Foot Cramps During Swimming

Triathlon EventI just started swimming for my first triathlon which is in June. I am getting severe toe cramps, only on my right foot and cramps on the arch of my right foot. I am a runner, long distance and never have had problems with cramps. I am well hydrated, I drink about 64-90 ounces of water a day. I have borderline high blood pressure (Not on medication) due to genetics. I have never been one to use a salt shaker and I stay away from salty and processed foods. What is causing the toe cramps? Why do I just get it from swimming and not running or biking? And how can I prevent it?

Diane from Georgia

Triathlon EventHi Diane,

Thank you for contacting!

Sorry to hear that the foot cramps are so bad! Hopefully the suggestions below will help with the issue.

First, drink more water during the day. Our bodies are over 80% water and our muscles use that water to stay loose and flexible, so hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

This also may be a matter of stretching. Start getting that calf muscle loosened, then move to the ankle and then your feet and toes. Warm, stretched muscles tend to respond better to swimming than those that have been cramped into high heels all day.

Also be aware of how tense your legs are when tou are swimming. If you are pointing your toes and flexing all of the muscles in your legs, you can get crazy cramps. When you are swimming, you should be relaxed, pointing your toes and using your butt and thigh muscles to kick. If you are exerting your calf muscles, that may be your problem and you may want to work on loosening up those babies..

On a personal note, I’ve been a swimmer for the majority of my life and never experienced toe/foot cramps until I took off some time and then re-entered the pool after a long break. I did find that if I resisted the temptation of pushing off of the wall in the pool, I was able to avert the cramps. Once my body got back into the swing of things, I could use the wall and have no problems with cramps.

I hope this answered your question.
Please feel free to email again with any further questions.

Be well,
Julie McGuire

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