Q. I sometimes suffer from foot cramps while
snowboarding. I feel like my feet are working too hard.
It is painful and annoying and it "cramps" my style.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
A. I used to suffer from those on a regular basis.
And I mean SUFFER! I've bitten through necklaces from the pain of
stretching these our after an intense modern dance class. Generally,
although not always, the cramp throughout the base of the foot is caused by
weak arches; when the muscles in the arch of the foot aren't conditioned
well enough to shift your balance properly - thus they overwork to maintain
balance and cramp. For someone who could break through toe shoes in under
3 weeks, being told I had weak arches did not impress me! I suffered
quietly for years and no one could understand how I could have such strong
feet on pointe but such pain in flat foot balances or long bare-foot floor
exercises until an instructor in university told me what she believed was
the problem (darn arches) and a solution: Toe Curls.
And, toe curls really helped - seriously, just curl your
toes in as tight as you can, then flex and spread them - aim for anywhere
between 50-100 reps a night. And you can do this just lying in bed (which
was usually where I was when I remembered I hadn't completed my daily dose
yet!). The cramps ease and disappear as the muscles strengthen. Granted,
in the beginning, there is a great deal of teeth-grinding accompanying these
reps but it works - and fairly quickly! If you want to condition your lower
legs at the same time (especially if you're prone to shin splints - the bane
of my existence), lie on your back with your feet in the air (comfortably,
with knees bent) and repeat the toe curls accompanied by ankle rotations or
a basic flex/point motion with the foot. Or alternate between the 2 until
you feel the "shin-burn".
Probably not new info for you but I wanted to pass on my
experience, just in case....
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