Stretches and strengthening may or may not help and it depends on what the
cause of the cramping is. Check with your doctor if exercises do not help and the problem persists.
Here are stretches for your calves and your feet. Hold each stretch until
your muscles feel looser and repeat two to three times with each leg. Do these every day.
Calf stretch (gastrocnemius muscle)
1. Lean against a wall with both
hands, and keep your back straight.
2. The leg that you want to stretch
should be straight back with the heel flat on the floor.
3. Bring the other
leg forward with the knee bent.
4. Move your hips toward the wall while
keeping your rear foot flat on the floor.
5. Put a folded towel under the
ball of your foot (keeping heel down) to lift the foot and increase the
Calf stretch (soleus muscle)
1. Take the same starting position as the
2. Lean forward with your hips, but this time bend the knee of
the rear leg. This will put the stretch lower in your calf (near the
Achilles tendon) and will also stretch the muscles in the foot.
3. Hold on
to the back of a chair if you need balance.
Here are strengthening exercises. Repeat 12-15 repetitions, three sets each.
Do these every other day.
1. While standing with shoes on, lift
your heels off the floor (end on tippy toes).
2. To accentuate the movement,
stand on the edge of a step with heels off the edge (like a back dive off a
diving board), and lower heels below the step, then raise. Hold the wall or
banister for balance.
1. Sit in a chair barefoot with your toes on the edge of a
towel. Start flexing (curling) your toes and pulling the towel to draw it up
under your toes.
1. Pick up marbles or pencils with your toes while
sitting or standing barefoot.
Make sure that your shoes fit well in addition to the stretching and
strengthening. Tight shoes, and even tight laces, can cause the muscles in
the feet to cramp, particularly if you do long periods of exercise.
Exercising on a cardio machine like the elliptical, where the foot remains
in the same place for long periods, can also cause cramping. Try the
following if you experience cramping while on the elliptical: (1) shifting
your feet, (2) leaning your weight on your arms, (3) pedaling backward, or (4)
stopping and getting off to walk around.
It's not always easy to determine the cause of cramping. In addition to
the exercise conditions listed above, cramping can also be caused by
medications (for example, diuretics), nutritional deficiencies, hydration status,
and circulatory problems. Check with your
doctor to rule out medical causes if none of the exercises help and the
This answer should not be considered medical advice...This answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.
Archived: March 20, 2014
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Read the Original Article: Foot Cramp Stretches