Foot Cramp Treatment
- If you’re sitting or lying down, stand up and put weight on your cramping foot.
- Actively lift your foot and toes, pulling them up toward your nose.
- Rub your muscle gently as you stretch it.
- If ice is not working, put heat on the cramped muscle with a warm towel or heating pad.
How to stop a charley horse?
- Pull your foot up toward your buttock. Massage, a bath with Epsom salts, or a heating pad can relax the muscle. To fight pain, use an ice pack or take an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen or naproxen. In most cases, the charley horse will stop within a few minutes. But if you get them often and for no clear reason, tell your doctor.
What causes a charley horse in your feet?
Exercising too much or too hard can put unneeded strain on the muscles in your feet, causing them to cramp. You may be in top shape, but working out too hard could be causing you to cramp. On the other hand, you may not be in great physical shape, and doing too much, too fast can also lead to cramping.
How do you stop Charlie horses in your feet?
Charley Horse Prevention
- Eat more foods high in vitamins and magnesium.
- Stay hydrated.
- Stretch daily and before exercise.
- Wear comfortable shoes.
- Limit how much alcohol you drink.
- Ramp up your exercise slowly rather than all at once.
- Don’t exercise right after you eat.
- Don’t smoke.
How do you stop a foot cramp?
Stretch your foot gently, but forcefully to relieve the cramp by flexing your foot and pressing down on your big toe. Walking around and jiggling your leg may also help with both foot and leg cramps. Taking a warm bath or shower, or using ice may ease any lingering pain. Deep tissue massage may help in the long term.
Is it possible to get Charlie Horse in foot?
You’re sound asleep, and then, without warning, you wake up with a paralyzing stiffness in your calf or foot. Whether you call it a foot or leg cramp (aka “charley horse”), it’s a common, somewhat mysterious pain that happens when a muscle gets involuntarily stiff and can’t relax.
How do I stop foot cramps at night?
Some simple things you might keep you from getting cramps:
- Stretch during the day and before bed. Focus on your calf and foot muscles.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Move around during the day to exercise your feet and legs.
- Wear comfortable, supportive shoes.
- Sleep under loose covers, especially if you sleep on your back.
Why are charley horses so painful?
The extreme pain comes from the continued contraction. “The contraction goes beyond what you want to do,” said Porter. “The muscle fatigues, it starts hurting, you say, ‘all right stop,’ but it’s doing it on its own — it’s not your idea, it’s an involuntary action.”
What deficiency causes Charlie horses?
A mineral deficiency or an imbalance of electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, and sodium is also likely to increase one’s odds of getting a charley horse. Electrolytes are certain minerals that play an important role in muscle function.
Do bananas help charley horses?
You probably know that bananas are a good source of potassium. But they’ll also give you magnesium and calcium. That’s three out of four nutrients you need to ease muscle cramps tucked under that yellow peel. No wonder bananas are a popular, quick choice for cramp relief.
What vitamin is good for foot cramps?
Targeting the Cause of Cramps Essential vitamins you need in balanced levels in your diet in order to avoid foot cramps include Vitamin B6, D, and E; potassium; calcium; and magnesium.
How does pickle juice stop leg cramps?
The science behind why it works While it hasn’t been proven yet, researchers posit that pickle juice may help cramps by triggering muscular reflexes when the liquid contacts the back of the throat. This reflex shuts down the misfiring of neurons in muscle all over the body, and “turns off” the cramping feeling.
Does salt help with cramps?
Intravenous saline can reverse heat cramping, and more salt in the diet and in sports drinks can help prevent heat cramping. For heat cramping, the solution is saline.
Why does vinegar stop leg cramps?
Acetic acid is postulated to mitigate cramping by decreasing alpha motor neuron activity through oropharyngeal stimulation and inhibitory neurotransmitter production, while aiding in the role acetylcholine plays in muscle contraction and relaxation.
What is dystonia of the feet?
Curled, clenched toes or a painful cramped foot are telltale signs of dystonia. Dystonia is a sustained or repetitive muscle twisting, spasm or cramp that can occur at different times of day and in different stages of Parkinson’s disease (PD).
What Can I Do About My Foot Cramps?
Foot cramps occur when a muscle in your foot abruptly contracts and is unable to release. They’re typically completely harmless. Most of the time, you can take care of the discomfort yourself at your residence. Even though you might acquire a foot cramp as a result of exercising or engaging in other physical activity, it can occur while you’re sitting motionless or resting as well.
Foot Cramp Symptoms
With a footcramp, you may experience anything from a small ticking sensation to an acute spasm that causes significant discomfort. You could also notice the following:
- When you contract your muscle, it feels really hard and stiff
- Your foot twitches, and you can see it twitching.
A cramp may last only a few seconds, or it may linger for up to 15 minutes or more depending on the severity.
Foot Cramp Treatment
When your foot muscle becomes tense, use these suggestions to help it relax:
- If you’re sitting or laying down, get up and put weight on the foot that’s cramping. Exert active lifting of your foot and toes, dragging them up and toward your nose. (If you’re standing, walk with your heels on the ground.) If you want to do more, grip your foot with your hand or wrap a towel, necktie, or belt over the ball of your foot and toes, pushing the foot up toward your nose will also help to stretch the muscles. As you stretch your muscle, gently rub it to help it relax. Try applying ice to the affected region while massaging it. If ice does not relieve the cramping, apply heat to the affected area using a warm cloth or heating pad. Alternatively, you may soak it in warm water.
