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Carpopedal Spasm

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.

Carpopedal spasms are severely painful cramps of the muscles in your hands and feet. Carpopedal spasms may be caused by low blood calcium levels or by an infection called tetanus. Tetanus develops when a cut or deep puncture wound gets infected by bacteria. It is important to follow prevention instructions, because conditions causing carpopedal spasms can become life-threatening. You may have seizures, your heart can stop beating, or you may stop breathing.


Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Prevent carpopedal spasms:

The following are ways to keep your calcium level from dropping too low and to protect yourself from tetanus:

  • Eat foods high in calcium, such as milk products, canned salmon, sardines, and leafy green vegetables. Your healthcare provider may have you take a supplement such as oral calcium or vitamin D.
  • Do not smoke. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoking can prevent calcium from staying in the body. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you need help quitting.
  • Do not have large amounts of alcohol and caffeine. Alcohol and caffeine stop calcium from being used by your body.
  • Ask about a tetanus vaccine. You may need the vaccine if you did not get it when you were a child. You can get a booster every 10 years after you get the vaccine.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have numbness in your hands or feet.
  • Your heart is not beating normally.
  • You have difficulty breathing.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.