A leg and foot cramp known as a charley horse can wake you up in the middle of the night with intense foot or calf pain. Or maybe you have experienced one of these rapid and painful muscle contractions after a long run, extended exercise, or grueling work schedule. While being dehydrated can also contribute to developing muscle cramps, the underlying cause is not fully understood.
Experiencing a foot or calf cramp once in awhile is generally no cause for alarm, but on-going muscle cramps could be a sign of a more serious condition including nerve compression, mineral shortages, or insufficient blood supply getting to the muscles.
How to quickly relieve a cramp—As soon as you begin feeling a cramp, stand on the affected leg with your knee partially bent. Gently stretch and rub the area to help relax the muscle. Another method is to sit on the floor with legs extended and pull your toes back towards you. Taking a hot shower or warm bath can also help to loosen up contracted muscles.
How to prevent foot and leg cramps—Always drink plenty of fluids, especially water, throughout the day to make sure you are properly hydrated. Your muscles need fluids to make them efficient at tensing and relaxing, so replenish your body before, during, and after exercise.
Your muscles also depend upon having enough minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium. A great way to get more potassium is to eat a banana every day.
If you continue to experience foot cramps with no obvious cause, we highly recommend that you consult our board certified podiatrists Andrew Shapiro, DPM and Michael Barkin, DPM. With access to advanced technologies, along with years of experience to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, we can assist you with heel pain, ankle sprains, diabetic foot care, toe deformities, nail fungus, and skin problems, among many other conditions. Our practice is conveniently located on West Merrick Road in Valley Stream to accommodate all of your foot care needs. Call (516) 825-3860 or book an appointment online today!