If you suffer from foot cramps, you’re not alone. There are many reasons why people can get these involuntary and painful muscle spams – and worse, they can happen at any time of day. The most common reasons for getting them include: dehydration, nutritional deficiencies, nerve damage or compression, muscle fatigue or overexertion, poor circulation, or medication side effects.
For those of you that seem to get cramps pretty often, we have a few tips for preventing this sometimes-excruciating pain.
- Stay hydrated throughout the day. Even better if you can drink coconut water or electrolyte-enriched water to help with healthy muscle function – especially if you tend to sweat a lot (which releases electrolytes) while working out.
- Make sure to eat a balanced, nutritional diet. Vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes are necessary for proper muscle function.
- If you’ve had poor circulation, an injury, or might be suffering from nerve damage or compression, it’s best to see your podiatrist to treat that issue. It may also help relieve foot cramping.
- Be reasonable with your exercises. Using your feet too long or too forcefully can also cause cramps. Make sure you remember to stretch before and after exercising.
- Wear shoes that are not too restrictive, especially around the toes, which can cramp up. High heels can put excessive pressure on the ball of your foot, also increasing the chance of cramping the foot.
When you get a foot cramp, your reflex is to want immediate relief. You’ll probably grab the foot or stop dead in your tracks to try to prevent it from getting worse. Try some of the following tips to find relief:
- If the cramp is along the bottom of your foot, immediately flex your foot and pull your toes toward you. It will stretch out the plantar fascia and hopefully give you some relief. If you have cramps in your toes, stretch your toes out, even gently pulling the toes up with your fingers. For cramps in the calves leading down to the back of the heel, do a calf stretch – stand facing a wall, step back with cramping leg and lean forward against the wall with the heel down.
- R(H)ICE – REST from the activity that you were doing. Returning to the activity can make the cramp come back. For prolonged pain, try a HOT pack to release tight muscles or an ICE pack to reduce pain. A foot soak in warm water, as well as a massage can also help to release a cramp that lingers. Use an elastic bandage for COMPRESSION if poor circulation might be the problem. ELEVATE your foot to waist level or higher, but if that makes it worse, see a doctor as it may indicate a circulation issue.
- If cramps begin after starting a new medication, speak to your doctor about switching to a new medication.
Because foot cramps can happen at any time, it can also lead to possibly dangerous situations. If you’re prone to foot cramps, try not to leave yourself vulnerable to danger. For example, do not exercise with heavy weights if you do not an assistive machine or spotter, as you may need to suddenly release the weights. If you’ve got chronic foot cramps, it is best to make an appointment at Alamitos-Seal Beach Podiatry Group to get an assessment. One of our board-certified podiatrists, Dr. Douglas H. Richie, Dr. Jeremy L. Cook, Dr. Faye E. Izadi can look over your feet at either of our Seal Beach, CA and Los Alamitos, CA offices in Orange County.
Request an Appointment
Fill out the form below to reach Alamitos – Seal Beach Podiatry Group, or call Los Alamitos: (562) 203-6151 or Seal Beach: (562) 242-1559 for immediate assistance.