Additionally, you can take an over-the-counter pain killer, such as ibuprofen, to assist alleviate any residual aches and pains.
Foot Cramp Prevention
Keeping your body limber and healthy is one of the most important ways to avoid cramping. Here’s how it’s done: Stretch. Warm up your muscles, especially if you’re going to be utilizing them for an extended period of time. Before and after your workout, be sure to stretch. Ensure that you stretch before going to bed if you are prone to leg cramps at night. Doing a few minutes of gentle activity, such as stationary bike riding, before you go to sleep might help your muscles relax more effectively while you are sleeping as well.
- It is important to drink enough of water throughout the day to avoid cramping.
- When you’re more active or when the weather is hot or dry, you should drink extra fluids.
- This will assist you in staying hydrated and calm, as well as your muscles.
- Fill your dish with a variety of brightly colored fruits and veggies.
- It’s best to stick with fruits (bananas, for example.) Reduce your intake of alcoholic beverages as well.
- Make sure you have all of your meds.
- Even if you are unable to change the medication you are taking, you will be able to identify the source of your cramps.
- Pay attention to your footwear.
- Make sure your footwear isn’t the source of your foot problems.
- It’s possible that there’s another problem to deal with.
Don’t Let Foot Cramps and Charley Horses Slow You Down
Have you ever had a paralyzing tightness in your leg or foot when you first woke up? Cleveland Clinic is a not-for-profit academic medical facility located in Cleveland, Ohio. Advertising on our website contributes to the success of our mission. We do not recommend or promote any items or services that are not provided by the Cleveland Clinic. Policy Cramping of the foot or the leg (also known as “charley horse”) is a frequent and rather unexplained type of discomfort that occurs when a muscle becomes reflexively rigid and can’t be allowed to relax.
Caitlin Lewis, MD, a sports medicine expert, believes that as we get older, “they seem to arise more frequently.” They are seldom hazardous, despite the fact that they can be unpleasant.
7 common causes for cramps
Spasming or cramping of the foot and calf muscles can occur at any time of day or night. Likewise, a variety of other muscles in your body might be affected. Why? The following are the most typical causes of muscular cramps:
- Cramping due to dehydration: “If you’re feeling cramping, it’s vital to check your hydration first,” Dr. Lewis advises patients. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated. Complications arising from poor nutrition: While a proper electrolyte balance (a balance of calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium) is necessary for the contraction and relaxation of a muscle, it is not recommended that you self-treat with supplements. As an alternative, Dr. Lewis recommends consuming a range of meals, including lots of colorful fruits and vegetables, such as leafy greens and bananas, in order to ensure that your diet has a balanced amount of electrolytes. Leg cramps are a side effect of several drugs, including statins and diuretics, which can be quite uncomfortable. When cramps appear unexpectedly after you begin taking a new drug, this is a red flag to look out for. If this occurs, notify your healthcare practitioner immediately. Not putting up enough effort: Taking some time each day to stretch might be beneficial. Physicist Dr. Lewis explains that you want your muscles to be as powerful and supple as possible. In order to do this, adequate stretching following a brief warm-up time or after a shower is essential.
- Exercise too hard: If you exercise too hard or have muscular exhaustion, this might result in cramping. Poor circulation: If you are experiencing cramps that grows worse as you walk, it is possible that you have a circulation problem. “Cramping discomfort is a symptom of several circulatory disorders.” According to Dr. Lewis, “If the pain grows worse as you walk, or if you get cramps that won’t go away, you should visit your primary care physician immediately.” The incorrect footwear: Muscle cramps can be caused by a variety of factors, including your footwear. Doctor Lewis advises checking your shoes, especially if you’ve switched from flats to heels, because this can also induce cramping.
How to stop leg and foot cramps
Leg and foot cramps can be treated in a number of methods that are straightforward:
- Try just standing up and putting some weight on the afflicted leg or foot if it occurs while you are laying down if possible. This might be sufficient to alleviate the tender stiffness in certain cases. Warmth/heating pads can be used to enhance blood circulation to the muscle and help it relax at the same time. It might also be beneficial to soak in a warm pool of Epsom salt to relieve tension. If the pain is really tenacious, you might try taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen.
Easy stretches to keep calves and feet happy
The following are some easy stretches that may be used to relieve discomfort and perhaps prevent it.
Basic calf stretch
Runners frequently utilize this calf stretch to improve their performance. Here’s how you go about it:
- Stand with your palms against a wall and your arms spread out in front of you
- Taking a step back with the leg that has been injured, lean forward on the other leg and press up against the wall You should feel a stretch in your calf muscle and the back of your leg after doing this exercise.
While you’re sitting, do this stretch:
- Extend the length of your legs out in front of you
- Draw your afflicted foot’s toes upwards toward the ceiling, ensuring that the leg is engaged. To wrap your foot, use a towel or a neck tie and hold it in place with both hands
- You should slightly lift the leg till you feel a decent stretch
Leg or foot cramps are a common occurrence, although they are usually manageable by the individual experiencing them. However, if they occur regularly, are severe, or if you have reason to believe one of your drugs is to blame, you should consult with your doctor. They might indicate the presence of a medical concern that necessitates care.
