Diagnosing The Cause Of Foot Cramps
A foot cramp can strike at any time, perhaps while you are jogging down the street, holding a tricky pose in yoga, or even when you are sleeping. Severe foot cramps can feel terribly uncomfortable, and cause the tops of your toes to tighten up and bend without permission. The center of your foot can also cramp up.
Some foot cramps are more severe than others, but all muscle cramps are caused by involuntary contractions of your muscles. Often referred to as a charley horse when it impacts your calf, there are a few common locations for cramps to occur. The most common areas include the foot, calf, thigh, hands, arms, and abdomen. The location of your muscle cramps can help signal the underlying cause.
What Causes Foot Cramps?
The most common type of muscle cramp is a benign cramp that occurs for no reason, and often during the night. Secondly, exercise-associated muscle cramps, which occur during or after exercise. The majority of people experience muscle cramps from time to time, and in most cases there is nothing to worry about. Foot cramps can occur for a number of easy-fix reasons, such as:
- Overusing muscles
- Muscle strain or fatigue
- Holding the same posture or position for too long (this includes sitting)
- Low levels of electrolytes present in blood
- Exercising without properly stretching
- Exercising in the heat
- Overly tight muscles
Sometimes frequent muscle cramps can signal an underlying health issue. The most common health issues related to feet cramps include inadequate blood supply, nerve compression and mineral depletion.
Inadequate blood supply can create painful cramping sensations that often occur during exercise and cease soon after you stop working out. This is actually caused by the narrowing of arteries responsible for carrying blood through your legs and other parts of your body.
Nerve compression in your spine can create a painful cramping sensation in your lower legs and feet. The longer you walk the worse the pain gets.
Mineral depletion can cause feet cramps. This is why it’s so important to consume healthy amounts of potassium, magnesium and calcium. Certain medications, such as diuretics, can further deplete these minerals.
Who Is Most Likely To Get Foot Cramps?
Certain risk factors may make you more prone to the pains of a foot cramp, such as:
- Pregnant women are more likely to experience foot cramps.
- In you have lost muscle mass remaining muscles will strain easier.
- If you have a spinal cord injury or pinched nerves in your back.
- If you do not drink enough water dehydration can contribute to foot cramps.
- Certain medical conditions such as diabetes or any disorders impacting the liver, thyroid or nerves.
How To Relieve Foot Cramps
When you are experiencing a particularly painful foot cramp there are a few things you can do to help relieve the pain. First, you can try massaging the area. You can also do foot stretches to help ease the tension. Icing or warming your foot may also be beneficial.
If you are frequently having muscle spasms try adding more vitamin-rich foods to your diet and have your blood tested to see if you are particularly deficient in any areas. If you are physically active or involved in a sport make sure you are not over-doing it, and that you are properly stretching before you exercise.
Drinking more water can also help. Water helps relax muscles, keeping them hydrated and happy. Depending on your age, lifestyle, the weather, health and many other factors the amount of water you need varies. Constantly having a water bottle with you to take sips from will help you stay hydrated.
If foot cramps are waking you up and disrupting your sleep, a muscle relaxant may be prescribed. Night cramps typically impact the calf muscles, but they can also affect the feet and thighs. Try stretching before you go to bed each night to see if this helps reduce foot cramps. A doctor or specialist can help show you stretches that target the right areas to reduce your risk of cramps.
In most cases a muscle cramp will quickly go away on its own, and with a few home remedies and life style adjustments should not return too often. If your foot cramps are persistent and occur often you should visit a doctor as soon as possible. (Learn more)
When To Visit The Doctor For Foot Cramps
A few foot cramps here and there is no reason to rush off to the doctor. If you occasionally get foot cramps try the home remedies listed above. You should visit your local Urgent Medical Center if your foot cramps persist or occur often enough to interfere with your life. Frequent foot cramps could be a sign of an underlying health condition in need of medical attention.
For fast relief from persistent foot cramps visit your local Urgent Medical Center today.