The Cause of Toe Cramps in Yoga

Some yoga poses that stress the toes can cause toe cramps.
i Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

Toe cramps resulting from yoga are common among yoga enthusiasts. Even though the twists and turns that the body is subjected to during yoga exercises have significant health benefits, sometimes you might experience pain and discomfort. Toe cramps are caused by a combination of the different stresses applied to the joints, ligaments and muscles coupled with physiological conditions that lead to inflammation and cramping. Always seek medical attention if the pain persists.

Exercise Form and Positions

    Some of the exercises performed in yoga apply a lot of stress on the toes. Excessive stretching and pointing of the toes in the stretching motions may result in sharp pains and cramps. “Curling and scrunching the toes when standing, to maintain balance, may result in mild to severe toe cramps,” says a yoga instructor in the “Yoga Journal.” Instead, spread your toes out and rest them comfortably on the floor. Use a folded towel to cushion your toes from hard surfaces and invest in a comfortable yoga mat.

Excessive Fluid Loss

    The human body requires around two liters of water every day. This is because the body is continuously losing water through perspiration and urination. Although yoga may seem relaxed and only mildly tasking, it involves a lot of muscle groups that burn calories in the process. The body heat generated by the exercises results in a lot of perspiration. Low water levels in body fluids cause localized, chemical imbalances in the toes leading to inflammation and ultimately cramping. Ensure that you keep your body well hydrated to prevent this.

Calcium and Magnesium Levels in the Body

    Calcium and magnesium are mineral elements that are very important in creating strong bones and ligaments. Low levels of calcium resulting from dietary deficiency result in weak toe bones. Some physiological conditions could also inhibit the absorption of calcium and magnesium into body fluids. Vitamin D deficiency, hyperventilation, excessive vomiting and diarrhea are some of these conditions. Failure of the parathyroid gland to regulate the balance of calcium and magnesium in the body can also result in cramped toes.

Yoga Poses

    Certain yoga poses that involve pressing of the toes against the floor – such as the Cobra pose – are one of the main causes of toe cramps. During such moves, the toes support the body weight and this can result in discomfort and pain. You can avoid toe cramps by performing yoga poses – Downward-Facing dog, Child’s pose and Hero’s pose -- that help prevent cramping. Downward-Facing Dog pose can help to relieve toe cramps when they occur in the middle of an exercise.

the nest