A foot cramp is characterized by a sudden, jarring pain, usually in the arch of the foot, that can make it difficult to walk or stand. There are a number of causes--including deficiency in certain vitamins--but fortunately just as many cures, says FootCare-Central.com. However, you should seek medical advice before taking any herbal or vitamin supplements, especially if you are on other medication or your cramps are chronic and not easily cured.
About Foot Cramps
Cramps can occur in any muscle in the body but are particularly common in the feet, because these muscles are highly prone to fatigue from working constantly as you move and stand, says FootCare-Central.com. The cramps occur when the muscle in your foot contracts involuntarily and with great force. This causes discomfort and even great pain, and the foot may spasm or twist, says MedicineNet.com. A foot cramp may only last a few seconds or persist for much longer, and it is common for the cramp to recur several times before disappearing completely.
Causes of Foot Cramps
There are a wide range of reasons you may suffer from foot cramps, including excessive or intensive activity that places strain on the foot muscles and leads to muscle fatigue, says FootCare-Central.com. Other common causes are poor circulation--and therefore lack of oxygen to the area--dehydration, pinched nerves and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. While almost everyone will suffer from a cramp at some stage, it is important to speak to a doctor if your cramps are particularly painful or persistent.
Vitamin D Deficiency
This vitamin helps your body absorb calcium and magnesium, which ensures proper functioning of your nerve endings and the muscles they feed into, says MedicineNet.com. So a lack of any of these vitamins and minerals can cause nerve twitches resulting in foot cramps. You may be low in calcium, magnesium and vitamin D if you are taking diuretics, have had a vomiting illness or have an imbalanced diet. Eating as many calcium and magnesium-rich foods as you can is one of the best ways to prevent foot cramps due to these deficiencies, says the Health Guidance website. This includes diary products, oats, rice, sesame seeds and green, leafy vegetables and fresh fruit, with the exception of citrus, which can deplete your body’s calcium levels. A moderate daily does of sunshine is the best way to ensure your vitamin D levels remain adequate.
Vitamin B6 Defciency
Foot cramps can also be caused by a lack of vitamin B6, says the Health Guidance website. This vitamin is essential for the healthy functioning of your nervous system and can be found in pork, poultry, fish, eggs and fruit and vegetables. However, taking a vitamin B complex supplement has also been proven to help relieve muscle cramps, says the American Academy of Neurology website. If you decide to take it as a supplement, never exceed the recommended daily dose--a maximum of 50 milligrams--and always take vitamin B6 together with the whole group of B vitamins (that is, as a complex supplement), because too much of one can lead to depleted levels of the other B vitamins.
Vitamin E Deficiency
As discussed above, a lack of oxygen in the muscles due to poor circulation can lead to foot cramps and, in this case, vitamin E can help, says the Health Guidance website. This is because vitamin E improves circulation, is essential for the production of red blood cells and is a powerful antioxidant that flushes toxins from the bloodstream. To make sure you are getting enough of this vitamin, be sure to include plenty of vegetable oils, soy products and nuts--especially almonds--in your diet.