8 Causes of Foot Cramps at Night and How to Stop Them
The onset of a foot cramp can come out of nowhere, jolting you awake from a deep sleep. From a few seconds to a few minutes at a time, you may notice your muscles tightening or knotting up unexpectedly. Adults have reported experiencing nocturnal foot cramps in up to 60% of cases. Spasms can occur only once during the night or they can occur repeatedly, resulting in insomnia and lingering pain the next day. The good news is that these cramps are usually not a cause for alarm and should not be ignored.
Continue reading to find out more about the possible causes of nighttime foot cramps and how to get relief from them.
Sitting with bad posture may also limit blood flow to your feet or contribute to nerve compression – two risk factors for experiencing cramps.
Take into consideration the following:
- Examine your sleeping habits to determine if they might be a contributing factor to your overnight cramps. When you sleep with your feet pointed downwards, you may experience impaired circulation. Try sleeping on your back or side with a pillow under your knees to relieve pressure on your joints.
Exerting too much force on the muscles in your feet may make them more susceptible to cramping. The muscle fibers in your feet contract and expand on a continuous basis to allow you to move. If you engage in too much physical activity too quickly, or if you push your feet too hard, you may develop muscular fatigue. It is possible to become fatigued during the day, which depletes your body of oxygen and permits waste products to build up. Cramping and spasms might occur as a result of this accumulation during the night.
- Concrete floors and other hard surfaces can have a comparable effect on the body as standing or working on them.
- It is also possible that improper footwear will hinder the circulation of the foot, cutting off blood and oxygen and causing painful spasms even when you are not on your feet.
- It is possible that you are not drinking enough water during the day, or that you are suffering from diarrhea or another sickness that is causing you to become dehydrated.
- As a result of dehydration and electrolyte depletion, your muscles become more prone to cramping and spasming.
- It is for this reason that you may get foot cramps at night.
- Leg and foot cramps can be caused by a deficiency in magnesium and potassium.
- Using a simple blood test, your doctor can determine your levels and determine whether you require any supplements or other therapy for underlying issues.
- Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol may result in nerve damage and the development of a disease known as alcoholic neuropathy.
- Heavy alcohol use may also result in dehydration and nutritional deficiencies, particularly in the B vitamins, which are essential for health.
When a woman is pregnant, she is more sensitive to leg and foot cramps at night, especially during the second and third trimesters. Researchers are baffled as to why this is happening. Among the possible explanations are:
- Dehydration, dietary inadequacies, notably magnesium deficiency, and increased weight on the foot as the child develops
There are a number of medical diseases that are connected with midnight foot cramps. These include:
- Structure-related problems, such as spinal stenosis and peripheral arterial disease
- Metabolic-related problems, such as renal disease, anemia, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and type 1 or type 2 diabetes
- And other disorders, such as nerve damage, osteoarthritis, and Parkinson’s disease
Taking some drugs may also increase your risk of experiencing cramps. These are some examples:
- Blood pressure drugs, statins, diuretics, and birth control pills are all examples of prescription pharmaceuticals.
If you’re undergoing dialysis, you may find that you’re more prone to cramping. Treatment for nocturnal foot cramps is not recommended by physicians in any particular manner. Instead, it is preferable to treat the underlying source of the problem. If you are a regular exerciser, keep up the good work! Leg and foot cramps are common throughout the day and at night, and regular movement may help prevent them. Are you new to exercise? Consult with a doctor or other medical expert for advice on a treatment plan that may be suitable for you.
After a 2012 research, anecdotal evidence shows that spending a few minutes on an exercise bike or treadmill before bed may be beneficial in the treatment of nocturnal leg and foot cramps.
Stretch and soothe your muscles
Make it a point to stretch your feet every day to keep your foot muscles fluid, especially before and after you work up a sweat. What if you’re suffering a cramp in the middle of the night? Stretching your foot softly but firmly to release the cramp by flexing your foot and pressing down on your big toe can help to relieve the cramp. Walking about and jiggling your leg may also be beneficial in relieving foot and leg cramps at the same time. Taking a warm bath or shower, or using ice, may help to alleviate any remaining discomfort.
Examine your shoes
Wearing supportive shoes that are also comfortable is important, especially if you are walking on hard terrain for long periods of time. The heel counter is the portion of your shoes that helps to keep your heel in place when you walk. The support provided by shoes with a solid heel counter may be superior in terms of giving support throughout the day. Footwear that is well suited and well-supported may also help you prevent nighttime foot cramps. Depending on your situation, your doctor may recommend that you see a podiatrist for custom inserts if you’re having difficulty finding shoes that are comfortable.
Drink more water
Generally speaking, experts recommend that males drink 15.5 cups of fluids such as water per day and that women drink 11.5 cups. Maintaining enough hydration in your muscles might help avoid cramping. It is recommended that your urine be light yellow to clear as a general rule of thumb. You should try drinking another glass of water if the color is darker than that. People who are pregnant or nursing may require an increased amount of liquids each day to satisfy their hydration requirements. If you have any worries about properly hydrating your body, see your doctor.
Eat well and supplement
Consume a well-balanced diet that contains adequate amounts of calcium, potassium, and magnesium, among other nutrients. If you have a deficit that has been diagnosed, you should treat it under the supervision of your doctor. There have been a number of studies that have shown that magnesium supplementation can be effective in alleviating cramps.
Inquire with your doctor about appropriate dose and brand recommendations. The supplements you need may be found in your local grocery shop, health food store, or on the internet. Magnesium-rich foods include the following:
- Whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and unsweetened dried fruits are all good choices.
Bananas and leafy greens may also be beneficial in maintaining electrolyte balance.
