Saturday, August 12, 2006

Toe cramps


While at the company picnic today, Bertrand, Tine and I had all of our hands full with food, drinks, blankets, cameras and phones and navigated our way through Shoreline Amphitheatre to watch the show. As we were climbing the stairs to the entry my toe suddenly cramped up and curled under into a Charlie Horse-like cramp. It was excruciating and I literally yelled out and put everything I had immediately on the floor, bent down, and tried to relieve the cramp since I could no longer walk. Tine and Bertrand stopped and were completely helpless with their full hands while everyone behind us had to navigate around this little girl dealing with her cramped toe. Once that was over, I picked up all my stuff and we continued to walk. Not five steps later, the toe decide to cramp up again and we go through the same thing again. This time, the two of them start worrying more and Tine turns to Bertrand, "Is this a regular occurrence???" In which Bertrand responded, "I have no idea what is happening here." They both look at me, "What do we do? What do we do?!" I was too busy writhing in pain to answer. At this point, despite the pain, the toe cramping situation starts to become funny to me so I am half crying half laughing that we can't get more than five steps away and I am completely debilitated by this toe. Then all three of us break into laughter. Once my toe once again decides to cooperate, we stood up, gathered our things and tried to find our seats. On the way down, we saw a few familiar faces and turned and waved. Of course, now that we had everybody's attention...yes, it happened again. So on the steps of the amphitheatre in the middle of the show, the three of us are rolling on the ground from laughter at the awkwardness and humor of the situation. Thankfully, the toe decided to cooperate the rest of the day and I was able to have a fun time at the picnic.

87 comments:

Anonymous said...

I googled toe seizure and toe cramp because this SAME thing happens to me all the time. it is very random and sporadic but when it happens it is horrible! i have had it happen in both feet before! i laughed when i read this because your description of laughing and crying is dead on...unfortunately finding this didnt lead to a solution :(

Anonymous said...

I have been having toe cramps on and off for a few months..Sometimes when I stretch in the middle of the nite. If i go to slide my foot into a flip flop it will happen the.I think I might be wearing the flip flops too much. Remember you have to use your toes to keep them on.I amgoing to go back to sneakers for awhile and see what happens

Anonymous said...

I have just started Pilates classes and am finding my toes, the middle ones on each foot, cramping, mainly with the leg exercises. I have just been having a look around for causes and wonder if it is dehydration. I shall have a large drink before the next class and see how that goes.

Anna said...

I'm 47 and have been having toe cramps since I can remember. It usually means your body is low on potassium, NOT SALT, potassium. If you add a banana to your diet at least every other day it really helps but don't over do because bananas, although good for you, are also very fattening. Try it. It has worked for me and I only get toe cramps once a year maybe, now. Good luck. (I'm a Natural Health Consultant in case anyone was wondering and a R.N.).

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip about Potassium. I too thought it was dehydration. I started to eat a banana 3 times a week and it is helping tramendously- no more foot cramps in the middle of Yoga or my cardio work out session.

Anonymous said...

Your toe cramp story had me laughing out loud. Those cramps just knock you down, no matter what the situation. I had one three times after wearing pointed toe shoes, maybe that was it. But I have had them in my calf also. The pain is unbearable!!! And you have to squeeze for at least 5 mins or they come right back!! The worst is when you are driving, it is dangerous...Well I hope yours go away, mine seem to have spurts...

Anonymous said...

I have been having toe cramps as well, this week all ten toes clawed inwards and didn't go back to normal until 5 minutes had passed with me holding them backwards. I'm 25 y/o, drink a lot of water, go to the gym 4 days a week and eat pretty healthy so I don't know what it the matter. I'm going to start eating bananas more often to see if it helps. I'll keep you posted :)

Anonymous said...

I have had toe, foot & leg cramps for years (mostly in bed). I tried potassium and that didn't help - nothing did. A phyical therapist suggested I take Quinine (yes quinine for malaria) and it really helps. I take a quinine pill almost nightly before bedtime and it really made a difference. It tastes really nasty but works. If potassium doesn't work for you, try the quinine.

David said...

As I sat helpless while my brother was "writhing in pain," I Googled "toe cramp" to find a quick fix. Instead we happened upon your inticing story. The humor fixed it (or it just went away, but I will stick with the former hypothesis). Apparently this happens to him quite frequently, whenever he tenses up his toe for an extended period of time (and by that he means more than 2.7354 seconds). Anyway, thanks for the story, and I hope this uncomfortable state has resolved itself accordingly

Kelly said...

the toe cramps have been happening alot to me lately as well, especially in yoga and always my second and third toes. I'm definitely going to try potassium and maybe even the quinine, but as for a quick fix, my yoga instructor said to take alot of baby steps across a room (basically straight up and down, as if you're marching). I tried it, and it really does make the cramp go away faster.

good luck, bc i know it does suck.

Anonymous said...

I'm sitting at work and suddenly, about 2 hours ago, I had a new and horrifying pain in the oddest place; my toe! so i googled it and came across this story and forum; got a good laugh out of it. But seriously; i've had three ridiculous cramps since the first and its hideous! What's causing it and how do I make it stop??

Anonymous said...

