Foot cramps can occur for a number of reasons, sometimes while you’re exercising and even sometimes when you’re just sitting on the couch. Though they are normally harmless, foot cramps can cause extreme discomfort when they occur. Mild cramps typically last a few seconds, while more severe cramps can potentially last a few minutes. In order to avoid this pain, it is important to know what preventative measures you can take to minimize your chances of getting a foot cramp.

There are various preventative measures that you can take to avoid foot cramps, either during exercise or throughout your day. Though the exact reason foot cramps occur is unknown, several causes have been identified as contributing factors.

  1. Many people stretch before engaging in exercise, however, many overlook their feet, not thinking it would pose an issue. It is important to stretch your feet both before and after you exercise. Also, stretching before bed can help your muscles better relax. Massaging between the tendons on the top of your foot as well as your arch and the bottom of your foot is a good step to take in order to avoid a foot cramp. Additionally, stretching your lower leg muscles helps prevent foot cramps. 
  2. Dehydration is one of the main causes of muscle cramping. It is recommended to drink 1 to 3 cups of water before engaging in an exercise in order to minimize your chances of cramping. While engaging in exercise, it is important to stay hydrated by periodically drinking water throughout the activity. When finished exercising, be sure to get yourself fully hydrated. 
  3. Your diet can be a large contributing factor to contracting foot cramps. Cutting back on alcohol can help keep you more hydrated throughout the day, as alcohol can dehydrate you. Also, a diet high in fruit and vegetables is a recommended preventative measure to avoiding foot cramps. Aim for foods that are high in mineral content as well as calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Following these dietary standards can also help ensure proper electrolyte supply, another factor that can lead to foot cramps if not managed properly. 
  4. Wearing comfortable footwear can help reduce your chances of cramping. It is important to replace your shoes when you feel them getting old or worn out. Additionally, putting insoles or another support mechanism in your shoes offers more support for your arches, which in turn decreases fatigue, a leading cause of foot cramps. 

When exercising, the last thing you want is to have a foot cramp be debilitating. By following these preventative measures, your chances of cramping are drastically reduced. Luckily, stretching, hydrating, your diet, and your footwear are all something you can control and are typically easy to manage. If you feel you are doing these things already, and your foot cramps haven’t subsided, consult a doctor as there may be another underlying cause for your pain.