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Avatar universal

Cramping in feet, during exercise.

This problem has been occurring in my feet for years. During sports and exercises I play/participate in, I get horrid cramps in my feet which refrain me from continuing. I only drink water (about 3 litres a day), I have a well balanced diet (including a wide range of fruit and vegetables) and I have previously even taken potassium supplements to try and solve this problem. But it still persists. Please help!?
11 Responses
Avatar universal
Commonly cited conditions that lead to cramps include muscle fatigue, lack of proper stretching, dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Less commonly, medications or an underlying medical disorder are the culprit. Exercising in a hot environment can lead to excessive sweating, which further contributes to dehydration. If you aren't getting enough electrolytes in your diet, particularly sodium, potassium and magnesium, that can also contribute to getting foot cramps. Shoes that don't offer support for your arches or don't fit right can also contribute to the problem.
If you get a cramp while exercising, stop what you are doing and rest. Remove your shoes, if you are wearing any, and stretch and massage your feet until the cramps go away. Drinking water or a sports drink enhanced with electrolytes can also help. Potassium deficiency is a common problem that leads to cramping, and eating a banana, which contains high amounts of the electrolyte, can help remedy that. If the cramps linger after exercise, apply heat if the muscles are tight and cold if your muscles are sore or tender.

To avoid foot cramps, start drinking water the day before vigorous exercise. Drink 1 to 3 cups right before you exercise, and stay hydrated during exercise by taking small sips of water. Avoid fully hydrating until you are finished exercising. Eat a diet that contains fruits and vegetables high in mineral content, and take a multivitamin to ensure proper electrolyte supply. Warm up before exercising and gently stretch your feet. According to the University Foot and Ankle Institute, an effective stretch for the bottom of your feet is performed by placing the toes of one foot against a wall, keeping the rest of your foot flat on the ground. Bend your knee toward the wall, keeping your knee in line with your foot. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then repeat the movement with the other foot. Stretching the muscles of your leg, particularly your calf muscles, can also help. If your feet are sore or you are fatigued, rest and avoid exercising again until your are fully restored and the pain has dissipated. Purchase new shoes if yours are old and worn out. Placing insoles or other supports in your shoes can offer support for your arches, decreasing fatigue. If you continue to experience foot cramps while exercising, despite taking measures to prevent them, consult a doctor. Discuss any medications you are taking to ensure that cramping is not a side effect.
Avatar universal
I have a feeling the above isn't accurate.  Gym?  You're never too busy to look this up.  In our society, meaning the US, more often the problem is either too little magnesium or too much calcium, which is the same problem as it depletes magnesium.  Part of the reason is the extreme consumption of dairy products drummed into us by advertising, as dairy is very high in calcium and negligible in magnesium.  The electrolytes are called that because they are in electrical balance, and too much of one throws the others off.  As for that stretch Gym mentioned, it's very hard on the toes and not that effective -- I've done them all as I have plantar fasciitis.  If you're going to the gym, the plates on the back press are at the perfect angle to stretch your feet this way, and you can also do it by buying a foot stretch (which some gyms have lying around the floor somewhere) or doing it on the bottom step of a stairway and also stretching the foot by crossing one leg over the other and bending the big toe back.  You can also do this with a stretch cord.  
"I have a feeling the above isn't accurate" You not accurate! Don't you check things?

Plantar fasciitis is an overuse injury involving the plantar fascia, a  fibrous band of tissue that supports the longitudinal arch of the foot.You need to do intensive exercise.
A damaged plantar fascia, especially at its attachment point on the heel bone, may cause plantar fasciitis.

Stretching the calf after activity is
needed to minimize the trauma.
You need to wear good quality shoes!!
Recovery takes longer because
oxygenated blood isn't supplied
It could take weeks and even months for recovery.
Rest, icing, stretching
and strengthening exercises, orthotics, night splinting, and
heel pads could help.

Stretching exercises of the Achilles tendon complex  plantar fascia, and gastrocnemius-soleus complex.
Stretching should be done first thing in the morning and a few times during the day.

1- Stand with your hands against the wall. The bad leg is positioned slightly behind the other leg. Keep your heels flat on the floor. Keeping the injured leg straight and your heels on the ground, gradually lean forward, and
bend the uninjured leg until you feel a stretch in the lower part of the injured leg.
Hold for 10 to 15 seconds, and release. Repeat  5 to 10 times.