Cramping in my feet is no laughing matter - it's very painful and frustrating. I eat a balanced diet with lots of vegies, fruits, milk and protein. I walk alot and take the stairs alot, so it is not due to lack of exercise. And, it doesn't matter the kind of shoes: flats, flip-flops, heels, etc. What works the best for me is to massage the calf of my leg rigorously with both hands and try to distract my thoughts away from my foot. Watching television helps. If I can fool my mind to focus on something, anything else --- helps and shortens the cramping time. Good luck! I am not an advocate of medications if there is another just as effective way without it. All medications carry side effects.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for putting this out there! I am now watching my wife do baby steps around the room at 12:27a.m.... she says that it is working and I've heard that toe pop, so please keep the suggestions coming. (She had just eaten a banana earlier and we had been in bed for an hour ready to go to sleep when this happened)

Julie0328 said...

All i can say, is, been there, done that! I have been suffering from toe cramps for several years now, and I chalked it up to it being hereditary because my father gets terrible toe cramps. However, after reading another person's post about being low on Potassium, it is definitely something that is worth looking into as a possibility for a cure. I am a PA student and have a Masters in physiology and I too thought it was from both dehydration and potassium (or even calcium) depletion. I am a runner, I run 4-6 miles per day, five times per week, so I definitely see that I deplete my potassium, calcium, and water stores during these long runs.

I sympathize with all of you. Toe cramps are excrutiating. I would rather have someone pull my hair a hundred times than have a toe cramp. they are horrible. I have had toe cramps while sleeping too, what a horrific feeling to get awakened in the middle of the night by this pain.

I may try the quinine if nothing else works.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to hold in my laughter right now as I'm teaching 31 10th grade students and I am trying frantically to rub out my toe cramp. I've hidhen myself behind the desk and everytime I let go of my foot my toe begins that awful cramping. I have toe cramps so bad that I too drop everything and end up sitting on the floor in agony. I just happened to make it to my desk somehow without the kids knowing. I have even been in the middle of a bar during the height of a Notre Dame home football game to find myself planted on the floor in agony-and tons of people staring at me. You story is honestly hilarious and trust me I know these toe cramps are vicious. I just sit and rub it out until it goes away which must seem ridiculous to those around.

Anonymous said...

I'm 79, prone to toe and calf cramps. I attribute it to the statin drugs I take, or perhaps the Motoprolol. Finally I have decided to get off the statin (Lescol) after last night's episode. All the toes on my right foot suddenly closed into a tight fist (which has happened before) and the excruciating pain sent me to the floor, where it was worse, but it hurt so badly I couldn't get up. When I finally did,I could not move without the pain worsening. I turned on the TV as a distraction .By now the sweat was pouring off me so badly I tore off my nightclothes and prayed to God for relief. I will never take another statin pill, but I need an alternative. 3 yrs ago I spent 3 months in physical therapy because of extreme muscle pain in my arms. I stopped the statin for 6 mo. but my cholesterol is so high I need something!

Anonymous said...

This really works with toe cramps and having done this after suffering toe cramps for months, I thought I would pass it on. I was on a yacht, coming down the steps barefoot. My middle toes started cramping and a Doctor on board told me to pinch my nose tightly on both sides. It works. Instant relief. Try it.

lisa said...

I too found this blog just after my third excrutiating toe cramp of the evening. I've heard the potassium thing too. It seems that mine come in clusters---once I get one, I'm prone to more until the cramping 'period' ends. I've heard the potassium thing---went straight for a banana after the first one. Dehydration makes sense. Just to add another possibility---I've had a bad cold and have been taking cold meds for 4 days. Those generally leave me feeling dry too. My five-year-old son kept asking what was wrong. Once I gasped out 'toe cramp', he said "okay" and went right back to playing. I'll remember the cold meds. Something to consider as a possible factor.
arrrrrrrrggggggh!

Bill said...

"I am a lover of chocolate" -Kimbalina

Ahha, I just noticed that comment ... so it may well be the caffeine and other drugs in the chocolate ... and you are highly likely to love coffee too? ... and those drugs are so addictive that people will probably rather suffer excruciating toe and foot cramps than to give up those addictive substances ... and it may even be probable that the subconscious mind of the addicted person will block out the good medical advice given by the professionals over at http://www.healthcentral.com/fitorfat/408/25005.html.

Anonymous said...

I go for a 10 mile walk every Sunday and typically after my shower my big toe will seperate from the others and the top of my foot shows all these veins and the cramp is full blown. one time it happened in both feet at the same time. so today i decided to look up WHY? and found you. I eat bananas already so I think I'll pinch my nose.

mary said...

thank you, thank you, thank you... i am delighted to hear that much younger, really fit people get these also as i am also addicted to chocolate, coffee, and other controversial (but legal) "substances" and i was beginning to worry that there was something seriously wrong going on. i am thinking of going to a nutrition doctor again...the last time i went to one was years ago and he was able to completely rid me of menstrual cramps i had suffered all my life just by adding calcium magnesium to my daily routine... going to pinch my nose & find out where to get quinine! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm in high school and I'm getting toe cramps. What an excruciating experience! In the middle of a basketball game, I suddenly had a toe cramp that sent me to the ground holding my toe. My teamates and the other people in the team were looking at me as if I was mentally deranged. As I finally gasped out the words "toe cramp" the court was filled with complete silence... followed by a roaring boom of laughter. Gazing into their eyes, I felt as if they were saying, "TOE CRAMP?! HAHAHA...seriously man! What on earth is a toe cramp? YOU'RE RUINING THE GAME!!!!" I felt disappointed, depressed, and humiliated. This has been going on for a week and it is ruining my game and my fun. The truth is that no one has experienced my pain since everyone in highschool is too "young" to know about this sort of misery. I feel lugubrious, but it's great to know that there is a solution to this and that other elder-like people (well at least compared to my age) experience, too. And also that there is also a theory of solutions. For now, I will stick with bananas, water, and calcium. =]

I'm not a loner, afterall.

Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you are talking about! I was at the gym last night and all of a sudden my toes started cramping (this hasn't happened to me before) my friend told me to stretch out my toes so I did and it worked but sure enough just a couple minutes later it started again and everytime I tried to relax my toes it would come back. I can't find anything as to why this happens I usually have a banana once a day with a protein shake but I had skipped a day or two so it's worth a shot and I will definitely pinch my nose next time it happens cause it's really the most awful pain.

Anonymous said...

Bananas help me, but sometimes I just have to get my feet on the coldest floor that I can fine. An ice cold floor does wonders for me.

I am going to try pinching my nose. That is a new one.
Debi

Anonymous said...

I often get toe cramps, but I spent most of yesterday with my toe and calf in cramps... I think it's from the Crocs I was wearing, as I cut the straps off, and did quite a bit of walking at Sovereign Hill, so, I guess my feet were screaming trying to keep the crocs on... I went to the beach afterwards for a romantic night with my other half, but, NO GO... I was in agony... Wish I'd known about the nose pinching then... but for now, am treading carefully, as BOTH feet aren't 100% just yet...

Anonymous said...

My five year old suffers with what I believe is toe cramps and has done since she was a toddler. Its becoming more and more frequent and she is very distressed every time it happens. She's not keen on bananas so will have to try the nose pinching and make sure she's drinking enough. GP was useless! One even suggested she was attention seeking...

Anonymous said...

I have had toe cramps and leg cramps most of life (I am 49) About 5 or 6 years ago I was also diagnosed with restless leg syndrome, an awfull thing also. My doctor put me on quinine, worked miracles, no toe cramps either. He recently changed my quinine to a new drug and my toe cramps are back. I am going to ask for my quinine back. Plus I eat banana's all the time, not sure about that one, but it can't hurt!

Anonymous said...

I just experienced the toe cramping for the first time. I was laughing my head off and crying the hardest I have ever cried before..all at the same time. All 4 toes (minus the big toe) on my left foot were stuck to the left side. Called my mom who is a nurse. She said to eat a banana immediately and go get some tonic, as that has the quinine that everyone is speaking of. I had started a high protien diet a few days ago, and didnt ease my way into it, which caused the cramping. Needless to say, I just ate a banana and the cramping is gone. Of to get some tonic water. (Mom says drink a bit of tonic water a day and that should subdue the cramping).

Anonymous said...

I found this comment on another website, and thought I'd share it with you as my daughter suffers from this condition occasionally and it seems to be painfull judginging by her tears and laughter:
A very simple remedy which sounds silly but it does work.
At the onset of cramp in the lower leg you can get instant relief by each of the following.
Press your forefinger into the joint between your big toe and second toe in the affected limb, the cramp will instantly go.
If you cannot reach the foot you can use the big toe of the other foot.
The second method is an old Chinese trick sounds crazy but please please try it as it works just as well as the first. At the very first sensation of cramp starting press the bone between your nostrils with the side of your forefinger. This pressure point always works for some unknown reason.
Please rate this remedy so others will know it works.

Anonymous said...

I've been suffering from toe, feet, finger and calf cramping. I'm on my feet at work all day, but I'm not sure if that's the cause. I'm taking a diuretic for high blood pressure. Also, I've noticed that after eating certain foods that may contain MSG is when I get a toe cramp. What helps me when I have feet and leg cramps in the middle of the night is to take a magnesium tablet. It relieves the pain and cramping instantly.

Anonymous said...

i am so glad i found this site. it is much more informative than all the medical sites. i too find that if i wear anything other than my croc flip flops, i get killer toe cramps (but only in my left foot)tho, i'd hate to, i guess i should ween myself out of them! thanx for the insight. :)

Anonymous said...

Yep, I found you by googling too - only after the toe cramps in both my feet had finally passed since I couldn't make it to the pc/think straight until then. YOOWWW. What AGONY! They (cramps) kept going and coming in both feet for over half an hour! Walking it out wasn't working. Massaging wasn't working. I think it was wearing tight shoes today after comfy sandals for so many days in a row. But who knows! I will say this - my hardwood floor IS cold - that seemed to make matters worse. And bananas? Bananas BREAK ME OUT. I GET ACNE. So I stopped eating them a couple years ago. I used to love em! But next time this happens (rare for me, THANK GOD) - I'll absolutely be pinching my nose if I can remember! THANKS ALL!

Frances said...

OMG like you all I suffer terrible toe cramps and recently my fingers and feet have started to cramp, I have to say this is really starting to affect me I just constantly seem to think about my toes cramping ‘I think that is down to the fact that it is the most excrutiating pain I have ever experienced besides child birth hah’ but honestly it’s the first thing I think about upon waking and the last thing I seem to think about every night, I went to see my doctor who has sent me for blood tests to check my clacium and potessium etc I asked her about Quinine she said she is a beliver in them but that they are more for leg cramps, so I guess I will just have to invest in some sensible shoes not high street and wait on the bloods to come back. Whenever I get a leg cramp I find kicking out my leg really quickly a couple of times shifts the cramp straight away, no harm giving it a try, I will try the nose pinching and tonic water also!! Thanks for the tips…. Also glad I am not alone………

Slightly Innocent... said...

