What Causes a Foot Cramp?

what causes foot cramps

A foot cramp is a muscle spasm that can occur in either of your feet without warning. There are various reasons on why a foot cramp may occur. Here are some possible causes and solutions.

What causes a foot cramp?

Lack of minerals and vitamins

One of the primary reasons behind foot cramps is the lack of minerals and vitamins in your body. Every type of mineral and vitamin has a specific function in your body, and if even one of those necessities is missing, some part of your body will most likely suffer. This is why you need to keep a proper check and balance on your nutrient intake. Some of the vitamins and minerals that may cause foot cramps if you are lacking in them:

  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B6

Lack of water

There are many factors that can cause dehydration. If you sweat a lot, vomit, or do not drink enough water during the day, your body will get dehydrated. Furthermore, acts such as drinking and smoking increase the risk of dehydration.

Damaged nerves

Your nervous system is responsible for the movements your body makes. Since the nervous system is directly linked to the brain, it transmits the message from the brain to the muscles to cause an action or vice versa. If a problem occurs in the nerve in your foot i.e. if it experiences a pinch or something similar, it could cause the foot to cramp.

Fatigue

Too much exercise can also cause foot cramps. If you are into lifting weights, dancing or sports that involve you being on your feet all the time, it means that your body at one point will start to wear down and get tired. It is because of this tiredness that your muscles experience fatigue and result in foot cramps.

Health issues

Foot cramps can be a sign or minor symptom of a severe disease or illness. Some examples of diseases that can lead to foot cramps are anemia, thyroid issues, and diabetes. If the cramp is reoccurring and you have tried all the remedies for it, it is best that you follow up with a doctor to make sure that it is not related to any illnesses.

Prescriptions

You must check every medicine you take for possible side effects. There is a possibility that the type of drug you are taking has muscle cramps as a side effect. It is not necessary that these muscle cramps are only limited to your arms or legs; they can also occur on your foot. The reason that medications have a possibility of causing foot cramps is that they can lead to a hormonal or nutrient imbalance in your body which, in turn, causes these foot cramps.

Wrong shoe type

Pointed shoes, heels, and small shoe sizes are also a major reason for foot cramps. If you are not used to wearing heels or your toes get squashed when you wear pointed shoes, it can cause your foot to cramp. A pair of good shoes can help alleviate foot cramps.

Nocturnal cramps

The disadvantage of sleeping in the fetus position is that it may result in leg cramps. The reason for this is that when you are sleeping in this position, your feet are pointing down and your calf muscles are flexed as they are closer to the knees. This can cause the blood flow to decrease, which can lead to foot cramps.

A reduction in blood circulation

When you spend a lot of time in a particular position, it is possible that the level of blood flowing to your foot decreases. This causes a foot cramp as it reduces the amount of oxygen flowing to your foot.

Injury

If you have been in an accident in which your muscles were torn or stretched out more than they are supposed to, they start to spasm in order to shield themselves and your body from more damage. Even though the muscles will repair over time, it is possible that the spasms occur from time to time.

Tightened muscles

Muscles tightness can lead to muscle cramps. Whether it’s your calf muscles or your foot muscles, their tightness will result in cramps.

Not enough stretching

Your feet muscles need to be stretched a little every day so that your muscles get some exercise and stay in good shape. The endurance level of the muscles also increases that way and lessens the chances of you getting foot cramps.

Pregnancy

When a woman is pregnant, her feet tend to swell. Also, as more blood is required in the womb, every part of the body works extra hard to provide enough blood and nutrients to the fetus. The pressure from the uterus and blood flow can lead to foot cramps, especially at night.

Not enough exercise

If you do not get enough exercise or do not walk too much, your muscles are at a risk of becoming weaker. A lack of exercise also means that you may end up gaining a lot of weight, which will put more pressure on your feet muscles, which can weaken them and cause foot cramps.

 

Foot cramp preventions

Now that you know the possible causes of foot cramps, you need to know how you can prevent them from happening. Some of these ways are:

Stretches

If you regularly stretch your feet, there is a high chance that you may not have any foot cramps at all. When you get a foot cramp, stretching the affected area will help eliminate the pain quicker than any other way. Stretching has proven to be the best short-term treatment for foot cramps. However, do remember that overstretching can cause damage to your muscles, which may lead to more cramps.

Keep yourself hydrated

When you keep yourself hydrated, you make sure that the water balance in your body is regulated. This in turn will make certain that there are no foot cramps caused due to dehydration.

Massages

The best way to prevent foot cramps from occurring is by getting regular foot massages. When you get a foot massage, especially on the ball of your feet, the minerals, vitamins, and oxygen in your blood are delivered to your entire foot. When the right things are delivered, the harmful products such as lactic acid get taken out of the foot and passed out of the body. Massaging also helps your feet relax which is a major factor in reducing foot cramps.

Heat

If your feet are getting enough heat, the blood flow will increase, which reduces the pain experienced. The best way of doing this is by using an infrared heater, a hot water bottle, a heating pad or a balm.

A good diet plan

Eating right and eating healthy is a sure way of keeping all the nutrients in your body at an appropriate level. If you eat right and give your body the required amount of nutrients, the cramps will be reduced to nothing in just a few days.

Supplements

It is advised that you get yourself tested at least every year to make sure that your body is functioning properly. In case you notice that there is a deficiency in certain vitamins or minerals that aren’t going away, the best thing to do is to check with your doctor and start taking supplements. This will make sure that your body gets the required amount of nutrients.

Get enough exercise

If you like to exercise, you need to get some advice from your trainer on how much you should exercise every day. The suggested amount of exercise is one hour per day. Even when you relax in the middle of a session, keep your feet moving as it will ensure that the circulation does not slow down abruptly.

Strength exercises

You can always get some advice from a physiotherapist on the type of exercises that you should do for your feet. Making sure that you do these exercises every day will eliminate foot cramps.

Toe stretchers

Toe stretchers are designed to reduce foot cramps significantly. You only have to wear them for an hour every day, and you will feel their effect almost immediately.

The right type of shoes

If you are not used to wearing heels or pointed shoes, make sure that you use those types at a bare minimum. If your days involve you being on your feet all the time and getting a lot of exercise, make sure that you are wearing shoes that are comfortable and support the sole of your feet. This, in turn, will make sure that your feet do not get over exerted.

Other tips to help prevent foot cramps

  • Drink at least eight glasses of water every day
  • Stretch your feet when you go to bed and when you wake up
  • Try not to drink or smoke
  • Download an app to keep track of your nutrient intake
  • Tone up your level of activity

If you feel that none of these remedies work for you, it is best that you seek a doctor’s help.

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