6 Common Causes of Foot Cramps and How to Avoid Them

6 Common Causes of Foot Cramps and How to Avoid Them

Posted by Apex Foot Health on 6th Dec 2022

It is estimated that about 95% of people will experience a muscle cramp at some point in their lives. As we age, such cramps become increasingly common.

Cramps happen when a muscle involuntarily contracts. Though cramps usually only last between a few seconds and a few minutes, they can be very painful. So what causes foot cramps, and how can we fend them off?

There are a few common causes of foot spams that have easy fixes. Read on so you never have to suffer foot spasms again.

Low Potassium

Different types of potassium-rich food

Potassium is a mineral and an electrolyte that's vital for muscle movement and maintenance. When potassium levels dip too low, a person may experience cramping in their feet and legs.

When potassium levels are low in the body, it becomes one of the many causes of foot or leg cramps. You can solve the problem by upping your potassium intake through a vitamin supplement or by eating foods that are rich in potassium. Such foods include bananas, oranges, potatoes, and many more.


Two woman standing outside drinking water

Water helps tissues and organs work properly. Staying hydrated is essential for overall health and to help prevent foot twinges.

If you become dehydrated, it means your body does not have enough water to help all its tissues and organs function properly. Dehydration can cause muscle cramping all over the body, including in the feet.

Dehydration can happen for many reasons, such as:

  • diarrhea 
  • vomiting 
  • not drinking enough water 
  • exercise 
  • overheating

Tight Shoes

Woman experiencing foot cramps from shoes

Shoes that are too tight can reduce blood flow. Reduced blood flow can induce cramping. If you are unable to move your toes in your shoes or if your toes or feet start to go numb, it is time for shoes that fit properly.

So, if your shoes squeeze your feet and you are interested in improving foot health, toss those tight shoes aside and invest in some footwear that fits your foot. In the meantime though, you should stretch your feet and soak them in warm water to relieve the cramping.

Flat Sandals

Close up of woman wearing sandals

Flat sandals, including flip flops, are another of the types of footwear that can wreak havoc on your feet. This particularly applies to people with low arches or flat feet. In these situations, flat sandals can tire the muscles in the foot after a while and cause cramps.

Stretching and icing the foot will help relieve pain in the short term. In the future though, consider  shoes with added support or shoes that have room for arch supports.

Foot Muscle Fatigue

Woman experiencing foot muscle fatigue

Heavy exercise or moderate exercise in the wrong types of footwear can cause foot muscle fatigue. In turn, you will experience cramps or even muscle injuries.

Make sure to stretch before working out and invest in a quality pair of sneakers. Avoid exercising right after eating because this can cause cramping as well.


Close up of different kinds of medications

Certain medications can increase the occurrence of cramping of the foot and toes. So if you experience cramping and think it could be from a medication you are on, be sure to consult your doctor. They will be able to adjust the medication, dosage or provide advice on how to mitigate the problem.

Risks and Complications

Foot cramps are a common occurrence, and while they usually go away on their own, ignoring them can lead to more serious consequences.

Here are some of the things that can happen if left untreated: 

  • Injury: Severe cramping of the foot can cause the muscle to tear, leading to pain, swelling, and bruising. 
  • Falls: Foot cramps can make it difficult to walk or balance, increasing the risk of falls, especially in older adults. 
  • Sleep disturbances: Foot spasms can wake you up at night, making it difficult to get a good night's sleep.

If you experience frequent or severe cramping of the foot, it's important to see a doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

Mitigating the Causes of Foot Cramps

Now that you know about the main causes of foot cramps and how to avoid them, it should be a while until you experience another foot twitch.

If you need advice on  shoes for foot cramps or orthotic inserts to relieve pain, we would love to help. Don't hesitate to contact us. We will make sure to meet your style and comfort needs in a way that is safe for your feet and general health.