Last night in the middle of my pilates class, I was overcome by the most excruciating pain ever... my 2nd toe started "seizuring" and I knew immediately that I had a cramp setting in. I missed about 5-10 minutes of the class since I had to wait it out, which was a bummer. After class, I asked my instructor what I should do in order to prevent the cramps from happening again. She said to make sure I drink water before class, and that potassium helps as well. I hope it works because maaaan does the pain become unbearable!!

kelsey said...

Im 20 years old and Ive been getting these horrible toe cramps for the past few months. They happen in both feet (at different times) and the make my 2nd toe stick to my big toe. I just had one that lasted about 10 minutes, I was crying and I couldn't move my foot. I got up to walk around and it was ok, but as soon as I sat back down it started up again. I searched for Charlie horse toe cramps and this came up. Im glad I found out it could be Potassium...I can't remember the last time I had a banana.

Most of the time the cramps only last about a minute, and don't hurt too bad...I'll move my foot around a little and they'll go away. I wear flip flops/sandals every day, I have a job where I stand up all shift long. I figured that could have something to do with it, but Ive had many jobs like this since I was 16 and they just started recently.

I didn't know this was so popular...Like Frances said, Im glad Im not alone. Im going to see if a doctor can help me out, I eat a good amount of fruit...but not that many veggies. I stopped taking daily vitamins when I was in middle school. Maybe I just need more vitamins and minerals?

I just want the pain to stop! :(

angela said...

it's dehydration...period.
I'm a martial arts instructor and I've experienced it in mild forms such as toe cramps, and in severe-, such as quads and hamstring. I've seen it in many students as well. Dehydration=cramps. at least 8glasses of water a day. If you take diuretics such as blood pressure meds or consume lots of caffeine, you are dehydrating your body even more. FYI drinking water right before your exercise isn't enough, you have to hydrate up to eight hours before.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if it has to do with circulation because I just realized I have been wearing a different pair of sneakers for about a month now and my night time toe cramping seems to have started about them. I drink plenty of water and eat bananas now and then, maybe not quite enough. I have a job that keeps me walking throughout the day, so light exercise. I also just changed a medicine I usually take. Too many factors. I just concentrate on relaxing and usually the excruciating cramp dissipates within seconds.

Anonymous said...

My daughter was playing the piano when she had an attack. As I was on the computer in the same room we googled and found out about charley horse then was glad to find your site. I've suffered from toe cramps on and off, usually more during winter, and often in the middle of Taiji or even when putting on boots or even tiptoeing. It's possibly dehydration/potassium deficiency. I have recently started and stopped daily multi vitamins but will go back on and see if the cramps go away. While googling, my daughter had another attack. She'll going to take babysteps if it comes back. Thanks!

Chris said...

Thanks for the tips re pressing the nose and quinine. When I get the cramps what helps is a microwave heat pack. The heat seems to relax the muscles, however the heat pack takes a couple minutes to heat up. Another option if heat works for you is to put your feet in the bathtub and run very warm water over them. Keep those tips coming - I hope everyone finds something that helps a bit.

Anonymous said...

The only thing that works for me is heat. I usually get toe cramps in my sleep, lately it is every night. I microwave a heating pad and go back to bed with it over my feet. About 5 minutes later it is gone, hopefully for the night. When necessary you will find me stripping off shoes and socks and sticking my foot in the nearest sink of hot water. I wish I could solve this problem before it happens. It is much worse than foot/leg cramps from a cold swim!

Anonymous said...

Love this! Thought I was having some kind of hideous neurological event! Uncomfortable boots today and lots of standing up. do take statins. Drink coffee.
Smoke Soooo......pinching my nose, having a potassium drink, and realizing I'm not dying, has all helped. Next, to the store for tonic water. And of course stop cofee boots and smokes ASAP.

Thanks to all who discussed.

Denise said...

Same thing! I just searched on it too, and here you are!
My toe on my left foot right next to my big one cramped up for an hour. Then my middle three toes on my right foot cramped up. IT is so annoying. It usually happens for only a few minutes, but over an hour! I had to do a search. I am not alone!!! :O)

Anonymous said...

Okay, Okay. I can't help but add my comments to the string. ME TOO!!!!!! Just yesterday I was swimming in the open ocean and all of my toes cramped up and I couldn't do anything but desperately start swimming to shore. I sat on the beach and tried to work out the cramps so I could go back in the water. After several minutes, my toes relaxed. I went back in. Got the deep end, and whamo!!! cramps came back. I thought I was going to be stuck out there because I was so cramped up I couldn't even think about swimming back in. Add my story to the rest of the hilarious situations. I, too, was laughing as this was happening -- it was so absurd.

Alaine said...

UGH! I can feel your pain. I am 35 and have been getting these ever since I was little, more so as I've been getting older, but for the past few months it has been terrible. I went to a special shoe store, and to my surprise, a contributor to my cramping was not replacing my work out shoes often enough. I do aerobics 4-5 days a week, and I have had my shoes for about 9 months. Most shoes start to lose their shock absorbency in 4-6 months depending on the shoe quality and frequency of workouts. I am wearing my new shoes and already I feel much better.
I also started drinking Tonic water. Will let you know if that works too.
:-)

Anonymous said...

I hopped out of bed to go get a drink of water and after having cramp in one toe earlier, now had very bad cramp in both feet. So bad I thought to google 'cramping in both feet and I found this site. I will definitely try Tonic water with quinine and some bananas, and I'll pinch my nose if it works. The only thing I ate today that I don't normally eat much of was 'dark chocolate 75% cocoa'. I read it was good for lots of things but maybe not when it comes to toe cramp if high in caffiene it could have caused dehydration. Thanks to all for helping me also to know I wasn't suffering alone.

