What Causes Foot Cramps at Night?

We’ve all experienced foot cramping -  that excruciating pain in the foot that hits you out of nowhere. It’s a condition that causes you to feel like you will collapse if you lower your heels on a flat surface. Cramping is a sensation that generates pain in the muscles and causes you to rise from bed or move around in uncomfortable ways. Muscle cramps in your feet at night is a common occurrence among most adults. It can be caused by poor orthodontics, footwear, bad posture and even extreme sedentary lifestyles.

Let us look at the causes of painful foot cramps at night in more detail to understand this phenomenon better.

 

Causes of foot cramps at night

There are a variety of reasons for getting foot cramps at night. The type of footwear you are wearing, the bed you are in, the position of your body weight are all things that can cause cramping. Injuries or illnesses can also cause some foot pain at night[1]. In some cases, foot problems can be due to overuse and improper foot care.

Improper foot care can include wearing uncomfortable shoes, sneakers with complex lacing methods etc. These can all contribute to foot cramping. Other common causes of foot cramps include hormonal imbalances, an overactive thyroid, or dehydration. Some symptoms may be anxiety-related, while others may be the tired body feeling itself out after a long day[2]. Listed below are a few of the most common causes of night-time foot cramping.

  • Inappropriate footwear & muscle strain during the day

Foot cramping is a common problem for people who have professions where they must stay in constant motion (waitresses, doctors and nurses, for example). It can be caused by several different factors, such as tight and uncomfortable shoes or poor posture. The best way to avoid this would be to try other shoe brands and styles until you find one that fits comfortably without causing you any discomfort. It is also important to wear shoes with the correct arch support for your feet.

  • Inactivity

In contrast to overexertion, long periods of inactivity can also lead to cramping feet. The current remote work atmosphere most likely has you working from the comforts of your couch all day, leading to a highly sedentary lifestyle. Sitting for long periods coupled with bad posture can exert pressure on your nerves and inhibit the blood flow to the lower parts of your body. Additionally, even your sleeping position can contribute to foot cramping due to cutting off the circulation in your feet. Most people find that incorporating different sleeping positions provide relief from pain during sleep.

  • Dehydration

Dehydration is a common cause of foot cramps at night. Maybe you're overtraining during the day, leading to a lot of water and electrolyte loss. Perhaps it's the hot summer that's making you sweat excessively, leading to dehydration. The low fluid levels in your blood make your muscles more susceptible to cramps and muscle spasms. If dehydration is the cause, prevention is the key to avoiding these annoying bouts of muscle pain. A sure way to prevent foot cramps at night is to drink plenty of water, eat nutritious meals and take care of your muscles by not overworking them, especially during the hot weather[3].

  • Nutrient deficiency

Foot cramps at night can also be a sign of other problems like hyponatremia (when your blood becomes too sodium depleted). Other factors contributing to cramping include deficiencies in vitamin B compounds, folate, thiamine, magnesium and potassium. Whenever you find yourself sluggish or lightheaded, try increasing the amount of potassium in your body by eating raw potatoes or fruits such as bananas and strawberries. Do not overdo supplements as they can lead to more harm than good. Instead, if you suspect a nutrient deficiency, it may be better to consult a nutritionist that can provide accurate guidance.

 

How to treat foot cramps at night

Although they aren't too severe, foot cramping is painful and annoying. But the good news is that there are several treatments for cramps in the feet that do not require a doctor's attention or any form of special training. Let us look at a few treatment methods you can try at home to relieve pain from foot cramps.

 

  • Soothe your muscles by stretching them out

Do some stretches to ease the pain in your feet. You may notice that your foot contracts when cramping. You may have to forcibly stretch it out by pressing down on the big toe and flexing your foot to relieve the pain. If you do this right at the onset of the cramp, you can stop the foot cramps immediately.

 

  • Hydrate your body

Drink some water or an electrolyte solution if you sense your cramp is due to dehydration and loss of nutrients. Keeping well hydrated can prevent those late-night foot cramps from happening.

 

  • Wear compression socks

Wearing compression socks at night can help increase the blood circulation in your legs, thereby prevent cramping caused by poor posture and nerve constraints.

 

  • Use SPRYNG active compression devices

Wrap up the SPRYNG active compression devices on your legs and rest for a few minutes. The device can improve blood circulation in your feet and legs within minutes, leading to increased oxygenation and relaxation of your muscles. In addition to preventing those foot cramps at night, it can further help relieve muscle pain that occurs due to overexertion during the day. Using this device for just 15 minutes before bed while you conduct your usual night-time routine can make a world of difference to your cramping feet at night.

 

[1] https://www.healthline.com/health/foot-cramps-at-night#takeaway

[2] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324840#causes

[3] https://www.everydayhealth.com/news/unusual-signs-of-dehydration/

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