Friday, July 6, 2012

Avoid Foot Cramps at the Pool

The old adage is "Wait 30 minutes after eating before going in the pool." But what about foot cramps? You're happily swimming along, enjoying the cool water and sun, and all of a sudden your foot twists in pain. Ouch! Foot cramps plague many swimmers, especially those using the flutter kick or dolphin kick.
Foot cramps are caused by excessive plantar flexion of the foot or pointing your toes. One way to avoid them is stop swimming and massage your feet. Another method is to change your stroke and do the breaststroke instead, or relax your feet if you use the flutter or dolphin kick.
Here are some tips to stop foot cramps before they start:
1. Stretch before you swim. This will prevent cramping. Concentrate on your lower leg muscles and your feet during your stretch. To relieve cramps after you get in the water, try a toe stretch. Put your toes against a wall and press toward the floor with the four corners of your foot (your left and right heel areas and the bones behind your toes.). While your toes are on the wall and the four corners are on the floor, lift your inner ankle bone to ease the cramp.
2. Hydrate before and during your swim. Even though you are in the water, you are sweating. Dehydration can lead to cramping. Keep a water bottle close to you and drink some every 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Eat your bananas and leafy greens. Low electrolyte levels, especially potassium, calcium, and magnesium, also cause cramping during swimming.
If you are consistently getting foot cramps and none of these remedies help you, call one of our six offices to make an appointment.
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Podiatrists in CT
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