10% off £25 OR 15% off £35

000000s
Code:EXTRA
 

10% off £25 OR 15% off £35

000000s

Code:EXTRA

🏷️ Buy 1 Get 1 Free☀️ Summer ShopOffersOffers HubBuy one get one 1/2 priceSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy 1 Get 1 Free25% off Online Only OfferOutletFree gift with purchase1/2 Price2 for £50Short DatedBuy 6 for £15 Mix & MatchVitamins & SupplementsVitamins & Supplements HubVitamins & Supplements Shop AllCBDShop all CBDCBD OilCBD CapsulesCBD SprayCBD GummiesCollagen & SilicaHair, Skin & NailsShop all Hair, Skin & NailsHair GrowthFunctional MushroomsVitaminsShop all VitaminsMultivitaminsVitamin AVitamin BVitamin CVitamin DVitamin EVitamin KVitamin DrinksMineralsShop all MineralsMagnesiumIronZincCalciumSeleniumChromiumSupplementsShop all SupplementsFibre SupplementsAcidophilus & Friendly BacteriaPeppermint OilGrapeseed ExtractLecithinCollagen & SilicaOmega & Fish OilsPlant Sourced SupplementsSuperfood SupplementsArnicaApple CiderRaspberry KetonesAloe VeraChondroitin & MSMCo Enzyme Q10Evening Primrose OilGarlicGinkgo BilobaGlucosamineGlucomannanSeaweed, Kelps and Aquaceuticals5 HTPSaw palmettoCharcoalWomen's HealthShop all Women's HealthMenopauseMenstrual SupportUrinary Tract HealthPregnancy & ConceptionMen's HealthShop all Men's HealthProstate HealthChildren's HealthConditionShop all ConditionWater RetentionAllergy & Hay Fever CareAnxiety SupportBone & Muscle HealthMuscle Support & Joint PainBrain & Memory SupportWomen's HealthMen's HealthChildren's HealthPain ReliefCold & Immune SupportFatigueDigestive HealthHair, Skin & NailsHeart & CirculationLiver CareMood SupportSexual HealthSleep & RelaxationStress ReliefVisionHerbal & Licensed RemediesShop all Herbal & Licensed RemediesValerianSt John's WortRescue RemedyAgnus CastusAshwagandhaEchinaceaMilk ThistleDevil's ClawGinseng & GuaranaBlack CohoshHomeopathic & Flower RemediesShop all Homeopathic & Flower RemediesRescue RemedyTissue SaltsFlower RemediesHomeopathic RemediesAt-Home TestsVegan Vitamins & SupplementsBuy one get one 1/2 priceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeSave up to 1/2 PriceHolland & BarrettVitabioticsSolgarWeledaNew NordicBioglanBetterYouNatures AidGrass & Co.Nature's WayDairy FreeGluten FreeSesame Seed FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeLupin FreeNew inFood & DrinkFood & Drink HubFood & Drink Shop AllVegan FoodHoney, Jams & SpreadsShop all Honey, Jams & SpreadsJams & ChutneysManuka HoneyHoneyNut ButtersSpreadsPateTeas, Coffee & Hot BeveragesShop all Teas, Coffee & Hot BeveragesCoffee & Coffee SubstitutesMushroom DrinksTeasSuperfood TeasMatcha & Green TeaSleep & Relaxation TeaDried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsShop all Dried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsDried FruitNutsSeedsMixesSuperfoodsShop all SuperfoodsSuperfood PowdersMaca PowderGoji BerriesBaobabMoringa PowderFlaxseedSpirulinaChia SeedsSnacksShop all SnacksProtein BarsLow Calorie SnacksChocolate, Cakes & BiscuitsCrisps & ChipsSavoury SnacksSweet SnacksSnack BarsFlapjacksPopcornFood CupboardShop all Food CupboardHoney, Jams & SpreadsBreakfast CerealsSuperfoodsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesTinned FoodsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsBreakfast CerealsShop all Breakfast CerealsCereals, Bran & FlakesGranolaMuesliOats & PorridgeBreakfast BarsDrinks & JuicesShop all Drinks & JuicesNatural Energy DrinksKombuchaJuicesSoft DrinksWaterAlcohol Free DrinksCookingShop all CookingCooking IngredientsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesSoya & Meat AlternativeSoup & Ready MealsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsHerbs, Spices & SeasoningGravy & StockHome BakingShop all Home BakingBaking MixesBreadFlourSweeteners & Sugar AlternativesEgg SubstitutesDairy AlternativesShop all Dairy AlternativesOat, Rice & Hemp DrinksSoya DrinksNut DrinksCoconut DrinksNutritionally Complete FoodBuy one get one 1/2 priceSave up to 1/2 Price25% off Online Only OfferHolland & BarrettNaturyaHeath & HeatherPukkaGrenadeMeridianTwiningsBionaNakdHuelGluten FreeDairy FreeEgg FreeWheat FreeMilk FreeMustard FreeCelery FreeFish FreeSulphites FreeCrustaceans FreeNew inSports NutritionSports Nutrition HubSports Nutrition Shop AllProteinShop