Leg cramps from working in the shop

Created: January 25, 2012

Revised: October 22, 2023

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How to drastically reduce them or completely eliminate Leg Cramps

I have had leg and foot cramping on and off for many years ever since I was about 45 years old (I'm now 82 in 2021).
When they first started, I vaguely remember that a chiropractor charged me over $200 to step into a shallow box with foam in it to take an impression of my feet. From that impression, he had a pair of arch supports made to fit into one pair of my shoes. They wore out after a year or two and I threw them away. I don't remember that those inserts made much of a difference.
The leg cramps continued to get worse over the ensuing years, particularly brought on by lots of bending and by standing for many hours in a row while at work and while working in my home shop. But even without that stimulus, I'd get severe cramps in the middle of the night for no apparent reason.
Fast forward about 26 years to about 2010. I went to the chiropractor for a back adjustment from lifting too much. After the adjustment, the chiropractor told me that I had really flat feet and that I needed arch supports for several reasons.
I told him: "No thanks, I've been through the $200 custom arch supports before." He told me that I didn't have to pay a lot to find out if they'd help. He suggested that I try a pair of Walk-fit brand arch supports that cost under $20 at Target or online at their website, walkfitplatinum.com

Walk Fit Arch Supports to eliminate leg cramps

A walk-fit set consists of a pair of basic foot pads that extend from the heel forward to just before the ball of the foot. There is a hollowed out area directly under the arch area of each one. One of three (low, medium, high) arch support "plug-ins" snaps securely into this hollow and is easily replaceable.

I decided to try them. Within 2 weeks of installing them, 90% of my leg and foot cramps went away.
(This was early in 2012), I'd say that 99% of them are gone. The only time I ever have leg cramps (never foot cramps, anymore) is if I work or stand for many hours and even then, it only happens on rare occasions and they are never anywhere near the severity that they used to be.

Although they really did solve the problem, I had 2 problems with them:
1. I wear a thick sock and when I added the Walk-fits to my dress shoes, it made for a really tight fit.
2. I have 4 pairs of shoes that I wear a lot. One pair of black dress shoes and one pair that are brown. I also have 2 pairs of Merrel sort of off-road shoes; one for work inside the shop and one for outside work. Both of those Merrel's are easily roomy enough for the walk-fits.

With these two problems in mind, I realized I needed a way to:
1. make the walk-fits work comfortably in my dress shoes
2. get walk-fits for 4 pairs of shoes without buying 4 separate sets, if possible.

The neat thing about the walk-fits is that each pair comes with 3 different-height arch "plug-ins" that fit into the basic foot pad. You are supposed to use the lower one for a couple of weeks while you get used to them, then move to the medium for a few weeks and finally to the high plug-in.

So here's what I did to solve those two problems:
I bought a second walk-fit set. I put the two basic foot pad sets into the Merrell work shoes with the appropriate arch plug-in. That took care of the work shoes.

Note that with 2 walk-fit sets, you get a total of 12 arch plug-ins.
Only 2 of them, the "high" ones need to be used for each pair of shoes, (once you have worked your way up from low and medium) so I had 4 plug-ins left over from each set; 2 of the "low" and 2 of the medium".
Okay, I simply added 2 strips of 3M Scotch Mount tape to the bottoms of each of the medium plug-ins and adhered them to the floor of the dress shoes in the appropriate place.
Problems solved!
Since I didn't install the walk-fit basic foot pad in the dress shoes, I had plenty of room for my feet to be comfortable and still get the full benefit of the walk-fit arch supports. I didn't need the extra arch of the high plug-ins because, without the basic foot pads, the plug-in stands higher in the shoe.

I have no connection with the Walk Fit company. I suppose other arch support brands would work, but I don't know if you could beat the price of these. Or if you could fit those plug-ins as I did in my tighter shoes.

These arch supports have changed my life for the better. I have told everyone who will listen about them, epecially folks who are at middle age or beyond. You'd be surprised at the number of people who seek me out to tell me how well these arch supports have worked out for them. If you have leg or foot cramps, what have you got to loose by trying them?

Time goes on---(It's 2017 and I'm 78) and I am starting to get some nighttime leg cramps again, yes, even WITH the Walkfits:

But!! Good News!: Solved, again!!!, for the NEXT several years, I hope.
Over a month's time I worked out a short just-before bed exercise routine that has stopped the cramps dead in their tracks!

-Stand up straight.
Lift one leg and stretch it out in front of you at least at a 45 degree angle (more is better) and hold for one or two seconds.
Then pull that leg up under you like a bird might do when standing on one leg.
    (Pull it up as tight (bending at the knee) as you comfortably can.)
-Put that foot back on the floor and repeat with other leg.
Do that 6 times.

I do 5 sets of this every night just before hitting the sack.
By the way, I do have to hang onto something (door knob). Balance ain't that great- never was.
And, I still DO use the Walkfits, too.
It's now August of 2021 and this is still working VERY well for me.
---If this description doesn't make sense, let me know.