Lower your alcohol intake
Limit your consumption of alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine, and mixed drinks. These beverages have the potential to dehydrate you. If you have alcohol-related nerve damage and are having difficulty quitting drinking, you should seek professional assistance. Contacting your doctor, a friend, or a local support program are all options to consider. Conditions such as alcoholic neuropathy can cause nerve damage that is irreversible and progresses over time. Early detection and treatment are essential in preventing this.
Some easy self-care measures may be able to help you avoid nocturnal foot cramps. These include:
- Prevent your feet from being trapped by untucking the bed’s blankets from the foot of your bed before you go to sleep. To relax your muscles before night, take a bath in warm water. Light stretching should be done throughout the day to ensure that your muscles are not tense before bedtime
Try rubbing some topicalessential oils into your feet before going to bed as a relaxing alternative to bathing. Anti-spasmodic qualities may be found in oils such as geranium, chamomile, coriander, and ylang-ylang oils, among others. Aromatherapy using lavender or mint fragrances may also help to create a peaceful sleep environment, which may help to reduce cramping and discomfort.
In the event that you experience nightly foot cramps (or other significant muscular cramping) during your pregnancy, notify your doctor immediately. While many of the same self-care techniques that helped you may be beneficial to you, your doctor can make additional recommendations. When you have a cramp, stretch your foot and raise your legs to keep them from coming back again. Physical activity, massage, and a warm (but not hot) shower or bath may all be beneficial in the treatment of insomnia.
If the cramping is preventing you from sleeping, your doctor may prescribe that you take a magnesium supplement.
Foot cramps usually disappear on their own after a few days of home treatment, such as stretching or a change in lifestyle, such as drinking more water.
If you are experiencing cramps on a regular basis and they are not improving after making adjustments to your routine, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor.
What Causes Foot Cramps? Plus, How to Get Relief
Is this anything to be concerned about? Foot cramps are caused by a painful spasming of the muscles in your feet that is both unpleasant and painful. Foot pain is most commonly felt in the arches of your feet, on the tops of your feet, and around your toes. Cramps like these can put you in a complete halt, reducing your ability to move your feet and even causing your muscles to contract in a spasm until the cramp subsides. Foot cramps that occur from time to time are normally not a reason for concern, and they can be relieved by simple stretching and massage.
Foot cramps that are persistent or recurrent, on the other hand, should be reviewed by your doctor. Cramps in your foot can be caused by a variety of various circumstances or causes, including the following:
If your feet are cramping, it’s conceivable that your shoes are too small for you. Shoes that are too tight can cause blisters on the bottoms of your feet and block off circulation. They can also cause muscular tightness in your feet as a result of the restriction in your range of motion. Toes and feet should be able to move freely within your shoes, and your toes and feet should not fall asleep while you are wearing your shoes. If you’ve noticed that your shoes are rubbing against your toes and heels, restricting your movement, cutting off your circulation, or leaving indentations in your skin, you may need to double-check your actual foot size against the size shoe you’re currently wearing to determine whether you have a problem.
Cramping can occur in your feet (as well as other muscles) if you are dehydrated. When you don’t drink enough water to keep your organs and tissues functioning correctly, your body becomes dehydrated and becomes sick. Because being dehydrated implies that your muscles aren’t getting the water they require, they begin to malfunction, resulting in the discomfort and spasms associated with cramping and other muscular cramps. Being dehydrated as a result of not drinking enough water can be dangerous.
Examples include gastrointestinal illnesses that cause you to vomit and have diarrhea, which might result in you losing too much fluid.
Among the signs and symptoms of dehydration are:
- Dry mouth, chapped lips, dry skin, headaches, foul-smelling breath, reduced urine production, dark, concentrated urine, chills, fever, and a sweet tooth are all symptoms of diabetes.
Dehydration may be diagnosed by having your doctor check your urine and vital signs.
Overexertion or overuse of the muscles in your feet might cause them to cramp as a result of the unnecessary tension placed on them. Despite the fact that you are in excellent form, working out too hard may be causing you to cramp. On the other hand, you may not be in excellent physical condition, and doing too much, too quickly, might also result in cramping. Moderate your activity and take a break if you feel like you are pushing yourself too hard.
Low levels of potassium
Potassium is an electrolyte that serves to regulate the activity of muscle cells and nerves in the body. Muscle cramping, particularly in the feet and legs, can occur when your potassium levels are low. Cramping in your muscles might be caused by a chronic low potassium level, known as hypokalemia. When hypokalemia is moderate, it is not necessarily accompanied by symptoms. When it becomes severe, it might result in the following symptoms:
- Fatigue, muscular cramps, constipation, weakness, and an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) are all symptoms of this condition.
Your doctor will check the potassium levels in your blood and urine to determine if you have hypokalemia. Muscle cramping can also be caused by low calcium and magnesium levels in the body at times.
The damage to your feet’s nerves, which is known as peripheral neuropathy, can produce discomfort that can be mistaken for muscular cramps in certain cases. When you have this condition, your feet and hands may become numb, uncomfortable, or weak.
Nerve damage is often caused by diabetes; however, other factors such as toxicity exposure, hereditary abnormalities, an injury or infection, and metabolic disorders can also contribute to the condition. Nerve injury is defined by pain that is characterized by the following characteristics:
- Heat or cold sensation
- Tingling and pinpricking sensations
- Feeling numb
- Stabbing sensations
- Feeling particularly sensitive to contact
A neurological test will be required in order to determine whether or not you have nerve damage. As part of the exam, your coordination, sense of touch, reflexes, muscular tone and strength, and posture will be evaluated. Aside from that, your doctor will want to find out what the underlying cause of your nerve damage is so that it may be treated appropriately.
