6 Things Runners Can Do to Prevent Foot and Leg Cramps

6 Things Runners Can Do to Prevent Foot and Leg Cramps

Foot and Leg cramps are painful muscle spasms that develop seemingly out of the blue. These muscle cramps not only interrupt your exercise, they can cause injury to the muscle fibers and lead to more serious issues down the road if they go unaddressed. From shallow breathing to dehydration, foot and leg cramps while running can be caused by a multitude of factors, however; they can be prevented.

Here are our top 6 tips for runners to prevent foot and leg cramps.

Top 6 Tips for Preventing Foot and Leg Cramps

  1. Stay Hydrated: When you don’t drink enough fluids your body systems start shutting down in various ways. When things aren’t circulating properly, your muscles start cramping up as a result.   Be sure to stay hydrated all day, wether you are thirsty or not.
  2. Wear Proper Running Shoes-  It’s very important to examine your running footwear each month. If your shoes are worn out, they can transmit the stress of your footstrikes in abnormal ways. Wearing high quality running shoes will majorly impact your running health and longevity. At Da Vinci Foot and Ankle we carry the entire line of Brooks Running Shoes and can properly fit you in-office for your perfect pair.
  3. Eat a Banana- Bananas are a great source of potassium, which helps to prevent muscle cramps. Furthermore, eating a banana 15 minutes before your run can help to prevent during and post-race foot and leg cramping.
  4. Stretch- Stretching improves circulation in the muscles and helps to break up adhesions within the muscle fibers. Simple stretches, such as toe-touches, are a a great way to loosen up tight calves and hamstrings. We recommend ankle circles as well as stair drops to allow for a deep Achilles stretch before each run.
  5. Buy a Pair of Quality Insoles- Our feet are designed to collapse to absorb the shock of activity. If our feet are excessively compensating for high or low arches, we can easily develop foot and leg cramps from overworking these muscles. The use of a high quality insole can provide enough arch support and motion control for you to avoid this strain on the foot. At Da Vinci Foot and Ankle we provide over-the-coutner orthotics or can have you fitted with custom ones by one of our Doctors. Read more about that here.

DIY Hydration and Electrolyte Drink

6. Replenish Sodium and Electrolytes- Foot and leg cramps can occur when the body sweats out too much sodium or experiences a loss of too many electrolytes. These electrolyte changes and the accompanying fluid shifts in the body can result in painful cramps quickly. We recommend you chuck the sugary gatorade and make your own incredibly replenishing electrolyte drink to sip on throughout your workout.

Da Vinci Foot and Ankle DIY Hydration Drink

20 Ounces of Water

Juice from 1/2 Lime

Juice from 1/2 Lemon

1/8 Teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt

1/4 Teaspoon Cream of Tarter (for potassium)

Of course as with any exercise we recommend a recovery walk after completion in order to slow down the muscle contractions. It will be easier to avoid foot and leg cramps this way. If cramps persist, please make an appointment at one of our Da Vinci Foot and Ankle Locations here.

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