How to Get Rid of Foot Cramps
Foot cramps can be very painful when they occur as it just happens suddenly disrupting everything you are doing at the moment. Whether you are having a workout session, relaxing or even sleeping, it can strike at any moment. It is caused by the sudden contraction of the muscles and this leads to a sharp pain in the foot. The pain does not last long and can go off after about 3 minutes or go on for some days in some cases. To save your foot from pain, it is important that you know how to get rid of foot cramps when it occurs.
The common place for foot cramps are on the toes, the inner arch and feet. This is because the feet hold the weight of your body. As you grow older, you are prone to getting foot cramps often. Athletes are also prone to foot cramps but it can happen to anybody no matter what your age is. Foot cramps are not usually harmful but they can be very uncomfortable.
WHAT CAUSES FOOT CRAMPS?
It is important to know what causes it so that you will know how to get rid of foot cramps. When the cause is known, it will help you prevent it from happening again and you will be able to quickly nip the problem in the bud as soon as it begins.
There are a number of factors responsible for foot cramps and they include the following:
Poor hydration: If you are not drinking enough water on a daily basis, this can lead to cramping in the foot. Make sure you drink up to 8 glasses of water daily so that your body can be properly hydrated.
Poor nutrition: If you don’t eat healthy foods, you won’t have a balance of electrolytes in your food.
Side effects from certain medication: Some medications you take might be the cause of your foot cramps. If you notice that you suddenly start having cramps after starting a new medication, you should see your doctor so as to rule out the possibility of the medication being the cause. Some of the medications that can cause foot cramps include:
- Lovastatin which is used for lowering cholesterol
- Furosemide which is a diuretic
- Albuterol, ventolin and Proventil which are used for the treatment of asthma
- Donepezil used for treating Alzheimer’s disease
- Tolcapone used for treating Parkinson’s disease
- Raloxifene for preventing osteoporosis
Inadequate stretching: If you do not stretch adequately, your muscles won’t be strong and supple enough and this can lead to foot cramps.
Problem of circulation: When you have some kind of circulation problem, it can cause pains that become worse. When the cramps don’t stop, then you need to see a doctor.
Over-exercising: Engaging in exercises that are too hard can put a strain on your muscles and lead to foot cramps.
Wearing the wrong shoes: If you don’t wear the right shoes, you can have foot cramps as there will be restriction in the flow of blood to your foot. This can be noticed especially when tight fitting shoes are worn or when you change from flat shoes to those with heels.
HOW TO STOP FOOT CRAMPS
When you experience foot cramps, you should do the following to stop it:
If you are in the middle of an activity or exercising, stop it but if it happened when you were lying down, get up slowly.
Stretch the foot: By doing some stretches, you will be stopping it from remaining in its cramped state. While stretching, try to continue the process until the cramp starts to wear off. If you feel it returning, repeat the stretching process. Stretch your foot by grabbing your toes with your hand while you are in a sitting position to stretch your arch. Pull the toes up until you feel your arch stretching. Hold on for about 20 seconds before you release your toes. This will help you to get the blood flowing and ease your foot cramp.
Try some acupressure: This is done by pressing your fingers on one of the 3 points that correspond to your foot. The acupressure points are the ones on the top of your foot, the bottom of your calf muscle and the spot that lies between your nose and upper lip. On any of these spots, press firmly and hold on for 1 minute before releasing your hold. If there is no relief after pressing the first point, try pressing any of the other points.
Put your weight on the foot with the cramp: By putting some weight on the leg or foot, you will be able to stretch the muscle, ligaments and tendons that brought about the cramps. This will stop the cramping.
Walk about for some time: When you feel that the pain has started to ease off, you can walk around for some time. This is to prevent the foot or leg from cramping again. Spend about three minutes walking about or standing until you feel the place is relaxed. If you feel the pain coming back, walk around a little bit more to ease it off.
Massage the affected foot or leg: Massage the part of the cramping leg either gently or firmly, this will depend on what you think is working well for you in your effort to lessen the pain. You need to locate the stiff muscle and then start massaging it by applying pressure with your fingers on the painful spots. Keep at it in a stretching or circular motion as you work on the affected foot. While massaging the leg, keep it in a stretched position. Keep massaging until you begin to feel the pain easing off and the muscle starts to relax. You can do it for about 2 to 3 minutes for you to feel relief on the affected area. Applying pressure on the affected area helps in reducing the tension in the muscles and this allows blood to flow to the muscle that is affected.
