How Can I Prevent Foot Cramps?

Medical Editor:

Ask the experts

I get agonizing cramps in my feet when I exercise. Are there any stretches or exercises that you would recommend for this problem?

Doctor’s response

Stretches and strengthening may or may not help and it depends on what the
cause of the cramping is. I recommend that you check with your doctor if the
exercises I suggest do not help and the problem persists.

Here are stretches for your calves and your feet. Hold each stretch until
your muscles feel looser and repeat two to three times with each leg. Do these every day.

Calf Stretch (gastrocnemius muscle)

  1. Lean against a wall with both
    hands, and keep your back straight.
  2. The leg that you want to stretch
    should be straight back with the heel flat on the floor.
  3. Bring the other
    leg forward with the knee bent.
  4. Move your hips toward the wall while
    keeping your rear foot flat on the floor.
  5. Put a folded towel under the
    ball of your foot (keeping heel down) to lift the foot and increase the

Calf Stretch (soleus muscle)

  1. Take the same starting position as the
    stretch above.
  2. Lean forward with your hips, but this time bend the knee of
    the rear leg. This will put the stretch lower in your calf (near the
    Achilles tendon) and will also stretch the muscles in the foot.
  3. Hold on
    to the back of a chair if you need balance.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/29/2017