How to deal with cramps

Quite often in class people tell me that they have got cramp, usually in their feet or legs. It’s a common Pilates issue but one that can be avoided or worked on.

Cramps in your feet can be due to:

1. Dehydration. I find myself that if I have not drunk enough water before class I can get cramp. Make sure you stay well dehydrated and see if it makes a difference.

2. Your foot muscles are out of shape and are fatiguing. If you are not used to Pilates style exercises they can be hard work for your legs and feet. These exercises often work eccentrically, they focus on lengthening the muscles which cna lead to more cramping than concentric exercises that focus on shortening muscles.

3. Overly pointing and flexing the feet or pointing too much through your toes. When you point try not to fous on the toes but move through the ankle instead. Sound odd? Give it a go. Practise pointing and flexing in this way when sat at home.

4. Weak arches or fallen arches. Wearing high heels and standing for long periods of time can exacerbate this issue. Walking barefoot is great for strengthening your feet. Also you can do some simple foot strengthening exercises, these are described below.

Foot Strengthening Exercises:

Tennis Ball exercise: Stand with your foot over a tennis ball or spikey ball. Drape your toes over towards the floor and push your weight down through your foot. Repeat with the ball further back towards your heel.

Pilates with Priya: Foot on Spikey ball-1

Cherry Picking: Lie on your back in neutral with one leg up in the air, foot flexed towards the ceiling. Point the foot, now scrunch up the toes as if picking up a pen with them. Keep them scrunched for as long as possible whilst you draw the foot back to flexed. If you are pregnant try this one seated on the floor or on a chair/ball.

Pilates with Priya: Cherry Picking