Apply cold compress to the affected area: To apply a cold compress to get rid of foot cramps, get some ice and a towel that you will use to wrap the ice before applying it the affected area. You need to wrap up the ice before applying it on your skin because direct application of ice pack can damage your skin. Rub the ice along the affected area for about 20 minutes about 3 to 5 times a day and continue doing this daily until you feel the pain is gone. As you continue to apply the ice, you will begin to notice that the pain keeps diminishing until it finally goes away.
Apply heat to the affected area: Heat can help the muscles if it is still cramping. Apply heat with a heating pad to relieve the tension in the cramping foot. Make sure that the heating pad is not so hot that you end up using it to burn yourself. Put it on the foot for about 15 minutes and remove it. Rest the foot for about 20 minutes and if the pain is still there after that time, apply the heat again. You can also take a warm shower or a warm bath to help you relax the affected muscle. This can also help to ease inflammation.
Take some tea: You can have a cup of tea if the cause of your foot cramp is anxiety and stress. A cup of chamomile tea can be drunk as it can help to relax the body. Another tea that is good for relaxing muscles is cramp bark tea. It has a muscle relaxant called valerianic acid in it and it is helpful in giving you relief when you suffer from cramping in the foot and leg. You can find it at health-food stores.
Take some apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar can help you get rid of the pain caused by foot cramps. Low potassium can be a cause of foot cramp and apple cider vinegar has a high amount of potassium in it and can help give you relief from the pain caused. Add one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass cup of water and stir it so that it can mix properly. Drink it once a day to get relief from the pain. Alternatively, you can add a teaspoon of calcium lactate and add some drops of honey to the mixture before drinking it. This will help you control fluid balance within your body.
Yellow mustard: Acetic acid is found in yellow mustard and it is known to promote the formation of acetylcholine which is a neurotransmitter within the body. The acetylcholine helps the affected muscles to be rid of pain which makes it a natural treatment for foot cramps. Take a teaspoon of yellow mustard and take a warm cup of milk afterwards to get relive from the pain.
Wear toe stretchers: Toe stretchers can be worn to get relief from the pain caused by foot cramps. This can also reduce the rate at which you get the cramps. To get significant results, wear the toe stretcher for a minimum of an hour every day and you will see an improvement in the affected area. Toe stretchers can also help to stretch muscles and ligament, improve bone alignment and help to reduce the tension around the area of the toes.
Epsom salt: Epsom salt is a natural means of getting rid of muscle cramps in the leg. It has mineral magnesium in it which aids in the healing and relaxation of foot cramps. Fill your bathtub with warm water and add 2 cups of Epsom salt to it. Mix the solution well so that the Epsom salt can be distributed evenly in the water. Lie in the water for about 20 minutes so that the solution can penetrate into the painful foot to give you relief. You can repeat the process the following day. If you have high blood pressure, diabetes or heart problems, it is not advisable for you to try the Epsom salt bath.
Take supplements or medications: If your body lacks enough vitamins and minerals, it can lead to cramping in the foot. This is because you need vitamins and minerals for your body to function properly. Taking magnesium and calcium supplements can help you get rid of leg cramps quickly. If you are a regular sufferer of foot cramp, you can take vitamin E supplements based on your doctor’s recommendation.
HOW TO PREVENT FOOT CRAMPS FROM HAPPENING AGAIN
If you are a regular sufferer of foot cramps, you should do the following to prevent their re-occurrence.
- Drink lots of water every day. You should aim to drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water daily to hydrate your body. If you sweat a lot or take too much sodium in your diet, you can become dehydrated easily; make sure you increase your intake of water on a daily basis.
- If you have an imbalance of electrolytes in your body, try eating a banana every day. Electrolyte imbalance can be as a result of dietary imbalance or excessive sweating. If your diet is low in potassium and high in sodium, eating bananas can help as it contains potassium and offsets the sodium and will help you balance the electrolytes in your body.
- Wear supportive shoes that fit your feet well and discard old shoes with worn out soles.
- Do exercises regularly to keep your muscles in good condition. Aerobic exercises are good for people that are prone to foot cramps. You can include swimming which is a good aerobic exercise for getting rid of leg cramps.
- Drink a bottle of tonic water daily. It contains quinine which is good for relaxing the muscles. Check with your doctor before taking tonic water because the quinine contained in it can interfere with some medications.
If you feel your foot cramps keeps getting worse and is affecting your daily activities, you should make an appointment to see your doctor. This is because it might be the signal of an underlying condition which involves your central nervous system or your circulatory system.