Toe Cramps In Swimming: What Can We Do?

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Toe Cramps in Swimming

Toe cramps are one of those annoying things that many people in the triathlon and swimming world have to deal with on occasion during their swim training.

I get them occasionally as well. There is a lot of debate as to the cause of toe cramps. Here are some ideas on how to prevent them from coming on, or at least minimize their occurrence:

1. Feet are too rigid. Many coaches will tell you to point your toes when you kick. This is good advice, but it needs further explanation. Your toes should be pointed, but this does not mean to make your feet rigid. This can cause cramps and a poor kick.

2. Dehydration. Sometimes cramps come on late in a workout because you are dehydrated. It’s easy to forget to drink water when you are surrounded by water! A little water or a diluted sports drink during your workout can go a long way.

3. Cold muscles. Most of the time when I’ve experienced toe cramps, it’s on a cold day in cold water. In this case, there’s not much you can do but wait out the cramp and stretch your toes.

4. Being out of shape. When you are coming back from a long layoff, you are susceptible to cramps. Just don’t do too much too soon!

5. Lack of ankle flexibility. Triathletes in particular have inflexible ankles due to all that running and cycling. Consistently sitting on your heels when you can will help loosen up your ankles, improve your kick, and decrease your amount of toe cramps.