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Cramps in Feet and Toes

Bidisha Mukherjee Jun 18, 2019
A muscle cramp is an extremely painful condition, wherein your foot or calf becomes hard and tight all of a sudden. Provided here is information regarding the same.
We all have experienced mild to moderate cramps in feet and toes at some point of time or the other. It may be described as a sudden sharp pain that usually starts from the middle of the foot arch and extends up to the toes. It is triggered by involuntary contractions of the foot muscles.
If you touch the painful site, you may feel that the muscles are tensed. The duration of this kind of muscle spasm could be just few seconds, or it may continue to bother you for few minutes or even few days. If the cramp is severe, then the soreness of muscles may last for several days.

Causes

Muscle Fatigue

Tired feet is an obvious reason of cramping muscles. Athletes can get severe cramps in feet and legs after long hours of running, exercising, etc. Non-athletes may feel similar pain due to walking or standing for several hours.

Circulation Problem

This condition may be a sign of poor blood circulation. In this condition, the extremities of the body, the hands and feet fail to receive sufficient amount of oxygen supply. This results in abnormal contraction of the muscles.

Dehydration

Dehydration may tense up the foot muscles as they are not properly hydrated due to lack of water in the body.

Hormonal Imbalance

Muscles in our body often fail to cope up with the changes brought about by hormonal imbalance, and therefore they start working abnormally.

Nutritional Deficiency

Weakness in foot muscles may cause them to contract. Nutritional deficiency, particularly magnesium and potassium, may weaken the muscles. Deficiency of calcium may lead to this condition in pregnant women.

Other Causes

People affected by diabetes, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and thyroid disorder get foot and toe cramps quite often. People with foot problems like plantar fasciitis or tendonitis may experience this problem very frequently. Excessive smoking and alcohol abuse expose your body to toxic substances and dehydrate the body resulting in muscle cramps.
Inadequate stretching before exercising or over exerting the muscles during exercising may also lead to this painful condition. It may also occur as a side effect of the use of diuretics, and certain medications for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, and asthma.

Treatment

Getting foot cramps at night very common. These measures will ease the tension from muscles:
  • First, pull out the foot from its cramped position slowly. Do not hurry as it may intensify the leg cramp.
  • When the foot is in a comfortable position, hold it there for few minutes to relax the muscles. Keep it slightly elevated to relieve cramps in feet and ankles.
  • Now, massage the cramped area by moving the fingers lightly on it. To soothe the pain and tightness, apply ice for 10 minutes by wrapping up ice cubes in a towel. A warm foot bath is another excellent foot cramp remedy.
  • If the pain is unbearable, you may take a painkiller. For the next few days,  take proper rest so that you recover as early as possible.
The dehydration problem may be solved by drinking sufficient amount of water. Also, avoid smoking and alcohol consumption since these substances aggravate dehydration. For poor nutrition, a balanced diet and nutritional supplements are recommended. This might improve the condition within a few days.
Any other underlying health problem should be treated with proper medicines to alleviate the pain due to cramps. In order to prevent muscle fatigue, perform some foot and leg stretching exercises regularly to make the foot muscles strong and flexible.
Eat foods that are rich in potassium and calcium to make your muscles strong. Usually, this condition is not serious, and it may get resolved with home remedies. However, if the cramp continues for two days or it keeps recurring, then consult a doctor for appropriate treatment.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.