How can one avoid cramps?

I started swimming again awhile ago and kept having tiny cramps which I was able to thwart. Until a major one stroke without warning and left me limping for hours and sore for days.

I thought this was lack of practice but it has been several weeks now and I still have threats of a cramp hitting the calf and the plant of the feet whenever I kick whilst doing freestyle or after pushing off the wall.

I keep wiggling and bending the toes upward but they just don’t go away.

Be born male?

Oh wait, wrong cramps.

I’ve heard that dehydration can contribute to muscle cramps running, and have vague memories about something called lactic acid building up in muscles. But here’s a link to a sports med doctor speaking on the topic.

Hmm…I was experiencing the same thing when I got back to swimming after doing some “dry work” in the gym for a few years. They have gone away but to be honest I didn’t do anything to stop them, other than keep going. I honestly don’t remember how long it took for them to go away but they did go away.

I know what you mean tho, they suuuuuuuuck. I sometimes tried to unlock my foot by going in the hot tub but I didn’t always have time and it didn’t work anyway.

In some cases they are caused by electrolyte or mineral imbalances. Insufficient potassium, sodium, and magnesium intake are common causes.

Most common in my experience is low potassium. Most people get plenty of sodium, but not enough potassium. Potassium is found in fresh fruits and vegetables, and most people don’t get enough of those. Bananas are a very good source and there’s also a lot in potatoes, but pretty much all fresh veges have a fair amount in them. And low sodium soups, because the sodium salt is mostly replaced by potassium salt.

I second the advise about potassium and hydration. I get cramps in my arms and hands sometimes when I’m working physically for long periods. If I’m hydrated they happen much less.
“Pro Tip” When (if) you visit fast food restaurants, grab some of the little packets of mustard. If a cramp hits, bite off the end of the mustard pack and squeeze the tube into your mouth and swallow. Cramp will disappear shortly.

Ha! I will definitely try this! Thanks.

Heck, if this works, I’ll eat a mustard sandwich every time just before going swimming. Or drink a glass of vinegar. That way it ticks the hydrated box as well.

Grab your upper lip between your thumb and finger, and pinch it as hard as you can while pulling firmly downward on it.

This works well for me. I understand it is because the upper lip is an acupuncture point for cramps, but I cannot vouch for that as a medical or physiologicfal explanation.

This is similar to the previous tip. I don’t remember where I read it but it has helped me when I sometimes get cramps in my calf or thigh: bite your bottom lip really hard. It will hurt but it should help loosen the cramp. At least it has seemed to help me.

Note that the OP is talking about foot cramps while swimming, which is a little different than dehydration Charlie horses. The cramps are more likely from his/her toes moving in a way they are not accustomed to (while kicking in the water) rather than lack of electrolytes.

Like I said in my response I used to get them but they went away after simply swimming more and getting my feet used to that action. I didn’t do anything to change my hydration.

By all means stay hydrated! But it seems that you will have to keep working at the movements to get your feet acclimated, and don’t let the cramping turn you off getting to the pool.