Foot Cramps: Don’t Let Them Get You Down
It goes without saying that foot cramps are a major nuisance. And since we always put our entire weight on our feet, it’s inevitable that foot cramps will make an unwelcome appearance. This is especially complicated for athletes, as it can be extremely debilitating and can inevitably affect a run, ride or even swimming.
What are Foot Cramps?
To put it simply, foot cramps are spasms that affect a group of muscles, with excruciatingly painful results, lasting anywhere from several minutes or in some cases, several days.
For many, foot cramps are often a temporary disturbance that appears as a sharp and eventually debilitating pain in the inner arch and toes. On average, a foot cramp only lasts for a few minutes, yet they have the tendency to be more problematic if they persist, with the likelihood of them causing a possible chronic condition which may require a visit to the doctor.
The causes are numerous, but are mainly associated with stress on the foot. If you’re an avid runner, bicyclist or swimmer, you’ve probably experienced these during any kind of athletic activity. Yet it’s not just athletes that experience foot cramps…everyone at one point has suffered from this podiatric annoyance, even kids.
In addition to stress, other culprits include poor circulation, obesity, diabetes, dehydration, flat feet, thyroid issues and hormonal imbalances to name a few.
Dehydration, in particular, is seen as a leading cause of foot cramps, especially if you’re not drinking enough water.
These types of cramps can become extremely annoying, as we get older and become less active; muscle fatigue often sets in and poor circulation is often seen as a contributing factor. A lack of blood to our limbs reduces necessary oxygen and cramps are one result of this.
One way to reduce the potential for foot cramps is take vitamins and cut out the junk food. Crucial elements such as potassium and Vitamin D can greatly impact any problems you may have with cramping, especially in your feet. Drinking water is also beneficial…so lay off the soda and replenish your body with water. Also, quitting smoking and cutting down on alcohol intake can greatly help prevent any foot cramps.
How to Alleviate Foot Cramps
If you should suddenly be afflicted by foot cramps while exercising there are some very basic things you can do to make them go away, depending on their severity.
Massaging your feet as well as applying acupressure can actually do the job. The pressure of your fingers can help loosen the muscles. In terms of acupressure, the related points for foot cramps points are the spot between your upper lip and nose…the base of your calf muscle, and the top of your foot between the big toe and second toe. Hold any of these points (or mix them up if you so desire) for one minute and then release. Try again if it doesn’t go away at first.
Basic stretching can also help. While sitting or standing, extend your leg before you and point your toes upwards and then straight ahead. Repeat these motions for about one minute; eventually it will help blood flow through your leg and eventually alleviate the cramp.
This is also where several of Doc’s all natural products can be of help. For example, Doc’s Natural Muscle Balm™ creates a soothing and long lasting warming sensation to speed recovery and ease painful muscles. And Doc’s Natural Massage Elixir™ is specifically designed to provide slickness for a brief massage and then dry without leaving you feeling nasty and greasy.
Preventing Foot Cramps
While foot cramps can sneak up on you when you least expect them. You can take preventive measures to lessen their appearance.
Warming up before you exercise will help loosen you up, as will drinking plenty of water to keep you hydrated. It may also be beneficial to stretch your feet and legs before you go to sleep and after you wake up in the morning. After a ride or a run, take plenty of time to cool down, which will help relax your muscles.
Also important is ensuring that your feet are comfortable. If you’re wearing running or biking shoes, make sure that they have proper padding to help cushion your feet. If you have fallen arches, you may in fact need to get orthotics, which can help give your feet needed support. The same goes for regular sneakers, if you tend to do plenty of walking.