbeing.

If there's a topic that you would like to see covered please reach out to

Together, we persevere.



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