A cramp is a painful condition in which your muscles contract but don’t relax.
In toe cramps, your foot muscles suddenly squeeze and do not relax.
Skeletal muscles are voluntary muscles (muscles that are in your control, and you move them voluntarily). When you move, skeletal muscle fibers change their length to contract and relax.
But when there is a spasm or cramp, it causes painful involuntary muscle contractions that are abrupt in onset, forceful and sustained. This spasm can occur in any muscle but is most common in skeletal muscles; toe muscles are one of them.
This blog will detail the causes, symptoms, and remedies to relieve toe cramps. Let’s get straight into it!
What Are the Causes of Toe Cramps?
Your toes look smaller, but they bear your whole body weight and help you perform daily activities like walking, running, climbing, and jogging. Toe cramps can disturb your routine activities.
There is not only one cause of toe cramps, but several factors contribute to the pain. These factors include age, body’s hydration status, blood calcium levels, muscle injury, other diseases, nerve damage, and ill-fitting shoes.
When you get older, your muscle mass is decreased and can cause muscle spasms.
Dehydration is one of the most common causes of toe cramps. When you are dehydrated, you have decreased blood volume. Blood supply to your muscle is decreased, resulting in cramps and spasms.
- Muscle tightness
Over-exercising, stress, and working for several hours without drinking water or energy drinks can cause cramps. When there is work overload with poor hydration status, your muscle remains tightened, causes pain.
- Poorly fitted shoes
Nowadays, people are more conscious about their shoes, but medicated shoes are far better than others. Because wearing shoes that are too tight, too loose, and high heels cause extra pressure on your toes. This pressure leads to muscular spasms (toe cramps).
It occurs most commonly in dancers, athletes, and runners due to wearing poorly fitted shoes.
- Injury to muscle
Strain or injury to your muscle during playing or running can cause muscle spasms, leading to toe cramps.
Arthritis is a medical condition that causes inflammation in the joints, mainly involving small joints in your hand, feet, and toes. People who have arthritis can experience toe cramps.
- Electrolyte Imbalance
Problems with your organs, like the intestine, kidney, or liver, can affect electrolyte levels in the body. This leads to pain and cramps due to electrolyte imbalance.
- Nerve damage (neuropathy)
Nerve damage due to injury or surgery can cause muscle cramps.
- Restless leg syndrome
It is a symptom, not a disease. It is a condition with an ongoing involuntary spasm in a muscle or group of muscles. E.g., people with multiple sclerosis can have ongoing muscle contraction. It is painful and causes toe cramps.
It is a rare one. A bacterial infection can damage the muscles or nerves, leading to muscle cramps. e.g., in the case of tetanus caused by the bacteria clostridium tetani, a deficiency of calcium leads to muscle spasms.
- Medicine induced
Some medicines can also cause cramps in the body, like diuretics and statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs).
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What Are Home Remedies for Toe Cramps?
If you have ever experienced it, muscle cramps cause unpleasant pain. There are some remedies and exercises to relieve toe cramps. You can try them at home too. In case of severe pain, you should consult a physiotherapist.
Stretching the affected muscle can relieve the pain. Stretching can be done in various ways;
- By raising your toe and repeating it 10 times.
- Flexing your toes
- Marble pick up (place 20 marbles and pick them up (one at a time)
- Sand walking
- Use heating pads or towels
Heating pads are used to relax your tightened muscle. Apply a heating pad or warm towel to your toes, or you can also soak your toes in warm water.
- Use Ice packs
Ice has anti-inflammatory properties. It helps you relieve pain. Use ice packs on your toe or soak your toe in cold water to relieve pain and inflammation.
- Increase your electrolyte intake
Sweating, diarrhea, and other diseases lead to electrolyte imbalance resulting in muscle cramps. By maintaining electrolyte balance, you can get rid of muscle cramps. Following homemade foods can help you relieve toe cramps.
- Change your shoes
Toe cramps can also occur due to shoes that are too loose, tightened, or high heels. Change your shoes according to your feet and use medicated ones to relieve pain and cramps.
What vitamins are good for toe cramps?
Vitamin D, E, B1, and B6 are good for toe cramps. Vitamin B1 helps with metabolic functions of the body and helps recover from painful cramps. A deficiency of vitamin D can cause severe muscle cramps. Vitamin D is good for bone health.
What Are Treatments for More Severe Forms of Toe Cramps?
In case of severe toe cramps, stretching and heating your muscle can relieve toe cramps. If it does not go away, consult with your doctor. He will prescribe you medicine to relieve pain.
Medicines used to relieve toe cramps:
NSAIDs (painkillers) and muscle relaxants are used to relieve toe cramps.
How to Prevent Toe Cramps?
You can prevent toe cramps by adopting this preventive measure in your daily routine.
- Exercise regularly
Daily exercise will help your muscles remain healthy and make you feel better. Overexercise should be avoided.
- Warm-up before exercise
Warm-up before exercise is necessary to avoid muscle cramps.
- Drink plenty of water and fluids to remain hydrated.
- Eat healthily and have a balanced diet.
- Proper rest and sleep.
- Wear Medicated and supportive shoes.
Do bananas help with cramps?
Yes, bananas can help with toe cramps. Bananas are rich in potassium, but they also give you magnesium and calcium. These nutrients help you relieve muscle spasms.
Can heart problems cause cramps?
Yes, heart problems can cause cramps. In the case of heart disease, your body’s electrolyte balance is affected, which leads to muscle cramps.
Is toe cramping a symptom of Multiple sclerosis ( MS)?
Yes, multiple sclerosis is a disease that can damage your nerve fibers resulting in muscle spasms. Toe cramps are also a symptom of MS.