2- Sit on a chair, and place the affected foot on the opposite knee. Grab the affected heel using the opposite hand and let the other hand pull the
toes back, especially the big toe. A stretch should be felt within the arch. Hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds, and release. Repeat the exercise 5 to 10 times.
You can also do marble exercises.
google for additional exercises.
Avatar universal
Part of the reason I mention magnesium is studies show many Americans are low in it, while most are not low in potassium.  I think the reason is that Americans love bananas (the favorite fruit) and potatoes, and both are high in potassium, and maybe too the love of soft drinks, which are also high in potassium but not for good reasons.  Magnesium and calcium, however, are best kept in proper balance by eating green leafy vegetables, especially with the stalks, and most Americans don't much like these.
Avatar universal
Gym, I was talking about the potassium levels the person recommended, not anything to do with plantar fasciitis.  This post isn't about plantar fasciitis. Nor are your recommendations at all the recommendations I've received from medical professionals, nor is your description of what it is.  Obviously, this is a subject you haven't had to deal with, but plantar fasciitis isn't from a damaged plantar fascia nor is it necessarily from overuse -- lots of theories among professionals, but it seems different people get it for different reasons and some get it for no apparent reason.  The main thing seems to be the type of foot you start out with -- most people who get it either have flat feet with lots of pronation or people with high arches and little pronation (me).  Most people also feel it's modern shoes that cause the problem -- this was not a wide-spread problem until recent years.  But it's a odd bird that goes away quickly for some and never for others and nobody knows why.  Some professionals hate the calf stretch you describe in number 1. because it puts a lot of pressure on the heel.  I do them, but I've always done them for as long as I can remember.  There are two different stretches done from that position, one with knee straight and one with knee bent.  The other can be  done anywhere, and is another calf stretch.  But physical therapy for this goes on endlessly and differs depending on the doctor and the physical therapist.  Everyone has a theory because no one knows the cause or the cure.  I've had it for over three and a half years now.  A player for the Washington Wizards has had his career sharply curtailed over the past several years with it, along with many other pro athletes (Peyton Manning had it this year, which is one reason he missed much of the season).  So there's no way I would ask you about this as I've seen you haven't dealt with it, but again, I was referring to the post about daily needs for the nutrients mentioned, and I think the person put the number way too high.  
Avatar universal
I should add, when I said it's not a damaged plantar fascia, I meant the plantar fascia is intact and fine, it's just inflamed, and it's very hard to bring down the inflammation permanently.  Ice can help, but only for a brief time.  Rest did nothing for me or for most people, and exercise can pound out the pain for a time but it just comes back.  Mine isn't as severe as it is for most people, but I can't wear most shoes because they put the pressure right on the part that is most sensitive.  Orthotics help some, but don't cure the problem.  A damaged plantar fascia is something else altogether, and is actually less painful, as it's already come loose, but that exposes the huge number of the nerves in the foot to damage.  Still, some runners intentionally tear the darned thing because that releases the pressure on the heal, and they can go back to running until the nerves are permanently damaged.  Others try cortisone, but it's success rate isn't great and can cause permanent damage and often does, as it destroys the already thin tissue protecting the heel.  Just a very difficult injury to fix for some of us.
Pax, You should be taking your meds!!  The above post stated they also get cramps and they have a HIGH ARCH! that can cause plantar fasciitis! You need to do your research.
Avatar universal
Gym, your above post doesn't make any sense.  Cramps have nothing to do with plantar fasciitis -- no cramps, it's a constant pain in the heel.  A high arch doesn't mean you have plantar fasciitis, though if you don't pronate it can be a risk factor.  The poster doesn't have plantar fasciitis.  However, someone on here posted supplements to take, and there's a very high amount of potassium listed which I think is way too high for Americans at least.  I don't know sometimes what you mean when you always come to that Donald Trump-like retort when you're questioned, "you need to do your research.)  Gym, I've had the condition you're talking about for three and a half years and have seen several health professionals about it, including two podiatrists, three physical therapist, a doctor, and a sports doc.  That isn't research?  All three physical therapists told me to stop doing what the former one had me doing and had me do something entirely different.  There's no science on this stuff -- just a lot of conflicting information.  You, on the other hand, haven't had this particular injury, so I'm not sure why you're raising your hackles over this.  
Avatar universal
And also, Gym, this is, I hope, the last time you tell me to take my meds.  
I didn't say he had plantar fasciitis!
I said an high arch can cause plantar fasciitis. I guess you're voting for Sanders. I'm not a Trump lover! but out of this entire country these are the ones running!! Clinton I guess, if the lying SOB wins will replace the chair her husband used when having his way with Monica Lewinsky. Now to change the subject! I suggest buying the following two books by Dr. Mitchell Yass PHD.