As a side effect of some drugs, your muscles may become cramped and painful. These can include the following:
- Statin drugs for high cholesterol, such as Crestor, Pravachol, Zocor, Lescol, Mevacor, or Lipitor
- Diuretics (medications that help your body shed excess fluid), such as Microzide and Lasix
- Asthma medications containing albuterol or terbutaline
- And other medications that help your body shed excess fluid. Aricept, a pharmaceutical for Alzheimer’s disease
- Evista, a medication for osteoporosis
- Prostigmine, a medication for myasthenia gravis
- Procardia, a medication for high blood pressure and chest discomfort
- Tasmar, a medication for Parkinson’s disease
If you are taking one or more of these drugs and suspect that they may be the source of your foot cramps, consult your doctor immediately. If your feet are cramping as a result of one of the triggers or conditions listed below, your doctor will prescribe the most appropriate course of therapy.
Having your feet measured and comparing the size you’re wearing to the size of your shoe is a good way to determine if your shoes are overly tight or poorly constructed. Even if your shoe size is accurate, it’s possible that your shoes may not provide adequate support. It may be necessary to modify shoe designs or brands, as well as to add supportive insoles or arch supports, in order to alleviate cramping.
If you’ve been diagnosed with dehydration, your doctor will determine the severity of your problem and treat you accordingly. You may be encouraged to drink plenty of water in addition to an electrolyte drink to assist replace fluids if you are suffering from moderate dehydration. Make this tasty electrolyte drink at home to see how easy it is. Intravenous (IV) fluids may be prescribed by your doctor if you are extremely dehydrated or are unable to keep liquids down. In severe circumstances, you may need to be admitted to the hospital until your symptoms subside.
If you’re overexerting yourself, your doctor will advise you to take it easy for a while. While you will almost certainly need to continue exercising, you may need to minimize the amount of time you spend doing so until your muscles are able to handle more.
Low levels of nutrients
If your muscular cramps are caused by low potassium (hypokalemia), low calcium (hypocalcemia), or low magnesium (hypomagnesemia), your doctor may prescribe that you take a potassium, calcium, or magnesium supplement. If you have a minor case, oral supplements will help to raise your levels. In extreme situations, intravenous potassium may be required.
If your doctor determines that nerve damage is the source of your foot discomfort, he or she will want to know what caused the injury. Discomfort relievers, topical creams (such as capsaicin or lidocaine), antidepressants, and drugs used to treat epilepsy may all be effective in alleviating the nerve pain associated with peripheral neuropathy. Neuropathy can be treated in a variety of ways, including:
- Physical treatment, surgery, plasmapheresis, TENS therapy, and intravenous immune globulin are all options.
It is possible that your doctor will wish to adjust your prescription if they establish that your medicine is the source of your foot cramping. They will be able to assess any potential adverse effects of the new drug, as well as whether or not it may cause your feet to cramp as a result of the new prescription. Contact your doctor immediately if you are getting foot cramps on a frequent basis, especially if they are painful and incapacitating. Your doctor can assist you in determining what is causing the cramps so that you can return to your previous level of well-being and function.
It’s not necessary to worry if you’re just suffering occasional cramps; nonetheless, it’s a good idea to rule out any trivial causes (such as overexertion or poorly fitting shoes) that may be the source of your discomfort before proceeding.
If this does not alleviate the condition, or if the cramps continue to worsen and become more regular, see your doctor right away.
Muscle cramp – Symptoms and causes
When you have a muscle cramp, one or more of your muscles tighten in an unexpected and involuntary manner. If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night or been stopped in your tracks by a sudden charley horse, you know that muscular cramps may be excruciatingly painful to deal with. Muscle cramps, though normally innocuous, can make it hard to utilize the afflicted muscle for a short period of time. Muscle cramps can occur after prolonged durations of physical activity or manual labor, particularly in hot temperatures.
The majority of the time, self-care procedures may be used to cure muscular cramps at home.
The majority of muscular cramps occur in the leg muscles, notably in the calf muscles. Besides feeling or seeing a mass of muscle tissue beneath your skin, you may also experience or notice a quick, acute discomfort.
When to see a doctor
Muscle cramps normally go away on their own and are not acute enough to necessitate medical attention in most cases. Consult your doctor if your cramps include any of the following symptoms:
- Result in extreme discomfort
- Are connected with leg edema, redness, or changes in the appearance of the skin
- These conditions are connected with muscular weakness. This occurs on a regular basis
- Self-care does not help
- Instead, it makes things worse. Don’t appear to be related with a clearly identifiable cause, such as severe exercise
Muscle cramps can be caused by overuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle tension, or just being in one posture for an extended amount of time. In many situations, however, the exact reason for the condition is unknown. Although the vast majority of muscular cramps are innocuous, some may be associated with a medical condition such as one of the following:
- There is insufficient blood supply. When the arteries that supply blood to your legs become narrowed (a condition known as arteriosclerosis of the extremities), it might cause cramp-like pain in your legs and feet when you’re exercising. These pains normally subside after a few minutes of ceasing exercise. Compression of the nerves. Compression of nerves in your spine (lumbar stenosis) can cause cramp-like pain in your legs as well as other symptoms. The discomfort normally intensifies as you walk for a longer period of time. If you walk in a slightly flexed stance, such as you would if you were pulling a shopping cart in front of you, you may find that your symptoms improve or are delayed in onset.
