Auteur: Podiatre Montreal
If you, too, are familiar with the acute pain of sudden foot cramps, whether during sleep or due to sports cramps, be aware that many factors can cause them. The cramps will be the result of an involuntary contraction of one or more muscles during physical activity, but also at rest. They appear suddenly and mainly affect the feet or calves. To put an end to cramps permanently and relieve pain, this article will provide you with the necessary advice to counter them, prevent them or in extreme cases, contact our podiatric clinic in Montreal which puts at your disposal health professionals to confirm the diagnosis and provide lasting solutions to your concern.
What are the causes of foot cramps?
Many causes can cause cramps and thus automatically cause foot pain, in most cases this will occur after a sports activity or extreme effort due to a lack of stretching of your muscles. This type of cramp is very easily managed and usually goes away on its own in a few minutes.
It is also a popular belief that the main causes of muscle cramps come from a lack of water or dehydration, but this is not necessarily a link since dehydration does not automatically mean a decrease in mineral salts and therefore cramps. It occurs unexpectedly and is triggered by a prolonged or temporary muscle contraction caused by fatigue or stress, among other things. Do not worry, it is generally benign phenomena that can even cause cramps in the legs at night.
Other causes can be taken into account in the appearance of cramps:
- Pregnancy or taking birth control pills
- Dialysis or chronic kidney failure that will result in loss of mineral salts.
- Abuse of stimulants such as coffee or tea, but also drug use.
- The cold
- Poor blood circulation that will cause a poor supply of oxygen to the muscles.
- A lack of potassium
- A pinched nerve
- Alcohol or tobacco abuse
- Poor nutrition leading to nutritional deficiencies
Finally, cramps can be a symptom of a more serious disease when they are frequent and last longer than normal:
- Neurological disease
- Hormonal disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- An infection
- An orthopedic problem such as a fracture or dislocation
In all cases, it is highly recommended that you consult a specialist and have examinations as soon as cramps become more frequent and you present risk factors.
What are the consequences of foot cramps?
Muscle cramps should not be confused with other ailments such as muscle spasms, muscle soreness or muscle contraction, which will also cause a lot of muscle pain, that is why it is important to consult to verify that it is indeed cramps and define the exact cause.
Foot cramps, and especially night cramps, are very painful and make it impossible to walk for the duration of the cramp. When they are frequent, they can lead to numerous consequences that can be disabling and leave painful after-effects on your muscles and joints. When they occur more frequently, it is possible that they can cause fatigue due to lack of sleep, but also a source of anxiety and stress for the person concerned.
How to treat foot cramps?
Prevent muscle cramps
There are many recommendations for the prevention of muscle cramps, we propose you some of them:
- Warm up before and after exercise and perform stretching exercises.
- Get enough hydration
- Avoid prolonged intense efforts
- Limit your consumption of stimulants such as tobacco, alcohol, caffeine…
- Have a healthy diet and good hydration
- Avoid the cold and wear warm clothing during outdoor workouts.
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach
- Taking supplements such as vitamins and minerals
The most frequent cramps are nocturnal cramps, in order to avoid them, several tips should be implemented such as changing your sleeping position to a semi-ventral position with your feet outside the bed or stretching exercises.
Treatments for foot cramp
In spite of these recommendations, you still very often suffer from foot cramps? Many natural treatments can help reduce and even eliminate them. So, how can you treat and prevent the onset of cramp? Several techniques can be applied when a cramp occurs:
- Stretch before sport, but also after extreme exertion.
- Walk or move your foot
- Apply a hot or cold compress to the sore muscle.
- Lying down with your legs in an upright position
- Take a shower or a hot bath by applying the jet for at least 5 minutes on the muscle.
- Perform a foot massage
When they are frequent, it is mainly due to muscular fatigue that can be eliminated through several treatments or programs that will be put in place by a health professional:
- Arch Strengthening Exercise
- Wearing a shoe adapted to your foot or a foot orthosis
- Assessment of drug therapy intake
- Correction of electrolyte imbalances
- Magnesium and sodium type drug treatment
- Application of a cryotherapy gel
- Homeopathy through the application of arnica in gel or tablet form for example
However, if foot cramps become incapacitating and cause extreme fatigue, you should consult a doctor. Many specialists are at your disposal at Montreal Podiatric Clinic to treat all foot pathologies, including muscle cramps.
Simply make an appointment and we will welcome you in the best conditions.