Alaine said...

My left toe cramped twice in one night last week, it was sore for a few days, now both of my feet hurt. I am female and I find that this happens mostly before I get my period.. In any case, I am going to the doctor next week, I will let you and everyone else on here know what he says. I am sorry you had to go through that last night. It seems so trivial but they really are horrible. I hope we can all be toe cramp free one day soon!!!

Anonymous said...

This is a sign of Magnesium deficiency, to be supplemented with Zinc to ensure absorption. There are different grades of magnesium supplements. The only one I find really gets absorbed is Ultimag. When you are magnesium deficient it can manifest in feeling cold when others aren't really cold yet. You'll know if you've got the correct Magnesium supplement for you when you start feeling warm after an hours of taking it. Calcium does come into it- it leeches magnesium. (Did you know that milk leeches calcium, and that tannin in tea after a meal prevents absorption of iron?)

Toe cramping can be a sign of osteoporosis, but that is usually in those over 40 and its not only one toe cramping. If the diagnosis is osteoporosis, calcium & zinc are some of the supplements supplied.

Anonymous said...

I'm not alone! I'm 33 and occassionally get toe cramps after I first lay down in bed. It's awful I have to get up and put pressure on my toes or have my husband put pressure on them. It's an awful pain. Also, very weird I sometimes get cramps when I am trying on shoes or clothes...from my research tonight I will try more potassium and more H20.

Jennifer R said...

Thank god I am not alone! My family thinks I am a weirdo when I try to describe the pain. I usually eat bananas regularly, but lately have been sick and have taken lots of cold medicine, which really dries me up. I am a coffee drinker, but only 1-2 cups per day and those cups are 1/2 reg and 1/2 decaf. I plan to buy quinine, tonic water, and bananas tomorrow. I am skeptical about pinching my nose but heck if there is a chance in hell it will work then I will try it. I am glad I found this site.

glenna said...

I get toe cramps all the time, but if i can stand on my foot before it gets too intense it will usually go away, i need more potassium i wear comfotable shoes once in awhile i wear flipflops. I too cry and laugh at the smae time

Cindy said...

I have been experiencing toe cramps for a few months now. On New Years Day I had the absolute worse charley horse I had ever had and was so sore for about 3 days after. Now I have started having bad pain when I stretch in my back and sides...when my muscles start relaxing. I have taken something from the health food store called Leg Cramps w/quinie. At first I thought it was a miracle...but after taking it a few times, it doesn't seem to work anymore. I have started drinking more water and had my first banana in a long time this evening. I will see how that goes but it not...I'll have to seek other remedies.

Anonymous said...

Fabulous, thank you all very much! I've been getting them after sports or driving (nasty if your handbrake doesn't work and you have a twin cab Hilux!!). I'm now sitting at my computer pinching my nose, eating a banana and drinking tonic water to help with dehydration and also as it contains quinine, which, since I live in Malawi, is very handy for Malaria also :o)

Anonymous said...

Wow! Lots of others with the same problem. lol Have to admit, I only read half-way down the page and it started to get long.

I've been getting these crazy, stop you in mid stride toe cramps on and off for years. Like many others reported, that it was prone to happen in clusters and then go away for a while.

I've been taking a multi-vitamin for the past few months and don't believe in my case that it is the potassium. However, this most recent time I was severely dehydrated after an all day and all night coffee binge. Yes. Coffee. I have to stay away from it or I start drinking it like an alcky. Geesh.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to everyone for all the advice!...But still something is missing. Does anyone know if there is a name for this condition? Or shall it simply be forever referred to as "Toe-Cramping"?

Anonymous said...

I have been experiencing toe cramps here and there. (I didn't know it was common before I run into this site. I thought I have mis-aligned toes or something.) One time it got so bad during half way of my 5 mile jog, that I have to take my shoes off and stretch my toes....thinking that should release the cramp. That didn't work since it cramped up after 30 seconds so I loosen my shoelaces. Still, it kept on coming back, I had to literally limp all the way back home. Also, I notice I get them when I extend my feet during some pilates move. When the pain gets bad, I usually have to hop on my good foot. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

i need help as i always get cramp in my toes whilr swimming and i have just re-joined the club i used to swim for but am already having problems because for the cramp while training. what can i do???

Anonymous said...

Few hours ago, while out shopping, I had toe cramps in my right foot. It was so painful and I found a small chair in the store to sit down while I nursed my pain. It went away after a good 15-20 mins. But after 45 minutes, I had another toe cramp this time it's my left foot. I took potassium supplement before. Last time I had the cramps was in 2005. I'll consult the doctor but thanks to this site, I found some instant remedies like banana and nose pinching that I can try. Hope they'll work for me. I wear ballerinas all the time.

Anonymous said...

I'm so relieved that it is obviously a fairly "common" pain. I'm a healthy 25 y/o and, up until a couple months ago, have never had a toe cramp in my life. It seems that as soon as I had one they became easier to get and more frequent. Something as simple as getting dressed in the morning can cause my toes to go out of whack and lock up. I was cleaning today and as soon as I got one, I must have gotten 20 more in both feet thereafter! I can relate to the person who called it a "period" or "session" because they never seem to go away after you've gotten one. And the driving thing is very difficult and scary! I will definately try to banana idea. At this point I'm desperate.

Anonymous said...

I also just googled toe cramps because they kept me awake all night last night and just started up again! I have a healthy diet and am barefoot whenever I get them! I find as soon as they start to dangle my legs from the bed or couch helps stop them quicker. They are debilitating when they arrive.