- Mineral depletion is a problem. Leg cramps might be exacerbated if you consume too little potassium, calcium, or magnesium. Diuretics, which are commonly taken to treat high blood pressure, can also deplete these minerals in the body.
Muscle cramps can be caused by a variety of factors, some of which are as follows:
- Age. Because older persons lose muscular mass, the residual muscle is more susceptible to being overstressed
- Dehydration. Cramping is common in athletes who become weary and dehydrated when participating in warm-weather activities. Cramping is also common in pregnant women. Muscle cramps are also prevalent during pregnancy
- However, they are less severe. Medical conditions are listed below. It is possible that you will be more susceptible to muscular cramps if you have diabetes, or if you have nerve, liver, or thyroid diseases.
Cramping may be avoided by following these steps:
- Dehydration should be avoided. Drink enough of fluids on a daily basis. This varies depending on your diet, your gender, your level of exercise, the weather, your physical and mental well-being, your age, and the drugs you take. Fluids aid in the contraction and relaxation of your muscles, as well as keeping muscle cells hydrated and less irritable. Replace fluids at regular intervals while your exercise, and continue to drink water or other fluids after you’ve stopped
- Make sure to stretch your muscles. Stretching should be done before and after using any muscle for a lengthy amount of time. Stretching before bedtime can help if you suffer from leg cramps at night. Light activity, such as riding a stationary bicycle for a few minutes before night, may also be beneficial in preventing cramps while you’re sleeping
- For example,
3rd of March, 2021
- Muscle cramps are a painful condition. An acronym for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Winkelman JW (accessed November 18, 2015)
- Winkelman JW. Leg cramps that occur during night. Muscle spasms, last accessed on November 18, 2015. Professional Edition of the Merck Manual. On November 18, 2015, I was able to access
Foot Cramps and Charley Horses
Posted at 9:39 a.m. on September 1, 2018 Foot Cramps and Charley Horses: What Causes Them and What to Do About Them Imagine falling asleep and waking up with a paralyzing tightness in your calf or foot. It happens without notice and without any warning. Foot or leg cramp (also known as “charley horse”) is a frequent and rather unexplained discomfort that occurs when a muscle becomes involuntarily rigid and is unable to relax as a result of an injury or illness. Here’s what causes these cramps, as well as some prevention strategies to keep them at bay.
- Dehydration is a problem. Making sure you drink enough water during the day is important
- Otherwise, you may become dehydrated. Nutritional issues are a concern. Though electrolytes (calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium) are necessary for the contraction and relaxation of a muscle, it is not recommended to self-treat with electrolyte supplements. The drug has a side effect. Muscle cramps can be caused by a number of drugs, including statins and furosemide (Lasix®), among others. There isn’t enough stretching. Taking the time to stretch throughout the day, particularly after a quick warm-up or after a shower, may be quite beneficial. Overexertion. It is possible to have cramps if you exercise more vigorously than usual or if you suffer muscular exhaustion. Maintain a healthy pace. Circulation is poor. You may be suffering from circulatory problems if your cramping worsens as you walk. Some circulation disorders generate pain that feels like cramping
- Wearing the incorrect shoes might exacerbate the condition. An uncommon cause of muscular cramping is the shoes you wear
Leg and foot cramps can be treated in a number of methods that are straightforward:
- If it occurs when you are laying down or in bed, simply get up and put some weight on the afflicted leg or foot to see if it relieves the pain. This might be sufficient to alleviate the tender stiffness in certain cases. Warmth/heating pads can be used to enhance blood circulation to the muscle and help it relax at the same time. Soaking in a warm tub of Epsom salts can also be beneficial in relieving stress. If the pain is really tenacious, you might try taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen.
The following are some easy stretches that may be used to relieve discomfort and perhaps prevent it. Runners frequently utilize this calf stretch to improve their performance. Here’s how you go about it:
- Stand with your palms against a wall and your arms spread out in front of you
- Step back with the afflicted calf on the affected leg
- Push against the wall with the other leg as you lean forward.
While you’re sitting, do this towel stretch:
- Legs should be spread out in front of you. Draw your afflicted foot’s toes upwards toward the ceiling, ensuring that the leg is engaged. To wrap your foot, use a towel or a neck tie and hold it in place with both hands
- You should slightly lift the leg till you feel a decent stretch
However, if they occur frequently, are severe, or you are worried, please call our office to make an appointment with Dr. Mussett. We are able to provide same-day appointments for your convenience. « Return to the Home Page of the News
Foot cramps: Causes and what to do
Foot cramps are a form of muscular cramp that most commonly occurs in the arch of the foot, around the toes, or on the top portion of the foot. They are caused by a spasm of the calf muscle. Foot cramps can be relieved by the use of a variety of home cures and treatments. Muscle cramps are the contractions of a muscle that occur without the user’s consent. A person may have these spasms while going about their everyday activities or they may awaken them in the middle of the night. Foot cramps are similar to other muscle cramps in that they can produce mild to severe discomfort until the muscle relaxes and the cramping stops.
In most cases, foot cramps are not a reason for alarm and are not dangerous.
There are a plethora of possible reasons for this illness.
The majority of the reasons of foot cramps are completely safe and only last for a short period of time. Most of the time, treating and preventing muscular cramps is straightforward. Foot cramps can be caused by a variety of factors, which are detailed in the following sections.
