Hi. My name is Dr. John Fritz, and today I'm going to talk to you a little bit about how to prevent toe and foot cramps when you run.
Sooner or later, all runners are going to get some type of a toe or a foot cramp. What's important is to understand what causes cramping so that you can prevent it the next time.
One of the most common causes of cramping in the toes and in the feet is muscle fatigue and muscle strain. Increasing your training levels can lead to cramping. Improper stretching, complete lack of a warm up and stretching is also a common cause of muscle strain and fatigue. Both can lead to cramping.
Hydration is critical when you run. Make sure you have proper electrolyte balance. I usually recommend some of the sports drinks, preferably the low sodiums, to replenish our calcium, our zinc and magnesium, which also all can cause cramping.
Proper diet is also essential when you run. Make sure you're getting your proper dose of vitamins A, D, and E. They're all critical in preventing cramping when you run.
Improper shoe gear can also lead to cramping. If your shoes are worn more than 500 miles or are more than six-months old, it's time to replace them. That alone can alleviate your cramping.
Some other causes of cramping when you run are medications. The medication that's being used to treat your high blood pressure or your asthma or your high cholesterol can also result in cramping. Talk to your doctor if you're having such symptoms.
Nerve impingement is also a big cause of cramping. If you have a pinched nerve, either in your foot, your ankle, or even in your lower back, this can result in serious cramping when you run.
Typically a toe cramp or a foot cramp will last for moments up to a couple of minutes. If you continue to experience a cramp in your toe, I usually recommend a warm soak followed by a stretch of the muscle in the opposite direction it's cramping, followed by ice.
If you try all these things and you're still experiencing cramping, see your podiatrist. We can help find the cause of your problem and find an effective solution.