What is a Toe Spasm?

A toe spasm is a condition where a person feels a jerking or cramping sensation in any of the toes of the foot. Contractions of the muscle are responsible for spasms in any part of the body. There are various factors, which promote the unwanted muscular activity, such as nerve damage, poor circulation, and deficiencies in the nutrients of the body. When a part of the body, commonly a muscle, moves suddenly and without the person's conscious control, it results in a spasm. This sudden contraction can be accompanied by painful cramps because the twitches negatively impact the surrounding soft tissue and the nerves. Spasms usually last for a short period of time, in some cases, as little as a few seconds. Spasms often come and go.

What is a Toe Spasm

A toe spasm specifically can occur alone or can be a part of a larger set of muscular contractions of the foot. Along with the contractions and the pain, a person can also experience toe lock and abnormal stretching of the toes. Toe spasm commonly affects the big toe; although any toe of the foot can have a spasm. In many cases, the spasms are only a part of the normal muscular movements, however, if the toe spasm persists, then it can indicate an underlying medical problem.

Causes of Toe Spasm

  • Toe spasm caused due to poor blood circulation: One of the most common causes of toe spasm is hindered blood circulation. Poor circulation commonly causes contractions, specifically in the toe region. The poor circulation can occur due to wearing tight-fitting shoes or sitting in an uncomfortable position for prolonged periods of time. Treatment is simple and comprises of walking and doing other foot movements, which get the blood circulation going. One should also wear proper fitting shoes to avoid such problems.
  • Toe spasm caused due to stretching of the muscle: Toe spasm can also occur as a result of irregular stretching of the muscles, such as any physical exercise which stretches the muscles beyond their capacity, especially any type of repetitive foot movements, such as seen in ballet dancing.
  • Toe spasm caused due to joint problems: Inflammation of the joints of the muscle and bones and other related problems can also cause toe spasms.
  • Toe spasm caused due to muscle irritation: Inflammation and irritation of the muscles in conditions, such as plantar fasciitis can also cause toe spasms.
  • Toe Spasm Caused due to Nutritional Deficits: Nutritional deficits in the body can also cause spasms and cramping in different regions of the body, including the toes. Deficiency of minerals in the body creates chemical imbalances, which affects the function of the muscles and the skeletal system and other functions of the body. Lack of magnesium and calcium can particularly cause spasm where the former affects the right foot and the latter affects the left foot. Toes spasm can be relieved by taking supplements which contain these minerals. Dehydration and Vitamin D deficiency can also change the body's chemical balance and cause pain and spasms.
  • Toe spasm caused due to Nerve Damage: Some medical conditions, such as diabetes cause damage to the nerves in the foot region. Nerve damage commonly occurs in the peripheral regions, as blood and the nervous system impulses have to travel far in order to reach these areas of the body. Nerve entrapment or pinched nerve can also cause toe spasm. Any type of nerve damage causes problem in the signals, which are transmitted to the muscles of the foot, causing abnormal movements, such as a spasm. Nerve-related spasms are accompanied by other symptoms, such as tingling, numbness, non-healing blisters and skin discoloration.

Treatment for Toe Spasm

Treatment for toe spasm depends on the cause. Treating the underlying cause relieves the toe spasm. Other measures can be undertaken for relieving toe spasm, such as toe exercises, foot massage and supplements such as lactic acid and vitamin C.

Home Remedies for Toe Spasm

  • Heat application helps in relaxing the tight muscles. Applying a heating pad or a warm towel to the cramped toe helps in relieving the toe spasm. Soaking the affected foot in the warm water also is an effective home remedy to relieve the toe spasm.
  • Cold/ Ice application is also an effective home remedy which helps in alleviating pain associated with toe spasm. Massaging the affected toe using ice wrapped in a towel or a cold pack helps in alleviating pain from the toe spasm.
  • Increasing the electrolyte intake helps in relieving, as well as preventing spasm.
  • Healthy diet comprising of plenty of calcium, magnesium and potassium helps in preventing and relieving spasms. Bananas are high in potassium and are highly beneficial when consumed before a workout. Low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese are good sources of calcium. Spinach and broccoli are in potassium as well as magnesium. Almonds are high in magnesium.
  • Change the type of shoes you wear if you are getting recurrent toe spasms. If you are spending the whole day wearing high heels, then you are at an increased risk for toe spasm, as high-heeled shoes put pressure on the toes and the ball of the foot. Change to shoes, which have a wider toe box.

Exercises to Relieve Toe Spasm

Toe Raise Exercise for Toe Spasm

  • Lift your heel off the ground till the ball of your foot and toes are touching the floor.
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds.
  • Lower down.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Toe Flex Exercise for Toe Spasm

  • Flex your foot till the big toe looks as if it is pointing in one direction.
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds, then relax.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Toe Curl Exercise for Toe Spasm

  • Bend all the toes of your foot as if you are trying to tuck them under your foot.
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 10 times.
  • This exercise can also be done by putting a towel on the ground and trying to grab it using only your toes.
  • Sand Walking: Walking barefoot in the sand helps in strengthening and massaging the muscles of the feet and toes.
  • Marble Pick Up: Put 10 marbles on the floor and try to pick one at a time and put them in the bowl using only your toes.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Last Modified On: July 27, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

Symptom Checker

Slideshow:  Home Remedies, Exercises, Diet and Nutrition

Chakra's and Aura's

Yoga Information Center

Find Pain Physician

Subscribe to ePainAssist Newsletters

By clicking Submit, I agree to the ePainAssist Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of ePainAssist subscriptions at any time.

Copyright © 2016 ePainAssist, All rights reserved.

DMCA.com Protection Status