Toe cramps often occur in athletes and women who wear high heeled shoes, though they can happen to anyone. They are very often caused by ill-fitting footwear, excessive use, or an improper walking gait that can put excess strain on the toes. It is not common for these cramps to be indicative of severe conditions, though it is possible. Treating a cramp in the toe starts with determining what is causing the cramp in the first place and working toward changing that cause. The immediate pain can often be alleviated by resting, massaging the affected toe, stretching, and promoting blood flow to the feet.
If you are wearing shoes when toe cramps occur, remove the shoes carefully, avoiding any excess bending of the toes that can cause undue pain. Remove socks as well, and if possible, elevate your feet. You can try gently massaging the affected toes to work out the cramp, or you may try simply wiggling the toes or bending them slowly. This will loosen the ligaments and muscles in the toes, and it will promote blood flow to the toes, which can in turn reduce pain and any swelling that may occur. If the cramping persists, you may try soaking your feet in warm water for several minutes to further relax the muscles and ligaments that may be causing the cramps.
Once the cramps have subsided, it is important to determine what caused them in the first place. The most common cause of toe cramps is improperly fitting footwear that puts a significant amount of pressure on the toes. High heeled shoes will allow toes to become jammed in the front of the shoe, leading to cramping. Athletes are likely to feel cramping in the toes if the shoes they are wearing are not adequately supportive, or if they do not fit properly. Shoes that are too tight or too loose can cause foot cramps in anyone, regardless of physical activity, and many people have found that flip flops or thongs can cause toe cramping as well.
Stretching regularly and exercising the muscles in the feet can help prevent future cramps. If a particular exercise leads to cramping, stop doing that exercise and consult a professional trainer or doctor. If the toe cramp pain becomes chronic or lasts for several weeks regardless of treatment methods, it may be a good idea to visit a doctor to make sure other, more severe conditions are not causing the pain.