all ProteinClear ProteinWhey ProteinMass GainersVegan ProteinDiet ProteinCaseinSports SupplementsShop all Sports SupplementsTestosteroneSports CollagenBars, Drinks & SnacksShop all Bars, Drinks & SnacksEnergy BarsProtein BarsProtein ShakesProtein SnacksNutritionally Complete FoodMeal Replacement ShakesPre Workout & EnergyShop all Pre Workout & EnergyPre WorkoutAmino Energy PowdersIntra WorkoutKetoPost WorkoutAmino AcidsShop all Amino AcidsAmino Energy PowdersBCAAL-LysineGlutamineCarnitineArginineCreatineShop all CreatineCreatine PowderCreatine CapsulesRehydrationShop all RehydrationElectrolytesEnergy GelsVegan Sports NutritionShop all Vegan Sports NutritionVegan ProteinVegan Protein BarsVegan Pre Workout & EnergyVegan Amino AcidsVegan CreatineSports AccessoriesShop all Sports AccessoriesBottles & ShakersFitness EquipmentFitness GoalShop all Fitness GoalRecoveryMuscle & StrengthLean MuscleEnergy & EnduranceDiet & Weight LossSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy one get one 1/2 price2 for £50Optimum NutritionPE NutritionUSNApplied NutritionGrenadePhDSiSFoodspringHuelYfoodDairy FreeGluten FreeSugar FreeSoya FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeNew inBeautyBeauty HubNatural Beauty Shop AllAromatherapy & HomeShop all Aromatherapy & HomePure Essential OilsBlended Essential OilsBase & Carrier OilsHolisticSkincareShop all SkincarePremium SkincareFace CareBody CareSun CareTanning & BronzingEye CareLip CareFoot CareHand & Nail CareSkin AilmentsSkin OilsCBD BeautySun CareShop all Sun CareSun Lotion SPFAfter SunHair Skin & NailsWashing & BathingShop all Washing & BathingShampoo & ConditionerBathing AccessoriesShower Gel & Body WashDeodorantDentalHand WashSoapBath Soak & OilBody ScrubBath Bombs & SaltsFeminine CareIncontinence SupportHair CareShop all Hair CareShampoo & ConditionerHair ColouringHair MasksHair Oil & SerumHair Spray, Gel & MousseHair AccessoriesMother & BabyShop all Mother & BabyBaby Skincare & ToiletriesElectrical WellnessSexual WellnessSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeBuy one get one 1/2 priceDr OrganicFaith in NatureWeledaNaturtintTisserandSukinMiaromaQ+AEthiqueSo EcoAlcohol FreeParfum FreeParaben FreeSLS FreePalm Oil FreeGluten FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeNew inCBDWeight ManagementWeight Management HubWeight Management Shop AllFat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsShop all Fat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsFat BurnersFat BindersAppetite SuppressantsSlimming TabletsShakes & Weight Management ShotsShop all Shakes & Weight Management ShotsMeal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinDiet Food & DrinkShop all Diet Food & DrinkDiet FoodLow Calorie SnacksSlimming TeaExercise SupportShop all Exercise SupportFitness EquipmentMeal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinProtein BarsSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy one get one 1/2 price2 for £50Optimum NutritionGrenadeHolland & BarrettUSNPhDEat WaterPulsinNatures AidNew NordicSlimExpertSugar FreeDairy FreeGluten FreeWheat FreeNew inVeganHealth & WellnessShop all Health & WellnessJoints Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair Skin & NailsStress AnxietySleep & RelaxationBuy one get one 1/2 priceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeSave up to 1/2 PriceHolland & BarrettWeledaVitabioticsDr OrganicSolgarNaturtintOptimum NutritionNew NordicHeath & HeatherBioglanDairy FreeGluten FreeParaben FreeSLS FreeAlcohol FreeParfum FreeSugar FreeWheat FreeSoya FreeEgg FreeNew inShop for your WellnessWomen's HealthMenstrual HealthMenopauseSkincareJoints, Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair, Skin & NailsImmunitySleep & RelaxationFood & DietChildren's HealthStress ReliefHealthy HeartEnergyLow Mood & DepressionConcentration & AlertnessEye HealthSexual HealthLearn about WellnessWomen's HealthPeriods & Cycle HealthMenopauseJoints, Bones & MusclesImmunityGut HealthFood & DietSports & FitnessSleep & RelaxationHair Skin & NailsAll articlesHealthFood & nutritionGut healthImmunityJoints, bones & musclesWomen's healthWellnessHair & skinMental wellbeingSeasonalSleep & relaxationSports nutritionRecipesAll recipesGluten freeLow sugarVeganDairy freePodcast