Anonymous said...

Today I google “cold medicine” toe and I found this blog, I have this theory that my cramps happen after I take cold medicine. I have been experiencing toe cramps for the last two months. I read some of the things you said about the Potassium I believe that in some cases that might be the reason….not in my case.. I remembered that when I got the first toe cramp (in Feb.) I was taking a cold medicine, then three weeks ago I felt sick again so I took the same medicine and I got another cramp. I am still sick but now I know it is not a cold is allergies but yesterday I could not sleep so I took this cold medicine and again I experienced a cramp…..I hope this is it….. I turned 35 this month and I really want to believe that there is nothing wrong with me!!

Anonymous said...

I have the same problem that most of you guys have. I am 13 and eat very healthy foods, drink plenty of water, and exercise constantly. Today I was just playing tennis, and my second and third toes cramped up multiple times in a row. I find that standing on my toes for a while helps a little, but usually comes back. I have flat feet (very little arch in my foot), and am wondering if that has anything to do with it.

Anonymous said...

I have both toe and leg cramps at night and sometimes when I walk. My doctor has me doing gentle stretches before bed and he told me to keep some tonic water around. As strange as it sounds (and "they" have no idea of how or why it works), a swallow or two of tonic water will stop cramps cold. It works exceptionally well for leg cramps and it does work for toe cramps as well, but they are a little more stubborn. Sometimes they take a minute or so to subside.

I tried a swallow of tonic water every day, but it seemed to be making the problem worse, so I now just take it if I get a cramp.

As far as the cause, it is impossible to pin it down to a single cause for everyone. Cramps are a symptom, and they can be caused by numerous things, including medication, dehydration, and depletion of some nutrients.

Anonymous said...

I'm 33, the toe cramps started several years ago, the first time whilst swimming and I spent what felt like forever clinging on to the side of the pool in agony before the pain subsided and I could climb out. I had to give up swimming after a few more attempts because I would always get toe cramp. It is now more intermittent and happens in bed mostly but also public places and I break into a sweat, the pain is indescribeable and people who have never experienced it cannot imagine how painful a toe cramp can be. I too will eat bananas and take vitamin supplements mentioned. I can feel the onset of an attack as I write but the nose pinching seems to be keeping it at bay for now, so thanks for that tip also. Great to find this site and know I'm not the only one!

Anonymous said...

ahhh the same thing happened to me a few seconds ago, which is why i just googled this! haha! that never happened to me before, but i did just finish steching, and it is kinda late, so does that mean anything? i felt like my one toe was stuck under the other but when i looked it wasnt... i was on the floor with my sister laughing and crying/shrieking at the same time. it was quite humerous yet very painful at the same time...

Anonymous said...

I got a toe cramp Saturday while doing country line dancing with my dance class at a festival. I had to drop out immediately. Nobody believed me. They thought I was just chickening out of the dancing. I had been wearing shoes that were way too padded because the teacher had said we were going to be dancing on concrete. So that was at least part of it. But I also resonate with the person who said if you have a magnesium deficiency you are cold when others are not. So I'm going to try the magnesium supplement with zinc, hydrate more, and pinch my nose when it hurts!
--Line Dancer

Anonymous said...

I am thankful for these helpful tips. I have a few of my own. I have had to learn NOT TO PANIC (it will worsen) when toe cramps begin, but to quickly WALK IT OFF (stamp feet into floor as I try to do the following): drink WATER, add EMERGEN-C (has minerals which includes the calcium, potassium, magnesium), eat part of a BANANA, pop a VITAMIN PILL, and if LEG cramping is also involved, take an ASPERIN. I figure one of these items will help and so far, it has worked for me. iF it is not working WELL, it is usually because I have gotten COLD (feet on cold tile, covers off in winter, outside for prolonged period, etc), in which case putting foot quickly in HOT WATER helps alot. If it continues to threaten (return), I put on my COMFY TENNIS SHOES and have even WORN THEM TO BED to prevent more attacks during sleep. I wish there were a more definitive solution or label for this problem. It probably has something to do with caffeine, osteoporosis, and /or a general CHEMICAL IMBALANCE. I’m giving up coffee again—never made that connection til I read this log but it makes total sense. I hope someone creates a CURE-ALL before we all get too old and stuck in a bed at some retirement home where we can’t leap out of bed or quickly take the steps necessary to massage or WALK OFF the cramping til it subsides! I would hate to be stuck in an old person’s bed writhing in toe pain!!! This is the worst pain—no laughing here. I hate this problem and am amazed to find there are so many who endure it. Are we mostly women? I do know men get it becuase my father has mentioned it but it doesn't seem to bother him like it has my mother in the past (inherited tendency?) Do hormones play a part? It is worse after menopause and fancy shoes can trigger it, for sure, especially if one puts off exercise done in the past (old age).

Anonymous said...

Well its obvious we are not alone here. I just had a 5 minute spell that started with my right foot then moved to my left foot. This time though while trying to walk it out the cramp moved up my right leg and it hurt like hell. Most of the time my cramps come from wearing flip flops. Today I had my cudas on and they are have plenty of support so dang if I know what's really causing it. I have been eating bananas all this week so that's not going to help just make me fat. Thanks so much for sharing your stories I will definately take some of the advise with me.

aharris said...

