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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Foot Cramps | Causes and Treatment


Foot cramps is a pain that comes from a muscle in the leg. Some persons experience foot cramps while sleeping and others experience foot cramps at night. This blog  will show you the source of foot cramps causes and how to prevent foot cramps. Severe foot cramps may be a sign of a more benign medical condition as such we will take a look at the effect of vitamins deficiency regarding foot cramps and how potassium affect foot cramps in general. Finally, this blog will make the attempt of  answering the following two questions "how do you get cramps" and "what to do about cramps".

Foot cramps is due to a muscle spasm which is when a muscle contracts too hard. It usually occurs in one of the calf muscles, below and behind a knee, but painful spasms can occur in the ankles, shins, and the quads (the big muscles of the thigh). The small muscles of the feet are sometimes affected, usually starting with curling your toes toward your heel. 
                        
Foot cramps occur in the bottom of the feet. They are characterized by a sudden sharp pain that can also be accompanied by a knotted muscle. These can take place at night, foot cramps at night, during the day and in conjunction with sporting activities like running and biking. Although foot cramps are not life-threatening, they are not pleasant to have and there are several reasons why they can occur.
The pain from the foot cramps will last anywhere from a few seconds to even ten minutes with varying severity. There are several causes of chronic foot cramps.


Watch this video on "why do muscle cramps occur"




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Foot Cramps Causes;
Possible causes of foot cramps include:
  • Too little vitamin D
  • Use of certain medications
  • Disorders or injuries that involve peripheral nerves
  • Heavy exercise
  • Brain disorders, such as parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, dystonia, and Huntington's disease.
  • Chronic kidney disease and dialysis
  • Damage to a single nerve or nerve group (mononeuropathy) or multiple nerves (polyneuropathy) that are connected to muscles
  • Dehydration (not having enough fluids in your body)
  • Hyperventilation (overbreathing), which is rapid or deep breathing that can occur with anxiety or panic
  • Increased levels of phosphate in the body
  • Foot Cramps, usually caused by overuse during sports or work activity
  • Pregnancy, more often during the third trimester
  • Reduced levels of magnesium or calcium in the body
  • Thyroid disorders
  

Foot CrampFoot Cramps Treatment
If you are suffering from excessive or continual foot cramps, you may want to see a podiatrist or a foot doctor. Your doctor may teach you proper foot stretching techniques to help relieve the cramping when it begins. If the pain is severe and chronic, your doctor may prescribe you pain killers. Massaging the foot or feet regularly can reduce muscle fatigue. You may also want to consider lifestyle changes. In many cases, simple dietary changes (eliminating sugars and caffeine, while increasing potassium, magnesium, calcium, vitamin D) can improve the cramping and pain within days as the body receives the nutrients its been craving. If your cramps are due to an underlying medical condition, you may want to start with controlling the disease more effectively.
You may also want to try soaking your feet in warm water for a period of time. Ice packs may also work. The RICE method is almost always effective when treating most types of foot cramps. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. Stay off your feet as often as possible and apply ice for a period of 20 minutes at a time. Wrapping your foot in an elastic bandage can also reduce the cramping, and elevation should occur with the foot at a minimum of waist level or higher. If elevation of your feet increases the cramping or causes more pain, see your podiatrist right away, as there may be a circulation problem that needs to be examined.
To relieve foot cramps at home, try to:
  • Pull the toes upward if the cramp is in the toes, or
  • Pull the foot region where the cramp is located in the opposite direction of the cramp
  • Begin an exercise or stretching routine. Consult with your doctor
  • Wrap the foot in an elastic bandage, if necessary
If the foot cramps persist, you should seek medical attention. However, if foot cramps are not normal for you and occur suddenly but periodically, chances are you do not need medical attention and the cramp will eventually go away. Using heating pads and stretching the cramped muscle may help you relieve symptoms sooner.

Prevent Foot Cramps
Regardless if you experience foot cramps often or intermittently, there are several things you can do to prevent them from occurring, such as:
  • Warming up slowly before any and all exercise routines
  • Having a ‘cooling down’ period, similar to a warm-up routine for after your done with your exercise or activity
  • Drink lots of water before and during your exercise routine
  • Eat foods that are high in potassium and calcium, such as bananas, milk, yogurt, cheese and fresh vegetables. These foods are also good for improving muscle function.
  • Stretch your foot muscles before getting in and out of bed each day
  • Keep a cup of water next to your bed in case you awake during the night
  • Use proper footwear, orthotics such as inserts or padding to reduce stress on feet
  • Keep all doctors informed of any medications, medical conditions, etc.
  • Make sure you give your body adequate rest each day
Talk to your doctor about foot cramps relaxants. There are many prescription drugs that are available, which help relax tense muscles and keep them from going into painful spasms. Be aware that some cause dependency, and ask your doctor how to avoid becoming hooked.


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