Foot Spasms

What are foot spasms?

Have you ever experienced a muscle spasm? When the muscles of the feet contract, a spasm occurs. The muscles become tight, hard and painful. A muscle spasm in the feet is called a carpopedal spasm. They can range from barely noticeable to extremely agonizing and they may not have an obvious cause. Spasms are one way that the body can get your attention.

How do I know if I’m having a foot spasm?

The most common symptom of foot spasms is cramping. You may also feel fatigued or experience muscle weakness. Tingling, numbness or feeling a “pins and needles” sensation is also quite common. Twitching and uncontrolled, rapid motions can also be experienced.

What causes foot spasms?

There isn’t one clear cause of carpopedal spasms. The possible causes include:

  • Brain disorders – including Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease and dystonia
  • Poor circulation
  • Kidney disease and dialysis
  • Mononeuropathy – a single nerve or nerve group being damaged
  • Polyneuropathy – damage to the nerves connected to the muscles
  • Being dehydrated
  • Hyperventilation – deep and rapid breathing that commonly results from panic or anxiety
  • Phosphate – having increased levels in the body
  • Cramps – caused in the muscles from overuse during physical activity
  • Not stretching before exercising
  • Pregnancy
  • Lack of nutrients – especially magnesium, calcium or vitamin D
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Medication –antipsychotics, diuretics, birth control pills, steroids and statins are some of the most common medications that have spasms listed as a side effect


How are foot spasms treated?

Most of the time muscle spasms go away by themselves. When the cramp does occur there are a few things you can do. Your best bet is to try massaging, icing and stretching the affected muscle. Make sure to walk around or jiggle your leg to loosen the muscles. Warming the muscles or taking an Epsom salt bath may also help. To relieve pain resulting from a longer lasting spasm, take over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen.

Can foot spasms be prevented?

If it’s determined that a lack of nutrients is causing the foot spasms, increase your intake of vitamin D, calcium and magnesium. You can also do stretching exercises. If you stretch your muscles regularly, it will keep them from getting tighter and shorter, preventing spasms in the long run. The more active you are the fewer spasms you will experience.   Activity helps loosen the muscles in your feet. Doing aerobic and strength exercises is best. However be careful! If you overuse your muscles it could make the condition worse. Lastly, drink plenty of fluids.

When do I need medical help?

Seek professional help if your spasms are recurrent and the conservative measures described above do not work. Call the office of podiatrists Drs. Amy Miller-Guhl and David Guhl to set up an appointment.

At your appointment, there will be a number of blood and urine tests performed. Your physician will test your hormone levels, kidney function and vitamin D, calcium and magnesium levels. A medication may be prescribed for the spasms.  Be sure that you follow your doctor’s specific instructions when taking medications.

Have you been experiencing spasms in your feet? Find out their cause.  Call Waukesha Foot Specialists at (262) 544-0700 or visit us online to schedule an appointment with Dr. Amy Miller-Guhl or David Guhl. Since 2007, we’ve been serving the Waukasha, New Berlin, Brookfield and Milwaukee areas. Remember, you don’t have to live with foot pain!

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