You’re walking along with your friends during a night out, when all of a sudden, you have a foot cramp! It was a lot of fun and games, but then it quickly turned into an excruciatingly painful moment. Someone remembers that flexing your foot can help release the cramp, so they help you get past the pain.
For some, foot cramps are constantly cramping their style. What’s causing it?
- Dehydration – not getting enough water throughout the day, over a long period of time.
- Low electrolytes – certain minerals are essential for properly functioning muscles.
- Overuse or overexertion – excessive muscle fatigue can also cause the muscle to spasm; this can happen for athletes.
- Poor circulation – this can cause problems with sensation, which can feel like constant cramping (and could signal something more problematic like diabetes– see your doctor).
- Unsupportive shoes – some shoes, like flats and high heels (or changing from one to the other) can cause your muscles to cramp.
What can you do to find relief? Try some of the following when you experience cramping and to prevent future cramping:
- As mentioned above, flex your foot and pull the toes toward you. Stretch along the bottom of the feet and the calves. If this is not available, you can also do a calf stretch, where you stand in front of a wall with one foot in front of the other and then lean forward.
- For ongoing cramps, stretch the cramping area and gently massage it.
- If you feel like your feet have overexerted, take a warm foot bath with Epsom salt to help with recovery.
- If cramping started after starting a new medication, it could be a side effect and you should speak to your physician or our podiatrist to narrow down the causes.
The best way to manage foot cramps that come and go is to take preventative measures. Stay hydrated, preferably with waters that have electrolytes. You can also get the minerals (and vitamins) you need from a well balanced diet. Take your exercises down a notch while you are suffering from these pains to see if over-exercising could be the culprit. And always stretch before and after exercises, always including foot and toe stretching.
If you suspect that your shoes might be the problem, come in for an evaluation. We can find you the right solution for your foot cramps, which may include custom orthotics. Make an appointment with our podiatrists at The Podiatry Group. Our foot doctors, Dr. Mark E. Reiner, Dr. Michael A. Haughey, Dr. William G. Coates, and Dr. Erik D. Rosenlof can perform a thorough assessment at our Jonesboro, AR office.