Constant foot and leg cramping can be a sign of another underlying health deficiency. The most prominent catalyst for chronic foot cramps is a dietary deficiency or dehydration. In addition, if you run or walk for a long time, you’re bound to create temporary tension and involuntary contractions in your tendons and foot muscles due to stress. These minor problems normally clear up in a few days as does any muscle from exercise, strain or fatigue.
Another major reason for foot cramping is ill fitting, tight, and especially high heel shoes. Your foot and toes are compacted and all the tendons and various muscles are stuck in one spot with poor circulation. Several signs your are wearing poorly fitted or inappropriate shoes are:
- Your toes graze the tip of your shoes.
There should be a little room between your toes and you should be able to wiggle your toes. You need that bit of room because your feet swell throughout the day.
- Your arches ache at the end of the day. This is from too much constant pressure.
- You have blisters, calluses, or bruised toenails. Constant rubbing or compression will result in injury to your skin but also can lead to internal damage of the complex biomechanics of your foot. An early warning sign could be cramping but be aware this can grow into more painful harder to treat foot problems.
If you do experience foot, toe or calf cramps there are some ways to help prevent it from happening. Foot cramps typically pass quickly, but if you’re looking for some immediate relief, you can try a few things:
- Try walking it off.
- Take off your shoes or socks, or anything else that might be affecting your foot.
- Massage your foot with your hands.
- Apply heat (with a heating pad, or cloth, nothing stronger).
- Do some simple stretches: a) flex your toes up and down or b) grab your toes and pull them towards you as far as you can, hold them a moment, then repeat until you feel the cramp passing.
If you suffer from nighttime cramps, stretch before you go to bed.
Easy stretches to keep calves and feet happy
Here are some simple stretches that can help stop pain and prevent it.
Basic calf stretch
This calf stretch is commonly used by runners. Here’s how to do it:
- Stand with your palms placed against a wall, with arms stretched out
- Step back with leg of affected calf
- Lean forward on the other leg and push against the wall
You should feel a stretch in your calf muscle and the back of the leg.
Do this stretch while you sit:
- Keep legs outstretched in front of you
- Point the toes of your affected foot at the ceiling so that the leg is engaged
- Take a towel or neck tie and wrap it around your foot, holding it with both hands
- Lift the leg slightly until you feel a good stretch
Keep cramps from happening again
Here are some tips to prevent lower extremity cramps:
- Stay well hydrated
- Stretch each day, especially before you exercise
- Limit or avoid alcohol
- Eat a balanced diet that includes natural sources of calcium, potassium and magnesium
- Increase your activity level gradually
If foot cramps are occasional occurrences, you can generally manage them yourself. However, if they happen frequently, are severe, or if you are concerned any of your medications are the culprit, talk to your doctor. They could signal a medical problem that