These tips can help fight off a foot crampThe pain of a foot cramp can be surprisingly overwhelming, especially since the phenomenon isn’t usually the result of any type of foot injury or problem. It is caused by uncomfortable, painful spasming of the muscles in your feet. Foot cramps most often occur in the arches of your feet, on top of your feet, or around your toes. Cramps, though not a serious medical problem, can be debilitating: limiting your mobility and even temporarily freezing your foot muscles! 

Thankfully, most foot cramps aren’t a cause for concern. They can usually be treated at home (I'll tell you how in a minute.) If, however, your foot cramps become a chronic problem, it's important to discuss the issue with your doctor.

What Causes Foot Cramps?

Why do we get foot cramps? There are several different reasons why foot cramps develop, the most common ones being: muscle fatigue or stress, tight shoes,  poor circulation, malnutrition, vitamin D deficiency, obesity, diabetes, flat feet, hormone imbalance, dehydration, thyroid gland malfunction, or a pinched nerve.

Of course, some medications also cause foot cramps, especially (but not only) diuretics, so you may need to speak with your doctor if you believe that your foot cramps are being induced by medication. If, however, your cramp is just a run-of-the-mill pain in your foot, here are the 3 steps you need to take in order to get your foot feeling better:

  1. Pull the toes upward (if toes are cramping)

  2. Pull your foot in the opposite direction of the cramp

  3. Put direct pressure on the cramp

If none of these tips seem to do the trick, place a warm compress on your foot to increase pressure and boost blood flow to the trouble spot.

Once the cramp is gone,  drink some lightly-salted water and grab a magnesium-rich snack like a banana—the salt and magnesium both have cramp-fighting properties.

Want to stave off future cramps? Here are a few things you can try:

1. Warm up and cool down before and after exercising.

2. Stay on top of your water intake.

3. Eat food with lots of potassium and calcium like bananas, milk, yogurt, cheese, fish, fresh veggies and dark chocolate.

4. Give your feet a rub whenever you get a chance.

5. Wear comfortable, well-fitted shoes to keep the pressure off your feet.

Dr. Andrew Schneider
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A podiatrist and foot surgeon in Houston, TX.