Foot cramps occur when the muscles contract, either as a result of sitting for too long, or subjecting your feet to an intense amount of exercise, like running for a very long time. That annoying cramping feeling may pass quickly, or it can last a long time, even causing your toes to curl inwards and increasing the discomfort. Cramps might only occur every once in a while, but some people may experience them on a regular basis. Usually people who have frequent cramps in their feet have problems with their circulation, are dehydrated, have a poor diet, or suffer from nerve problems.
It’s rare that a cramp is cause for consulting your doctor; however, if it becomes very common and is worrying you, you should see a specialist who can determine what might be causing these recurring cramps. Some diseases can have symptoms that include cramping in the feet and legs. But if your case isn’t so serious, we encourage you to try the following recommendations the next time you need to relieve a foot cramp.
Tips to stop foot cramps in their tracks
- If you have a cramp in just one foot, put all of your body weight on that foot for a few seconds. Keep the opposite foot raised, not touching the ground.
- If you’re wearing closed-toed shoes or socks, remove them and let your feet stretch for a few minutes.
- Flex your toes, raise the foot that has the cramp, and support it using only your heel. Gently wiggle your toes and repeat this until the pain subsides.
- Move your toes back and forth, and if it continues to ache, use your fingers to pull them gently.
- To prevent future cramping and pain, go for a walk as soon as you recover from the cramp.
- If these spasms continue for several minutes, you can apply heat to the area using a warm, damp cloth.
- You can use acupressure to alleviate the cramp by using your thumb and index finger to press on your upper lip for about 30 seconds.
- Another acupressure point that can provide relief in seconds is the spot located between your big toe and the toe next to it. Apply pressure for 30 to 40 seconds.
Home remedies to end foot cramps
If the above tips don’t help you with you foot cramps, you can also try any of the following home remedies.
If you’ve had a long day with a lot of physical activity, or your feet are just plain tired, a good foot massage is a great way to prevent and reduce any cramping. To do this, just rub the foot to relax your muscles and reduce the annoying spasm. Move toward the front of your foot to increase blood flow and help you completely relax. If you’re worried about experiencing cramps during the night, giving yourself a foot massage before going to bed is a good way to prevent them.
Stretching exercisesStretching is one of the most sure-fire ways to reduce muscle cramps in seconds. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), soft and gentle stretching and massage of the foot muscle can help completely eliminate cramps. Stretching should also be performed on a regular basis to prevent cramps from forming, especially when engaged in other types of exercise.
Drinking tea made with ginkgo biloba can help reduce foot cramps quickly. Just boil three tablespoons of ginkgo biloba leaves in a cup of water for 10 minutes, let stand for five minutes, and consume immediately.
Essential oilsHeat can help relax the area affected by a cramp and is usually very effective in reducing that uncomfortable feeling that you feel in your feet. If you don’t want to use a heating pad, you can choose essential oils like eucalyptus, pine, tea tree, rosemary, or thyme, as these provide a warming sensation. Ideally you should cover your feet after applying the oil, for best results.
Arnica is another plant that has powerful abilities to stimulate circulation, while also reducing inflammation and relieving muscle aches and cramps. This requires preparing a tea made with arnica root and applying it to the affected area for five minutes, using a warm compress. Another option is to add a few drops of tincture of arnica in a bowl of hot water, and soaking your feet in this mixture for 10 minutes.