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Foot cramps


Posted by Jean S.

My lifelong "serious" exercise has always been swimming. About 10 years ago I began having cramps in the arch of my left foot after swimming for about 20 minutes. I stopped and flexed my foot and kneaded it in the accustomed manner for relieving cramps, but it kept recurring. Even if I took a break for a while, after I tried to resume swimming it came back. I went to a number of doctors who were either not interested or had no idea what to do with me with diagnoses of things from metatarsalgia to Morton's neuroma. We don't have the skill level in our doctors in this area that you'd get in a city-setting, but it would be nice to find someone who could help me. I gave up my membership and swimming altogether because I could find no relief and the onset of cramping seemed to be happening earlier in my swim.

For the past several years, when I'm sitting or lying down and stretch out my legs/feet, both arches will cramp immediately. I admit my exercise has fallen off since I quit swimming and I'm not in the best shape, although at 55 my level of fitness throughout my youth has carried me pretty well.

As far as metataralgia, I don't now, and have tried to avoid wearing high-heel shoes altogether. I have a high arch and wide foot in the toe region so they are tantamount to torture. I spent quite a bit of time standing in my former job as I do now, but nothing so stressful that I'd imagine a condition to occur as a result of it.

Does anyone have any ideas, suggestions, doctors to recommend? It sure would be nice to swim again.

 
Answers (2)
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BCG

I am having the same problem. I found this on another site, and intend to try it:

Try doing toe rising exercises with your toes turned inward (you stand flat-footed with your toes turned in and get off your heels by rising on your turned-in toes... work your way up to doing as many as you can)... this exercise will also develop nice-looking calves, don't worry; do it as you shower and rinse soap off your body...

The reason that is happening is that you are sickling your toes (turning your toes inward, like walking "pigeon-toed) while you're also pointing your toes... using muscles that are under-developed and they quickly go into spasms due to fatigue and uric acid build-up; if you sit and point your toes and turn them in while holding the toe point, you'll see what I mean.

When that happens, stop flutter kicking, get out of the water, go against a wall, and stand about a foot and a half away from the wall and lean forward WITHOUT lifting your heels! That will stretch you calf muscles and those beneath your arch (areas where you get the cramps) and bring relief. Have someone massage the areas while they press your toes up toward you (it's difficult to do this on your own; that will circulate the blood and circulate the uric acid build-up that causes the spasms... or cramps).

Yes, bananas AND tomato juices will help you by supplementing the needed vitamins and minerals lacking in your system, so I've heard from some nutrition-minded individuals. Do some stretching exercises and massage the areas you normally get cramps BEFORE entering the water; do some warm up exercises in the water before serious swimming!

 

BCG suggested eating bananas and tomato juice.  Potatoes are also rich in potasium, which is important in preventing cramps.  Staying well hydrated is critical, as well.
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