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What Goes On When You Get a Cramp New thinking is that cramping is more of a neuromuscular problem than a fueling issue, explains Nelson, who co-wrote a review paper on the causes and management of muscle cramps in 2016. Your muscles have protective reflexes that balance their contraction and relaxation, she explains. When were in a fatigued state or when the muscles are overloaded or challenged in a new way, theres a mismatch in that messaging thats sent to the central nervous system. The end result is that the muscles are over-signaled, or they over-fire, she says. Which feels like a cramp to you. The details are still being worked out on exactly whats going on in the nerve fibers and why some peoples get excited and others dont. We tend to pigeonhole ourselves into thinking theres one specific cause, and we have to appreciate that its complicated, and the risk factors may even vary from person to person, she says. But docs suspect there are some common causes. Shiv Mer / EyeEm - Getty Images

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Toe Cramp Cause: The Wrong Shoes Wearing stiff shoes (or any type of heel, by the way) can shut down the activity of your deep foot muscles-the ones that should do the majority of the work in stabilizing your feet. When those muscles get the pink slip, your toes have to work too hard. Hard work equals fatigue which can equal cramps in people who are prone to them. getty images

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Toe Cramp Cause: A Tough New Workout When your muscles are overloaded or fatigued, you're more likely to get cramps. This can be overload from going out too fast in a workout or race, overtraining, or just doing a workout you're not used to. DaniloAndjus - Getty Images

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Toe Cramp Cause: Chronic Disease Higher rates of cramps are seen in people with chronic diseases where blood flow is impeded, such as cardiovascular disease. Taking medications for it also raises cramp risk, although the reasons why arent clear. outline205 - Getty Images

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Toe Cramp Treatment: Stretch! One thing we keep coming back to for resolving cramps is good old-fashioned stretching, says Nelson. Maybe even contract the opposing muscles, which will trigger a stretch reflex in the cramped-up ones. mihailomilovanovic - Getty Images

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Toe Cramp Treatment: Consider Pickle Juice The research keeps going back and forth on this, but its likely that drinking pickle juice works in some people and doesnt in others. People assume that it restores your electrolyte balance, Nelson says. But when relief comes from drinking the juice, it happens quickly-too quickly for the bloods electrolyte concentrations to have gone up. Theres more likely a component in pickle juice-likely acetic acid-that triggers a reflex via receptors in your mouth that inhibits the muscles from over-firing and calms things down. Sharon Pruitt / EyeEm - Getty Images

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Toe Cramp Treatment: Make it Hot Theres emerging research that when capsaicin-the stuff that puts the hot in hot peppers-hits certain receptors in the mouth and throat, it sort of jams the neuromuscular signals that were causing the cramp and makes it let go. skaman306 - Getty Images