Great comments! I have been suffering from toe cramps on and off my whole life (I'm 39). It's so sporadic, I've never actually spoken to my doctor about it. I figured it was just my own quirky thing. But after last night's bout I'm so sick of it, I decided to Google and see if other people had the same thing. (I didn't even know what to call it. I tried "toe curling" and you wouldn't BELIEVE what came up. Ha, ha) Glad to know I'm not alone. I eat bananas, I drink lots of milk. The only thing I will say is that dehydration may be a factor. My husband believes that Water is the cure-all for almost everything. Maybe my toe cramps are a reminder that I need to drink more!

Anonymous said...

Thank you I have read everyones comment, I didn't know toe cramps was so common & so many people suffer from just as I do. I was getting ready to go out, when suddenly my left toe started cramping I walked around the room to try to walk it out, then I remember an old remedy from my mother, try rubbing your calf of toe with wihite vinegar, its smelly but it does work. No sooner then I tried the vinegar on my left toes than my right ones started & I also rubbed the vinegar on it and the toes stop cramping. I just had to go online to see if other had the same problem.

Jill said...

It makes me feel so much better knowing there's so many of us toe-cramp sufferers - but wish there was a guarantee way to get rid of them. I have looked up information on this a lot in the past and never found anything worthwhile til I found this blog - thanks for posting about it!!!!

I drink at least 64 oz of water a day and have a fairly balanced diet. I have had toe/foot cramping for as long as I can remember, but it's been worse this past year. A doctor once told me to take an antacid (like Tums or Rolaids) as a preventative measure. I wasn't good about remembering to do that, so not sure if it would have helped or not.

Mine come at night, like many of you, and other random times. I can guarantee I will get one during my Tuesday night yoga class every week; but oddly enough, never get them on my Saturday morning class. I have wondered if it is becuase on Saturdays I haven't been in dress shoes (heels) all day, whereas Tuesdays I have been. Can't figure it out.

But the WORST is when I get one when driving. Trying to work out a foot cramp when on the road is real bi-otch!

Anonymous said...

I have just stumbled on this site and can't believe so many people experience toe cramps - I'm the only person I know who gets them. I'm 47 and have had them for as long as I can remember. I have stopped exercising because half way through a workout one of my toes will go. I asked my gym instructor, who looked at me as if I mad, blaming my shoes!!! I'm scared to go swimming in too deep water in case it happens. I have tried the bananas, drinking more water etc. but nothing seems to work. I'll certainly be pinching my nose next time. Wish I had a good tip for my fellow sufferers - at least most of us seem to be able to laugh through the tears!

Anonymous said...

I too have suffered since a child with toe cramps. Then I started with leg cramps, doc suggested tonic water, which I try to take daily. But by chance I found help at night using a barrel shaped cushion filled with polystyrene beads. I made a small one to take on holidays and my feet 'cuddle' it at night in bed. I had cramps in the instep of my foot too so this cushion helps tremendously. I find mine have been worse when there's cold/damp weather about.

Anonymous said...

I too have suffered from toe cramps sporadically for many years, usually when in bed or with my feet elevated and have found that drinking water and doing calf stretches helps.

Gayle said...

OMG- I have had toe cramps for at least eight years, I'm was so tired of explaining to doctors and all of them just telling me it was my shoes. I haven't had a banana in years, they make me gag, but now after realizing I'm not alone and I might get even the smallest relief maybe gagging isnt so bad, better than these ridiculous painful toe cramps. They always happen when Im finally relaxing at night, and then like someone has a voodoo doll on me or something my toes are deformed and I'm in misery. Last night was exceptionally bad, had two seperate sessions, one at 3:30 am. This morning not only are my toes sore but my calves too. Last night I was sure I had some deadly disease! I just want this to stop!!

Anonymous said...

How Bizarre, my second toe actually looked possessed!! Not to mention the strange sensation between pain and fear. It was almost as if my foot had a mind of its own, very weird. Anyway it only lasted a minute or two, but the strange spasm left my foot feeling tired, I did spend 3 hours at the beach today wearing flip flopsand I read in one of the posts that flip flops make your toes work out so maybe my little piggy was just rebelling a little bit. Anyway hope it doesn't come back!!!

Anonymous said...

Flat feet can't have anything to do with it, because I have a high arch, yet I still get awful toe cramps.

LC said...

good to know that i'm not the one with this weird toe cramp situation. :) i first experienced this during yoga class about three years ago. we were in the middle of the warrior pose and i suddenly had to sit down because toes on both feet were cramping. the yoga instructor actually went to me to ask what was the matter and i told him (while laughing) that my toes are cramping. he couldn't contain his laugh as well. last tuesday this happened again during tai chi class because i forgot to eat bananas that day. well today i've had my daily dose of bananas and am properly hydrated so hopefully no cramping during tai chi classes later. :)

Anonymous said...

I love the lead story. thanks for sharing it. I too am releaved this is not an old people thing I am just discovering. I have enough of those under my belt already (43 and counting). I just started having toe cramps a week ago. They are as bad as all that. I am usually a sensible shoes girl. Heals 2 or 3 times a year max. The new thing in my world is I am trying to break in a new pair of flat shoes. They were lose when I bought them... I think they are breaking me in instead. While I think dehydration is a contributing factor, the cruel shoes put me over the edge. Around the house I normally wear flip flops. I can't wear them now without my 2nd and 3rd toes painfully curling up. It is a show stopper to be sure. My dogs think I've go mad. So all day today I have been walking around barefoot, which I really don't like doing (2 dogs, hair and dirt on the floor no matter how often I vacumm, ugh.), but it feels SO good for my tortured feet. No cramps at all when barefoot. Bliss. I am going to take the cruel shoes in to have them stretched and carry a spare pair with me next time I wear them. With hydration and comfy footwear I hope to not have to pinch my nose. P.S. I also have experienced foot and leg cramps during Pilates over the years. Maybe that is a hydration/nutrition issue and along with the shoes created the perfect storm.