Potassium is an electrolyte that aids in the management of processes that are critical to the mobility and preservation of muscular tissue. A person may have cramping in the feet and legs if their potassium levels go too much below normal. Those who have low potassium levels on a regular basis may be suffering from hypokalemia, which is a potassium deficit diagnosed by specialists. A person suffering from moderate-to-severe hypokalemia may have the following symptoms:
- Weariness and weakness
- An irregular heartbeat
Potassium levels in the blood and urine can be measured by a doctor to determine if a patient has hypokalemia.
Everyone, from beginners to elite athletes, can develop muscle cramps if they stress their muscles beyond their normal activity levels. Muscle cramps can affect people of all fitness levels, from novices to elite athletes. According to a 2019 report, exercise-related muscular cramps are the ailment that requires medical treatment the most frequently when people participate in sports. A person who overworks his muscles during a workout or sports practice may have increased spasming and foot cramping as a result of the excessive power with which they strain themselves.
When a person becomes dehydrated, their body does not have the adequate amount of water to support the proper functioning of the tissues and organs. Muscle cramping can occur everywhere on the body, including the feet, as a result of dehydration. Dehydration can occur for a variety of causes, including but not limited to:
- Diarrhea, vomiting, not drinking enough water, physical activity, and overheating are all causes of dehydration.
Some people may be unaware that they are not getting enough water to drink each day. In the event that any of the following symptoms occur, a person may be dehydrated and in need of medical attention:
- Chills, a dry mouth, a thirst for sweets, skin drying out, fever, concentrated pee that appears darker than usual, chapped lips, headaches, poor breath, and inability to urinate
Overly tight shoes
When a person’s shoes are overly tight, it can cause blood circulation in the foot to be compromised. When blood circulation in the foot is disrupted, the muscles in the foot might become crampy and painful. A person’s footwear is excessively tight if they have any of the following characteristics:
- Inability to wriggle the toes out of the shoes
- Uncomfortably tight rubbing on the heels or toes
- Shoes leaving indentations in the foot
- And other symptoms.
People can avoid circulatory difficulties by switching from their restrictive footwear to well-fitting shoes.
Medication side effects
Muscle cramping can occur as a side effect of a number of different types of medications. These are some examples:
- Asthma medication
- Statin drugs
- Neostigmine (Prostigmin)
- Parkinson’s disease meds
- Osteoporosis treatments
- Alzheimer’s disease medications
- Blood pressure medication
However, not everyone who takes these drugs will feel muscular cramps as a result of doing so.
Muscle cramps, on the other hand, are not experienced by everyone who takes these drugs.
- They had been exposed to chemicals, had certain genetic diseases, had metabolic difficulties, experienced an injury in or near their foot, or had been using specific cancer-fighting medicines.
Pin it to your Pinterest board. In order to cure dehydration, a person should consume enough of water or beverages that contain electrolytes. Depending on what is causing a person to have cramping in their feet, the most effective therapies and treatments will be different. Light stretching and moderate massages are usually sufficient to ease cramps in the majority of instances. Individuals who suffer from muscular cramps due to low potassium levels might consider taking potassium supplements.
- The majority of people should be able to manage dehydration by drinking enough of water or electrolyte-containing beverages.
- It may be required to provide intravenous fluids in some situations.
- Sports massages can also be beneficial.
- Many shoe businesses provide foot-measuring services to assist customers in finding shoes that are the appropriate fit.
- Alternative medications or therapy methods may be recommended by the doctor.
Some types of foot cramps can be avoided. People may typically avoid foot cramps by employing the following strategies, for example:
- Exercising within one’s comfort zone and wearing appropriate sports shoes
- Eating a diet rich in essential nutrients, such as potassium
- Drinking lots of fluids to keep hydrated
- Wearing shoes that are well suited
- Under the supervision of a physician, any drug that is causing muscular spasms should be changed
Foot cramps are often straightforward to cure, and the majority of cases are avoidable. Foot cramps may be prevented and treated by following a healthy diet, drinking plenty of fluids, and engaging in a moderate exercise regimen. If a person’s foot cramps are caused by nerve injury, he or she may require medical therapy to alleviate the discomfort.
Charley horse: Causes, symptoms, remedies, and more
A charley horse is a muscular spasm that occurs suddenly and is extremely painful. It is more common after physical activity and at night. A calf muscle strain is most usually associated with lower leg pain, although it can also manifest itself in the foot and, on rare occasions, the thigh. These muscular spasms may also be experienced by pregnant women and persons suffering from certain medical disorders. Leg cramps afflict around a third of the population over the age of 50. According to a paper published in 2021, experts are unsure about the actual cause of muscular cramping.
Muscle cramps can be caused by a variety of factors, including the following:
- Nocturnal leg cramps may be caused by vigorous daily exercise, electrolyte imbalances, or the use of certain drugs
- Nevertheless, there is no definitive cause for them. Muscle cramps during pregnancy can be caused by a variety of factors, including weight growth, blood flow disturbance, and peripheral nerve compression. Cramping can occur during or after exercise due to a variety of factors including neurological changes, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances, particularly in the arms and legs.