I've been following his recommendations and so far, very good results.  
Avatar universal
I know you're not a Trump lover -- I just said you often sound like he does, with his tremendous insecurity, always attacking anyone who questions what he says.  Off course, you don't lie that I've ever seen, and I've never seen him speak without lying.  His funniest lie was when he wrote his own physical exam, supposedly done by a gastroenterologist, that said he was in the best health of anyone ever running for president or something like that, yet he's on both statins and a blood pressure med, meaning some doc thinks he's right on the verge of a heart attack.  Given the side effects of these kinds of meds, I'd think he's not in very good health, and that red color he often turns is another warning sign of impending heart disease.  Hard to believe anyone is actually voting for such a clown.  As for Clinton, I always wonder why people like you blame her because her husband serially cheated on her.  She didn't cheat on herself.  That's not on her.  As for Sanders, I don't see how anything he wants to do can actually get done with the Republican Congress he'll have. and free tuition goes too far.  But the nation did a lot better when college was very inexpensive at state schools, subsidized by taxes.  Grover Nordquist has the whole economy in a vice grip with his no tax pledge.  Can't see how anyone would vote for anyone who would give up their oath to do the best for the country to an anti-tax Johnny one-note.  So I'd love to vote for Sanders and planned to do so in the VA primary coming up, but now that it seems Trump will be, gasp, an actual presidential nominee, the equation is completely different -- we pretty much have to vote for anyone other than Trump or else we become a Third World country with a petty dictator who is really really dumb as President.  It's now who you're voting against, not who you're voting for.  But are you going to pledge to stop your Trump-like repeating to me to take my meds?  It's pretty hurtful considering my circumstances, don't you think?  It's not so much that I care that much what you say, we're miles apart from one another  and the internet isn't real, but it just bothers me that you would even think to say something like that.
I said that because you sometimes read a post and you actually don't see what is posted and will make a statement that is false. As I said a high arch can cause plantar fasciitis. I suggest looking into those two books! I apologize about the meds. statement!!
Avatar universal
Funny, you're accusing me of what you do, not what I do.   We've been on and on about this for years, so it's a bit odd you accusing me of what I've been accusing you of for years.  Maybe we're switching personalities!  
Avatar universal
I just stumbled on an article in the Johns Hopkins Health Review.  This is about pain, but describes how we differ philosophically pretty well.  You generalize from tiny studies to the whole population, suggesting everyone do the same thing -- pretty much what you're accusing me of here, which again, is like we switched personalities.  Here's a quote from a professor of neurosurgery.  I'm not sure I agree with his view that FDA should be approving more drugs that haven't shown well in trials, but the premise is the one I've been putting forward:  "...different drugs work in different people...What one sees over and over again is that a particular drug therapy works great in one person but fails miserably in another.  Drug trials typically measure the average response and miss out on individual responses.  As a result, some drugs fail to gain FDA approval even though they may be safe and effective in certain people.  What is needed are ways to predict what the best therapy is for a particular individual. rather than simply depending on an empirical trial of a drug."  And this from another practitioner of pain medicine:  "No matter what, the overall long-term success rate for injections, for operations, for medications, tends to be low..."  In my words, people are different, and generalized answers from tiny studies really don't help them much.  Better to try to direct the posters to places they can get answers, and to help them understand why they may be feeling as they do, because in the main, diets, fad diets, medications, surgery, all have their place, but none work as well as our doctors and the people selling these things would have us believe as they want to make their money.  That's been my point all along.
I know about small studies! But if an herb, supplement, or what ever helps even only a few   I think give it a try it just might help another person!
Avatar universal
True, no problem with that, as long as you know enough about the supplement's other properties not being studied in that tiny study to know that it might have other properties that make it unsuitable -- such as that yerba mate is a coffee substitute, not a relaxant, even if it has one among thousands of ingredients that someone is studying for a potential drug.  That's what many if not most of these studies are looking for, isolating substances that will become new drugs -- that's where most of our drugs came from.  That doesn't tell you how the plant is traditionally used nor what it's main effects are likely to be.  You have to know that, too, in order to recommend it, and if you don't, send the person to an herbalist or naturopath who does.  That's my point -- first, do no harm.  Peace.
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