Preventing Foot and Leg Cramps for Runners

With summer comes a slew of first time joggers and people expanding their fitness routines! One of the most common complaints that long distance runners have is their foot and leg cramps after a run. At McQuistan Chiropody, we see athletes regularly who are trying to find solutions to their foot and leg cramps.

There are a number of things that runners can do to prevent leg and foot cramps. With a little preparation, you can avoid these pesky pains and take your running to the next level.

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can cause concentration of the blood and increased lactic acid levels in muscles. When a person is sufficiently hydrated, circulation works more efficiently to lower the lactic acid levels in muscles. You don’t need to use fancy sports drinks either – eight to ten glasses of water will do! After strenuous exercise, like a long run, always make sure to drink plenty of water. You don’t have to feel thirsty to be dehydrated!


Stretching is key for improving circulation in the muscles and break up adhesions within muscle fibers. Stretches like toe touches, wall push-offs, and calf flexes can help to stretch these tight leg and foot muscles. Using a tennis ball to massage the bottom of your feet can also help before and after a long run to alleviate pain.

Wear Good Shoes

Wearing old or worn out shoes can transmit the stress of your foot hitting the ground in abnormal ways and force your muscles to overcompensate and work harder to alleviate strain. Wearing running shoes that are in good shape (no tears, no holes, no tilting) will reduce impact stress and muscle fatigue. Too much impact stress and overcompensation can lead to foot pain and joint pain all the way up to the hips, back, and neck.

Wear Insoles or Orthotics

High quality insoles or custom orthotics can be used when you need some extra arch support or motion control. When our feet pronate (collapse) excessively, it can cause foot muscles to work harder than they need to and cause foot and leg pain. A high quality insole can often provide enough arch support to prevent this muscle over-use. In some cases, custom orthotics may be required if an insole doesn’t provide the right type of support. A chiropodist can evaluate the type of accessory you need to prevent leg or foot cramps after a run!

Recovery Walks

Later in the day (or early the next day) after your run, go on a light walk for 20 minutes or so to encourage the movement of blood in worn-out muscles. A short walk, swimming, or a quick yoga routine are also suitable recovery methods after a long run. It’s important to encourage blood flow and help your body recover after a long run.

Visit a Chiropodist!

It’s always recommended that athletes and individuals who regularly exercise visit a chiropodist. A chiropodist can make recommendations for shoes depending on your exercise or sport of choice and help you find methods to recover more quickly. Avoiding injuries to the feet with proper form and equipment is key for a successful athlete!

Make an appointment with McQuistan Chiropody today to learn more about how they can help you manage foot concerns that arise from exercise. We are your Hamilton chiropodists!

Contact us today to book an appointment.