Anonymous said...

I have been having the same issue off and on for years. It used to be the calves and feet, most recently it is the toes...and OMG! They curl up, I have to jump out of bed and flatten my foot but they continue off and on for hours at a time. My GP suggested Evening Primrose Oil and I have also read the cramps can directly relate to hormonal changes (which makes perfect sense to me right now). Thanks to all for making me feel like I am not alone!

Anonymous said...

What a relief it was finding this site. I have been having toe cramps since I was 15 and they come suddenly and seem to stay for hours, though it is probably 5 to 10 minutes. I find myself tensing my lower limb when it happens which makes it worse. I thought I was the only person who experienced this as I haven't met anyone else who gets them. I would love a cure but an instant relief will be good too as I never know what to do when it happens. I find wearing very flat or very high shoes are worse, and try to wear mid heals as a result. I tried wearing tight socks and no socks but neither help. I have got to the point where I am sometimes scared to move my feet in case it happens again. I've purchased crampex which sometimes helps but it is not immediate. It does help to know that others get this too as at least I know I am not alone.

Anonymous said...

I hate when i get those i dont get them that often but when i do i just pull up what ever toe that is cramping and wait til it stops. i know it sounds crazy but it works lol its gonna feel like its pulling down but just gently pull it up and it'll pass and it wont hurt as much

Anonymous said...

Hahaha wish I could have finished reading the comments on this, they were too funny!! I too googled how to get rid of a toe cramp and came across this site. This was my first one and I'm laying in bed trying to fall asleep so getting up and walking around didn't sound like a good option just yet, And niether did finding a banana to eat. Thank goodness for the nose pintching comment! Instant relief after 10 minutes of relentless pain!

Thanks everyone!! Hope those toe cramps go away soon! ;)

Anonymous said...

Well done to you dear blogger !

I didn't have time to read the story because I was mid cramp when I googled.

But I allowed myself to get engrossed in the short comments (with an intense motivation). Before I knew it I realised that I was still reading...

and it struck me as hilariously funny how many comments I had read (and how many were left to go). I being helped by a whole crowd of fellow (enthusiastic) toe crampers. Kind of like running (hobbling) out into the street with a help help - I've got a toe cramp and suddenly finding yourself surrounded by a heavenly crowd.

How divine (and funny) are we !

And lo and behold - my cramp had gone.

Thank you to all.

Remedy to toe cramp - read this blog and just feeeeeeeeeeeeeel the relief!

Still giggling.

Anonymous said...

Like many others I found this blog after doing a google search for "why does my toe cramp". I had a horrible cramp last night out of the blue that took a good 15 minutes to go away. I tried walking, stretching, nothing worked. Finally I had a glass of tonic (which has quinine in it) and just held the toe in place so it couldn't re-cramp. After 10 minutes and feeling my toe struggle independently against me (oddest feeling!) it finally went away.
Still not sure why it happens, but glad to see I'm not alone!

Carolyne said...

Only 4 years later but i've finally found this site... first proper answers to the dreaded toe cramps! Mine started 4 years ago with a 24hour stint in both feet, agony and chinese torture at the same time!!! Since then had all the medical checks, and given totally clean bill of health. The toe possessed comment made me laugh cos i can feel mine about to cramp by their twitching and can visibly see them twitching too, a life of their own for sure. Anyway, am going to try the nose-pinching as nothing else has worked. V embarrassing when out with friends, we all have to wait until my toes stop moving, and it is extremely painful during which i find it impossible to laugh, especially as usually if one foot goes the other follows quickly effectively crippling me for that duration, sometimes 5mins, sometimes an hour... not much fun at all :(

Anonymous said...

I just have to add my story here too - swimming, yep. Yoga, yep. Pilates, yep. Bedtime, yep.

I will try all the theories one by one suggested here, heat pads, nose pinch, banana, tonic water and quinine if it gets to that and report back to actually let you know if it works?! (everyone says they'll do it and doesn't let us know - so it's either great or they've moved on)

And again - so hard to explain, so embarrassing and hard to digest when your toe is 'possessed'!!

Thanks for all the info

Anonymous said...

April 26th, 2012
Fantastic forum...!!!
Far, FAR better, more informative and useful, than all the medical sites put together!
Thank you so much to all contributors and fellow foot cramp sufferers.
Writing from Australia here...
Age 57. Been suffering serious foot cramps for about 10 years.
Previous contributing conditions for me include Ross River Fever, moderate arthritis in feet, mostly large toe joints (but NOT gout), and WAY too much coffee.
I (try to) spend a lot of time in the pool too. But, foot cramps can be a serious problem, particularly if the pool temp is under 26 degrees.
When it comes to swimming, I have found that I simply cannot go wrong with good, solid, extensive warm ups and stretches, because the feet are pointed downward (muscles contracted) in cold water for up to an hour.
Do your warm up leg and foot stretches, swimmers! Huge help.
Just back from buying Tonic Water. Can't believe I didn't think of it, as I used to drink it regularly to keep away relapses of "malarial-like" symptoms of Ross River - including CRAMPS, muscle spasms and headaches. Doh...!
Already take Mag-Phos. Will be right onto the De-Caf coffee, too.
Thanks again. Cheers all.