Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How can I stop my toes from cramping up?"
The toes on the left foot cramp a lot. They tighten up and hurt really bad, especially when I stretch my legs out. How can I stop this from happening? Is something wrong with the muscles in my toes?
Muscle cramps are quite common but can be very painful and disruptive. It sounds like this is a problem that has been going on for a period of time, so the best thing to do would be to see your primary care physician for a more detailed history and exam. There are many different things that can cause muscle cramps, and your doctor will want to make sure you don't have any indications that would suggest the need for further testing. Of the many things that can cause foot cramps, a person's shoes can make a big difference. Women who spend a lot of time wearing heels can sometimes have problems with foot cramps as can anyone wearing flats that don't fit properly or put stress on the wrong places in the foot. In this case, using orthotic inserts can make a big difference. Electrolyte imbalances can also cause very painful muscle cramps, although it would be unusual to have this present only in the toes and not in any other muscle groups. If you've had a prior orthopedic injury to that foot or leg, you may have some muscle imbalances leading to cramps that may improve with physical therapy. And, if you have other symptoms or findings on exam, your doctor might want to consider something other than a primary muscle problem as the cause of your symptoms. Overall, what you are describing is probably not a serious problem, but it's always best to make sure your primary physician evaluates any new changes in your health. Hopefully you'll be feeling better in no time!
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