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Foot Arch Cramps While Running: Causes and Smart Ways to Prevent Them

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Running is beneficial for your health and a very convenient form of exercise which requires a little more than plain old motivation, a nice pair of shoes and energy. Most people are aware that running can help a person get into shape but little do they know or understand that it can benefit every body part as well as rejuvenate your mind. While it might not be everyone’s favourite exercise, knowing the positive changes that it brings in your life might just make you see running from a completely different perspective. 

Nonetheless, as running is a one-person activity, the risk of trauma associated with this sport is low. But that doesn’t make runners completely free from injuries. More than half of running injuries are because of overuse which is the inability of the body to keep up with the demand. Most of these injuries tend to affect the foot’s arch which usually acts as a shock absorber. Foot arch cramps while running is one of the major issues that disrupts motivation and stops a person from running prematurely.

Painful spasms take place when the foot muscles make impulsive contractions and it is because of the lack of sufficient amount of oxygen that they cannot remain relaxed. Preventing these foot arch spasms is indispensable when it comes to accomplishing milestones. Know more about the causes of foot cramps and smart ways in which you can avoid them.

Causes of Foot Cramps

Cramps and muscle fatigue are the results of a lot of factors including overtraining, dehydration and lack of blood circulation. To rule out the problems of dehydration, all you need to do is simply add some electrolytes. Proper hydration would provide the nourishment that your hard-working muscles require. The next possible cause of fatigue would be mileage and training. It might be possible that you are overtraining and pushing your body way beyond what it can actually go.

Foot arch cramps
Learn how to treat cramps

If you have included speed work recently or are overtraining, try to cut back the weekly mileage volume by at least one-third for a few weeks and then start to rebuild at a gradual pace.

Shoes are also a contributing factor that can cause cramp in arch of foot after running. It could be both your day-to-day shoes and your running shoes which could be causing the cramp in your foot. Make sure that the shoe that you are wearing is in no way limiting your blood circulation.

Also read about: Running Blisters: Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention and Cure.

Steps to Avoid Muscle Cramp While/After Running

Step 1: Remain Hydrated

As mentioned above, remaining hydrated is rather important before, during and after running. This would aid in preventing dehydration which is one of the major causes of muscle fatigue and cramps. Consider sipping a sports drink which is enriched with electrolytes for those runs where you plan on running for over 60 minutes.

You could also consider using bars or gels. Whatever you use, make sure to consume it every thirty minutes of your training after an hour of running.

Check out: Effective Hydration Tips for Runners

Step 2: Get a Foot Massage

Massages can be very helpful when it comes to loosening tight muscles and thereby removing the adhesions between fascia and muscles for enhanced blood flow. Self-massage your lower legs and feet or consider getting massages from a trained sports massage therapist every week.

Consider using a foam roller on the lower legs as the tight calf muscles can often lead to poor circulation of blood in the feet. For your feet, start working from the foot’s top and also between the tendons slowly to your toes. Continue to massage the arch and then all along the bottom of your foot.

Soaking in a warm bath or applying a heating pad on the lower feet and legs is also said to be a wonderful way to improve circulation and thereby prevent foot arch cramps while running.

Also check out Why, How and When of Self-Massage for Runners Explained

Get a massage
Get a massage

Step 3: Reduce the Intake of Diuretics

When you have included running in your exercise routine, it would be best to reduce diuretics’ intake. Beverages like non-herbal tea, coffee, energy drinks, lattes and so on contain a high amount of caffeine and that can lead to dehydration.

Also, high amount of alcohol based drinks must be avoided.

Do read about Calculating Sweat Rate to Create a Hydration Plan

Step 4: Consume a Balanced Diet

Foods that are rich in calcium, magnesium, and potassium must be included in your diet when you are training.

These minerals are said to reduce muscle fatigue and cramping in the body. Bananas, nuts, soybeans, orange juice, apricots, leafy vegetables, dairy products, and potatoes are excellent examples of foods which contain these minerals in abundance.

By consuming a mineral-rich diet, the cramp in the foot arch after running can be avoided to a great extent.

Check out What to Eat before Running? Top Foods for Runners

Take a balanced diet
Find a balanced diet

Step 5: Warm Up Before Exercising

Before you begin running, stretch your body and feet well. The tight muscles of the feet have a higher risk of risk of cramping.

Keep both your legs straight and then lift the back heel of your left leg upwards and then downwards approximately eight to ten times in a controlled and slow motion. Now switch feet and repeat the same. Ankle circles could also be performed while lowering and raising your toes.

Stand straight by the doorway and then by positioning your hand on the doorjamb for assistance, begin to raise your body up on to your toes a minimum of ten times so as to warm up the muscles in the arch area.

Read about Warm up Routine for Running Perfectly

Step 6: Stop For A Few Minutes When Experiencing Cramps

Foot cramps whlie running
Foot cramps whlie running

In case you experience foot arch cramps while running, stop moving or exercising for a while and then stretch the muscle carefully so as to prevent the cramp from worsening.

Sit somewhere and massage the foot’s affected arch. Knead the muscle treating it similar to a lump of dough and then aim to relax your muscles to calm the sudden and painful spasms. Keep applying steady pressure in the affected area with your palm or fingers.

Check out the Runner's Guide on How to Prevent Cramps when Running

Warning: Consult a Doctor in case of Emergency

It is imperative to remember that frequent toe cramps while running or foot cramps might be a sign of some serious medical issue. In case you feel that the cramping persists or is worsening, it would be best to consult a physician in order to rule out any serious health issues.

Also, be sure to consult your health-care provider before you begin a new exercise program or haven’t really been into exercising for a while.

Visit a physician
Visit a physician

Exercising is all well and good but do not overstrain yourself that it might lead to serious injuries. Foot arch cramps while running might not seem like a serious issue which leads to a lot of people tend to ignore it.

However, it is best to take such problems seriously and immediate act to resolve it. Follow all the above mentioned steps and you will be able to notice favourable results.

Happy Running Fellas!

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