Everyone knows how painful cramps can be. You are momentarily stung by a shooting pain, and simple bodily movements seem impossible to carry out. Leg and toe cramps are the most common kinds of muscle cramps that people are regularly ailed by. When a muscle in the body contracts excessively, or gets over shortened, it is known as a cramp. Cramps are described as involuntary contractions of one or more muscles. They range from mildly discomfiting to extremely painful, depending on the area of the cramp and its intensity.
Although very common, getting cramps on the toes can be a highly painful sensation. Getting them at night is quite common. Many people suffer from nighttime leg cramps. You may have to watch your diet, habits, and workout routine (if any) to find answer to the exact cause of toe cramps.
What Causes Toe Cramps at Night?
There are a variety of factors which can be attributed as the causes of toe cramps. For different people, different reasons will cause mild or extreme cramps.
Exertion: People, who perform vigorous or strenuous physical activities, usually experience cramps. Such activities lead to muscle fatigue. Insufficient stretching before exercise can also lead to leg cramps.
Low Sodium Levels: Painful muscle contractions or cramps are common for athletes, because with excessive sweating, the body loses a lot of sodium. Sodium, that helps in the smooth functioning of muscles, is an ingredient in sweat. Extreme exertion and sweating can lead to low levels of sodium in the body. Those diagnosed with sodium deficiency should take prescribed medicines, and should follow the instructions of the doctor.
Type of Shoes: The shoes you wear can also be responsible for these cramps. If you wear tight shoes or high-heeled shoes, you are more likely to experience cramps at night. This is also a reason why leg and toe cramps are more common than arm or finger cramps.
Calcium Deficiency: Deficiency of calcium in the body is also considered to be one of the major causes of toe cramps at night. Calcium plays a role in the smooth functioning and working of muscles. If the parathyroid glands that regulate calcium balance are not functioning properly, one may suffer from calcium deficiency. It should be kept in mind that vitamin D deficiency leads to inadequate absorption of calcium in the body. Various other conditions can also lead to such deficiency.
Extreme Cold: For many people, extreme cold is also known to be a cause of toe cramps.
Dehydration: Vigorous activities lead to perspiration and fluid loss. Dehydration increases your risk of calf and toe cramps, especially if the weather is warm. Many times, this is an early sign of heat stroke. Those who regularly take diuretics, or those who do not consume sufficient amount of fluids may experience leg/foot cramps.
Low Magnesium: Low magnesium and calcium levels is one of the main causes of leg cramps during pregnancy. Men and women of all ages can have magnesium deficiency. This is the reason why many older adults experience nighttime leg cramps.
Low Potassium: Low potassium levels lead to weak muscles, and can result in toe or calf cramps.
Medication: Consumption of certain medicines, for example, neostigmine (used to treat myasthenia gravis), raloxifene (used to treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women), tolcapone (used to control Parkinson's disease), terbutaline (used to treat asthma), etc., can cause cramps. Some may experience cramps during withdrawal from drugs or substances that have sedative effects.
Diseases and Disorders: People suffering from diseases or disorders like diabetic neuropathy, pinched nerve, poor blood circulation, gout, spinal cord injury, etc., may experience toe cramps.
To get relief from the shooting pain that accompanies leg and toe cramps at night, you must use one or more of the following toe cramps treatments. First of all you must stop wearing tight shoes or high heels very regularly. This is a simple but effective toe cramps remedy you can put to use. If you absolutely must wear these shoes, remove them for a while during the course of the day.
Another useful toe cramps remedy is to include some toe exercises in your exercise regime. If you do not visit the gym or exercise regularly, you can perform some toe exercises in your spare time. This will greatly reduce the frequency and intensity of the cramps.
Including a calcium / magnesium / potassium supplement in your diet will also help you combat leg and toe cramps. These will aid in the muscle functioning process, and reduce the levels of pain that you feel as a result of these toe cramps. Make sure that you drink plenty of water every day. You may incorporate healthy fluids like milk, milkshakes, soups, fruit / vegetable juices, etc., in your diet.
If and when you do happen to experience a toe cramp, rub the area around the part that hurts. In a few minutes the pain will subside. You should stretch and rotate that body part to ensure that everything is alright. Do not panic in such a situation, as these cramps are common. However, if you are experiencing them at an alarming rate of regularity, it would be wise to visit a physician.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.