A sudden, uncontrolled contraction of a muscle in your foot or leg is usually harmless but can be quite painful. Extended periods of work or exercise in hot weather can bring on cramping, so it is especially important during these hot summer days to stay properly hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids and seeking shade whenever possible.
Although overuse is one of the major causes of muscle cramping, it can also be triggered by keeping your foot or leg in one position for too much time, such as during long bus or train trips.
If you are experiencing persistent problems with leg or foot cramping, it may be a sign of a more serious medical condition. Some of these include:
Mineral imbalance—Your muscles need adequate amounts of calcium, magnesium, and potassium to function properly. Certain medications like high blood pressure treatments can have a diuretic effect causing these minerals to be depleted. Taking supplements can help alleviate this imbalance.
Low blood flow—A narrowing of the arteries that often occurs as we age can cause the extremities to experience a reduced blood supply that causes cramping during exercise or excessive use. Resting will often alleviate the cramping.
Compressed nerves—The nerves in the spine can become compressed in a condition called lumbar stenosis. This compression is often worse during walking or exercise and can often be mitigated by bending over slightly at the waist.
If you are experiencing continual foot or leg cramping that isn’t eased with rest and stretching exercises or that is accompanied by swelling, weakness, or redness, you may need to see your foot care specialist for correct diagnosis and treatment.
The podiatrists at Foot Health Podiatry, PLLC, in New York City, NY, are experts in providing the best care for any problems you may be experiencing with your feet and ankles. Sorelis Jimenez, DPM, John W. Fletcher, DPM, and Kamilla Danilova, DPM and the rest of the staff at Foot Health Podiatry, PLLC, are happy to help with any questions or concerns you may have. Check out our Ask The Doctor page for answers to frequently asked questions, and never hesitate to give us a call to talk or make an appointment at 212-845-9991.