Why do I get foot cramps?

Female in active wear on a pier drinking a bottle of water. Background has a sunset
A foot cramp can be uncomfortable or downright painful – especially when they strike out of nowhere. Find out what causes them and what you can do about them.

Cramping in the feet and toes is common. Although it can be inconvenient and painful – it’s usually nothing to worry about. However, if foot cramps are happening regularly, there might be an underlying cause.

What do foot cramps feel like?

A foot cramp can feel like a tearing sensation along the arch of your foot. Cramps can incorporate the top of the foot too, with pain curling from your ankle to your big toe joint.

During a cramp, your foot may feel ‘locked’ into position. You might also feel a searing or burning sensation. They can last anywhere from a few seconds to around fifteen minutes.

Where can you get foot cramps?

Foot cramps can range from a slight tic to an intense spasm that causes a lot of pain. You might also notice that the muscle in your foot goes very hard and tense or that you can see twitching inside your foot.1

It's likely that you might get cramps in specific areas, they include:

  • In the whole foot
  • Cramp in the toes
  • Cramp in arch of the foot
  • Cramp on top of the foot
  • Cramp inside of the foot

What causes foot cramps?

There are several reasons why you might be getting foot cramps. We’ve found eight of the most common reasons.

Eight foot cramp causes

  1. Ageing

According to the NHS, your age can be a major contributor to your cramps.2 This is simply because your nerves control your muscles and as you age your nerves wear out.3

  1. Exercise 

Certain forms of exercise, such as running, can bring on foot cramps. One reason is that the muscle groups in the feet can experience fatigue and spasming after repeatedly contracting and relaxing during the activity.

Another explanation could be the signal from the brain to the muscle fails temporarily – so the muscle contracts but doesn’t relax – leaving you with cramp.4

  1. Later stages of pregnancy

There is no clear reason why pregnancy can cause leg or foot cramps, but around 30-50% of women can experience cramps in the third trimester. Fortunately, once your baby arrives, they should disappear.5

  1. Medications

Certain medications, such as statins and diuretics (water tablets) have muscle cramping as side-effects.6

  1. Overuse of the feet 

if you’ve been driving a lot, or operating a machine with a foot pedal, this can lead to cramps in the feet and toes from repetitive movement.

