Toe cramps

Toe cramps

Fact Checked

Toe cramps occur if a muscle abruptly contracts and does not relaxes. Most individuals experience a few cramps every now and then. Since the toes are used daily, it is subjected to a certain workload. Nevertheless, some are susceptible to muscle cramps than others.

What are the usual causes?

  • Physical activity – overexertion and dehydration are the usual causes of toe cramps during exercise. If the dehydration arises, the level of electrolytes in the body drops which results to muscle cramping.
  • Age – as one gets older, there is loss of muscle mass. The remaining muscle must strain harder. During the early 40s, the muscles can end up easily stressed which leads to cramps if not regularly active.
  • Medical conditions – muscle cramps might be common among those diagnosed with health conditions such as liver disease or diabetes.
  • Certain drugs – some medications can contribute to muscle cramping such as diuretics, statins and nicotinic acid.
  • Mineral deficiency – low levels of potassium, sodium, calcium or magnesium in the body can result to cramps.

Management of toe cramps

Toe cramps
An ice pack can be used to provide relief to the pain. The affected toe can be gently massaged using the ice pack covered with a clean cloth or towel.

You can manage toe cramps effectively at home with several remedies. In case the cramping does not settle or becomes worse, consult a doctor.


Oftentimes, regular stretching and strengthening exercises can help avoid toe cramps. Several exercises can help keep the feet flexible.

Application of heat or ice

Use heat to allow tight muscles to relax. Simply apply a warm towel or heating pad on the toe. An alternative is to soak the foot in warm water.

An ice pack can be used to provide relief to the pain. Massage the toe gently using the ice pack with a clean cloth or towel.


If an individual does not gain the daily recommended levels of calcium, magnesium and potassium, certain foods can provide an additional boost such as yogurt, cheese, low-fat milk, spinach, broccoli, almonds and bananas.

Footwear changes

The type of footwear used can also cause toe cramps. Wearing high heels all day increases the risk for toe cramps. These shoes can crush the toes and place pressure on the ball of the foot.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on toe cramps is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to properly manage the condition, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Victoria, Surrey, Mississauga, Winnipeg, Red Deer, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.


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