Although the muscles in the toes are tiny and delicate, they can produce intense pain when they are riddled with cramps. Often developing quite suddenly, toe cramps can make even the simplest activity painful. Preventing toe cramps involves understanding of proper footwear, dietary guidelines and exercise recommendations.
Wear shoes that are loose in the toe box. Before purchasing shoes, try them on and make sure you have enough room to wiggle your toes comfortably. Tight shoes restrict blood circulation to your feet and toes. As a result, your toes often do not receive the circulation they need for proper functioning.
Remove high heels every few hours to stretch your toes. Even if your high-heeled shoes have a roomy toe box, the steep angle of the shoe still interrupts blood flow to your toes, which can cause muscle cramps in the toes.
Ensure your body receives enough calcium, magnesium and potassium every day. These vital nutrients are essential for healthy muscle functioning. Deficiencies of all three nutrients have been linked to muscle cramps. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, adults should aim for at least 1,000 mg of calcium and 4.7 g of potassium per day. Men should intake roughly 400 to 420 mg of magnesium per day, while women need 310 to 320 mg per day.
Stay hydrated throughout the day, especially while exercising with a reusable bottle of water. As with nutrient deficiencies, a deficiency of water also increases your risk for muscle cramps.
Massage your toes regularly throughout the day. If you suffer from toe cramps consistently, remove your shoes to massage your toes every few hours. If you only suffer from toe cramps periodically, simply massage your toes every morning and night. Massaging the toes increases blood circulation to the area.
Exercise your toes at least once per day to stretch and strengthen the delicate muscles in and around the toes. The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society recommends a wide variety of toe exercises to keep your feet healthy and free from cramps. These exercises include to raises, toe curls and pointing the toe for five seconds at a time. Using your toes to pick up towels or marbles on the floor also can help strengthen the toes.
- MayoClinic.com: Muscle Cramp Causes
- Toe Problems: Toe Cramp
- Cramps Help: What Can be Done About Toe Cramps?
- American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society: Keep Your Feet Flexible
- MayoClinic.com: Walking Shoes: Features and Fit That Keep You Moving
- United States Department of Agriculture: Dietary Reference Intakes: Recommended Intakes for Individuals