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Toes muscles lock up
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Toes muscles lock up

Hello Doctor Splichal,

I swim several times a week as my exercise regiment and almost every time, my toes muscles seem to lock up. It is extremely painful and takes a good several minutes till it passes. What is this symptom and is there anything I can do to prevent it from happening? Thanks for your help.


Hello and thank you for your question. Muscle cramps in the toes and feet can be very common. We get muscle cramps for different reasons including dehydration, muscle fatigue, electrolyte imbalance and cold. Since you are experiencing your toe cramps while swimming I would want to check your circulation to your toes as cold water causes constriction of the small blood vessels.

Do your feet and toes get cold easily when you are outside? If you notice that your fingers and toes get cold easily, it may be as simple as a circulation issue. What you can do to avoid the cramps in your toes is: 1. Ensure you are drinking enough water; 2. Increase your potassium intake (eat bananas); 3. Take frequent breaks during your swimming to limit your exposure to cold water. If the issue persists then I would see a Podiatrist and get a full evaluation of your circulation.

Good luck!

Dr. Emily Splichal
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