What are the causes of cramps in feet?

Foot cramps can be the result of numerous factors including a lack of potassium. Eat your bananas! When you are potassium deficient, your body's chemistry gets off kilter and can't get regulated, which can result in foot cramps. Potassium is a mineral that is found in salt.

If you are dehydrated, this may contribute to foot cramps. Drink a lot of fluids, preferably water. Foot-care-central.com notes that poor circulation to your feet can cause cramping. If the blood flow has been compromised, due to disease or injury, this will cause your feet to cramp. If your feet are simply overworked, you may find your feed cramping.

The Skinny on Potassium

When a person has hypokalemia, which is low potassium, this can result in foot cramps because potassium is one of the primary molecules in our body that controls how the muscles work. Potassium levels can drop if you are taking water pills (diuretics), from over-exercising as well as other factors. Lack of potassium is one of the most common reasons for foot cramping. Discuss this with your doctor and figure out how to get more potassium into your system.

Other Considerations

Women may find their feet cramping when their hormones are fluctuating right before their menstrual period or during peri-menopause and menopause. When hormone levels change, the muscles in our body have to adapt to this change. Sometimes a cramp can occur while the muscle is making this transition. If you are working in an environment, such as a factory, where you are exposed to chemicals, this may contribute to food cramping. A pinched nerve in your foot or leg can cause numbness as well as cramping in your foot. When a nerve is pinched, the electrical impulses that come from the brain cannot reach their destination, the muscle. Smoking and alcohol both lead to toxicity, poor circulation and dehydration, which are considered the "triple threat" when it comes to the cause of foot cramping.

Expert Insight

The Mayo Clinic points out that foot cramps may be the result of anaemia (iron poor blood), diabetes, thyroid problems, kidney issues and hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar).

Nocturnal Claudification

Foot cramping can result when there is insufficient circulation to the muscle tissue. When this occurs, this is called ischemia, according to Myfootshop.com. Ischemic cramping mostly occurs at night and is consequently called nocturnal claudification. However, this type of cramping can also occur when you are exercising.


If your biomechanics are lousy, your feet may end up cramping. Biomechanics refers to how your body moves. If you have a muscle imbalance, you will try to compensate for this and you may end up walking and moving in an inappropriate and harmful fashion, which puts too much stress on another muscle group. Look at the bottom of your shoes. This will indicate by the wear and tear on the sole if you are walking on the inside of your feet or, conversely, on the outside. You may need to invest in arch supports and more supportive shoes to prevent foot cramping and to improve your biomechanics.