Crampings, particularly those that afflict the leg, are referred to as “charley horses.” Despite the fact that some individuals use the term “charley horse” to describe muscular spasms or twitches, these are two very distinct events. In general, clinicians understand the need of distinguishing between cramps and other disorders that appear to be the same as cramps, such as the following:
- Dystonia is a movement condition characterized by involuntary movements
- Myotonia is the process of muscles tensing, which includes both voluntarily flexing and involuntarily contracting
- And dystonia is a movement disorder characterized by involuntary movements. Tetany, which is an electrolyte imbalance caused by low calcium levels
- Myalgia, which is muscular soreness
Scientists have determined that a charley horse arises when muscles abruptly spasm or constrict, resulting in pain and discomfort. The ailment most commonly affects the calf muscle, which is located towards the rear of the lower leg. The abrupt and uncontrolled spasm is usually short, but it can linger for up to ten minutes in certain cases. The majority of people have unpleasant muscular contractions that do not result in long-term difficulties. Others, on the other hand, may have excruciating agony and suffering that lasts for several days.
Painful leg cramps, for example, might make it more difficult to move about and get around.
Additionally, the timing of a cramp might have an impact on its significance.
According to an analysis published in 2021, there are various risk factors for leg cramps:
- Having reached the age of 60: Nocturnal leg cramps afflict around 37% of Americans over the age of 60. Being pregnant: Around 50% of pregnant women have muscle cramps, which are most severe at night. If you have chronic renal failure, you may have the following symptoms: Muscle cramps, particularly in the legs, are experienced by almost half of those suffering with chronic renal failure. Having amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) means you have the following symptoms: Muscle cramps are a common occurrence in people with ALS, with a 95% likelihood of occurring. Having diabetes is characterized by the following characteristics: Muscle cramps are experienced by around 60% of persons with type 1 diabetes. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is around 80% in the general population.
Acute calf discomfort can occur for a variety of reasons that are unrelated to cramping. These are some examples:
- Trauma, deep vein thrombosis, a burst Baker’s cyst, to name a few conditions.
Following a review of publications published in 2017, researchers discovered that the following categories of sickness are frequently associated with leg cramps:
- A number of diseases and treatments are available for cardiovascular diseases, including coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and uremia
- Neurological conditions such as motor neuron disease and polio
- And musculoskeletal problems such as arthritis. Metabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, liver disease, and thyroid dysfunction are also available.
Drugs and muscle cramps
Leg cramps are a common side effect of several medications. Staminoids, which assist decrease cholesterol levels, and diuretics, which help lower blood pressure levels, are examples of such medications. Some stimulants, such as amphetamines and caffeine, may also cause a charley horse or a leg cramp if taken in large quantities. Anyone who experiences leg cramps after taking prescription medications should consult with a doctor or pharmacist, who can provide advice on whether or not the medicine should be changed.
When the frequency or severity of muscular cramping increases, it is important to see a doctor since it might indicate an underlying condition that needs to be addressed.
When a person seeks medical attention for a charley horse condition, the doctor may inquire about their symptoms, which may include:
- It is important to know what the cramping feels like and where it occurs
- When and how often the cramps occur
- How severe the cramps are
- Whether they have started recently
- The person’s exercise habits
- Whether the person has any other symptoms, medical problems, or is taking any medications
- And whether the person is pregnant.
According to the 2021 study, a doctor may also instruct the patient to conduct stretches around the area afflicted by cramps or to move muscles in the surrounding area. This information can assist the doctor in determining the likely reason. In accordance with current research, quinine appears to be the only medicine that can help lower the intensity and frequency of leg cramps. Doctors, on the other hand, are reluctant to suggest this medication since its usefulness is questionable, despite the possibility of major adverse effects.
- Standing or moving the leg or foot will help to gently stretch out the muscle. Pulling the toes and the foot up and to the front of the leg should be firm but not harsh. Continue to perform these exercises until the cramping subsides and disappears.
A massage of the tight muscle has been shown to be effective by some persons. Depending on whether there are evidence of an underlying disease that may be causing the cramping, a doctor may recommend more tests. If a person is taking a medication that increases the likelihood of cramping, a doctor may decide to modify the medication or the dosage. A person may want to attempt the following methods to avoid getting a charley horse or a muscular cramp:
- Leaving enough time between eating and exercising
- Warming up before and after exercise by gently stretching muscles
- Drinking fluids and eating a small amount of food after exercise to replace fluid and minerals lost during exercise
- Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water at all times
- Avoiding caffeine and other stimulants Keeping an eye out for any potential adverse effects of prescription medicines
A number of individuals take magnesium supplements to try to ease muscle cramps. However, evidence shows that magnesium supplements are ineffective in alleviating either pregnancy-related leg cramps or nocturnal leg cramps in women. Changes that may be beneficial, despite the lack of scientific evidence to support them, include the following:
- The use of relaxation techniques such as massage and heat treatment, as well as the use of alternative footwear, are all recommended. for people who lead a physically inactive existence, physical activity
Although the exact origin of the phrase is unknown, sources claim that the term charley horse, which is used to describe a muscular cramp, dates back to casual American athletic discourse that began in the 1880s and continues today. One explanation holds that the name originated from a baseball player who was referring to a lame horse. Horses were formerly employed to assist with groundskeeping duties in baseball. The name was allegedly derived from a baseball player named Charley, who had muscular cramps while pitching during a game in 1880, according to a tale that published in the Washington Post in 1907.
A charley horse, often known as a leg cramp, is a frequent ailment that does not generally signal the presence of a major medical condition.
Charley horse can be difficult to cure or avoid, with the exception of warming up before physical activity and staying hydrated throughout the process.