Foot cramps can put a damper on a workout routine, and they can be painful even when sitting. Cramps are often due to overuse of the muscles, dehydration, a lack of potassium, or even incorrect use of the muscles, so in some cases, it will be necessary to find out the root cause of the cramps before they can be effectively treated. In many cases, the RICE treatment can be used to treat the cramps; RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Modification of the behaviors that cause the pain can also be part of the treatment.
The immediate reaction most people have when experiencing foot cramps is to massage the foot. This is one treatment, but it must be done properly to avoid further injuring the muscles. The person suffering from the cramp should stop doing whatever activity he or she was participating in and allow the foot to rest. Drinking plenty of water is a good idea at all times during physical activity, but it is especially important after any cramp or muscle spasm occurs.
Stretching before and after exercise can help a person avoid injuries or other muscle problems. Sometimes, cramps are due to poor muscle conditioning, and the stronger the muscles become, the less likely they will be to spasm during physical activity. The muscles should be stretched daily for optimal health and flexibility, though at the very least, they should be stretched immediately before and after physical activity.
Another common problem that can lead to foot cramps is the use of improper or worn out footwear. The shoes a person wears during physical activity must be supportive, especially in the arch of the foot, to prevent the foot from moving in ways it should not. If the cramps are due to worn out footwear, the person should replace those shoes, or at the very least, replace the in-soles to ensure more support during physical activity. He or she should make sure the shoes fit properly as well, as ones that are too tight or too loose can lead to a number of foot problems. Wearing adequately padded socks can also help absorb some of the shock and strain that can lead to foot pain.