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Very few things are more annoying than unanticipated toe cramps. Whether the unwelcome sensation is waking you up at night or causing discomfort during your work day, toe cramps can be as perplexing as they are irritating. But what causes toe cramps? Medical experts point to a number of possible causes that range from mild to severe. Fortunately, most instances of toe cramping can often be resolved with at-home remedies and simple solutions. Keep reading for a quick guide on how to get relief.
What Causes Toe Cramps?
Toe cramps are commonly caused by health issues like dehydration, nutrient deficiencies, and overexertion. Chronic toe cramping is more common in women over the age of 50, for whom an overall decline in bone and muscle health is more likely to contribute to the issue. In younger women, toe cramps are often experienced in the wake of a run, a workout, or any other physically exerting task. These activities can increase pressure on the feet and cause dehydration, prompting a response in the extremities.
What to Do
While there’s no magic method for overcoming toe cramps, a few simple strategies come close. Here are five ways to address toe cramps:
- Stay hydrated. Because toe cramps are often associated with dehydration, drink in plenty of water, especially while exercising. Boosting your electrolyte and mineral intake with an option like Smartwater ($2) that can also offer added benefits.
- Exercise regularly. Infrequent exercise can prompt you to do too much, too fast. Instead, aim for a regular exercise regimen that trains muscles to naturally support a healthy level of activity. If you’ve been physically inactive for a while, ease back into a workout regimen. A marathon workout session intended to make up for lost time will only make things worse.
- Be kind to your feet. If you need one more reason to go shoe shopping, here it is. Shoes that fit poorly and don’t support your feet can cause toe cramps as well. When it comes to both athletic shoes and everyday footwear, always buy the right size and toss anything that compromises circulation to your toes.
- Medicate through nutrition. Frequent causes of toe cramps include deficiencies in calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Snack on healthy fares like nuts, seeds, avocados, and leafy greens to keep your mineral levels high.
- Consult a doctor. In rare cases, toe cramps can be caused by issues with the central nervous system or the circulatory system. If the issue is persistent or especially intense, it may be a good idea to consult your doctor.