  1. Not drinking enough fluids

it has been suggested that both dehydration and low levels of electrolytes in the body could contribute to cramp. It is also considered that it may also be down to a lack of magnesium.7

  1. Footwear

If your shoes are too tight, it's possible that it can cause foot cramps by restricting the natural movement of the foot muscles. Tight footwear also restricts blood circulation to the feet. Shoes (e.g. stilettos) which force the foot into unnatural positions can also lead to foot and toe cramps.8

Handpicked content: How to improve circulation in your feet

  1. Too much alcohol

Much like when you exercise, alcohol can build up lactic acid. Usually your liver works to reduce this build-up, however if you’re drinking too much then your liver will struggle to keep up.9

Five ways to stop foot cramps

Much like the causes of foot cramps, there are some steps you can take that may prevent them from recurring, we’ve found five ways that may help:

  • Warm up and stretches

A good way to avoid cramp is to make sure that you warm up and stretch before and after exercise. Particularly if you know you’ll be going on a long walk, run or any other strenuous exercise.10

For cramp in the arch of your foot, gently press along the arch with your fingers. The muscle may feel knotted or hard to touch.

A simple press-and-release motion should ease the muscle out of its spasm.

  • Massage and light exercise

It may also be a good idea to massage the areas that you get a recurrence of cramp. For example, if you’re sitting in a chair, pull the cramping foot to rest on the opposite thigh.

Gently pull your toes back towards your ankle, so you feel a stretch in the arch. Repeat this a few times.

Then, push your toes down towards the ball of your foot. You should feel a pull along the knuckles of your toes and along the top of the foot. Repeat a few times.

  • Keep hydrated

Drinking water and other fluids is key to avoiding cramp. Your body is happier when your cells get more fluids, particularly after a lot of exercise or a dry or hot day.

  • Check your medication

It may be that you can’t change what medication you take, but you’ll know where your cramps are coming from. That'll make you better prepared to step up other measures to prevent the pain.

  • A healthy diet

Finally, eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is always a good preventative measure for many reasons. Try to eat fruit and vegetables, and avoid alcohol where possible to give yourself the best chance of avoiding cramp.

Why do I keep getting cramps in my feet?

There’s a number of reasons you might be getting cramps in your feet. This can be down to age, pregnancy, medication, dehydration or potential liver damage through alcohol.11

How do you stop foot cramps at night?

If you tend to get leg cramps at night, make sure to stretch before you go to bed. This will allow the muscles to relax and may avoid spasms.

What causes toes to cramp and curl up?

As with any sort of cramp, the curl in your toes is when the nerves in the muscles contract. In terms of your toes, this is more visible.

In severe cases this could be dystonia, which is the early stages of Parkinson’s disease.12

Do bananas help with cramps or is it a myth?

It’s true! Bananas do help with leg cramps. As you may be aware, bananas are a great source of potassium, but they also contain magnesium and calcium which are all great for helping cramps.13

A summary of foot cramps

Generally speaking, foot cramps can be quite common and will normally go away on their own with home treatment. Stretching, keeping hydrated and a healthy, balanced diet can all help avoid getting cramps.

However, if your cramps are causing serious pain, or if you notice swelling, redness or changes to your feet or surrounding areas, you should contact your GP.

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Last updated: 28 April 2021

Related Articles

  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • PayPal
  • AmericanExpress
  • ApplePay
  • ClearPay
  • AliPay
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Copyright © Holland & Barrett Retail Limited, 2024. All rights reserved. hollandandbarrett.com is a trading name of Holland & Barrett Retail Limited,. Registered office: Samuel Ryder House, Barling Way, Nuneaton, Warwickshire CV10 7RH. Registered in England: company no. 2758955. Registered VAT no. 211727395.