It’s important to start the day off on the right foot, but what if your first step of the day includes heel pain? This issue is more common than you might think, but with a little proactive treatment, relief can be found. Today, we explain what’s likely going on if you’re dealing with heel pain in the morning, and how to treat the condition.
Heel Pain In The Morning
Heel pain in the morning can be caused by a number of different conditions, but the most common cause is plantar fasciitis. Heel bruises and calcaneal fractures could be underlying problems if you suffered an acute moment of injury, like you feel off a ladder or stepped hard on a pebble, but most people who have heel discomfort in the morning can’t cite a specific moment when pain started. They just woke up one morning, stepped out of bed, and noticed some heel pain.
Plantar fasciitis involves a problem with your plantar fascia, which is a strong, thick band of fibrous tissue that runs from your heel to the base of your toes. It helps to provide stability and flexibility to the midfoot while also providing critical support to your arch. Problems can develop if the plantar fascia becomes inflamed or irritated, which can result in microtears of the fascia fibers. This leads to pain, which is often centered in the heel.
Plantar fasiciitis can set in for a number of reasons, and they can occur in both the active and the sedentary. For example, some of the risk factors for developing plantar fasciitis are being overweight or being overly active. This is why we see the condition in older individuals whose arch may be under stress from weight gain to young athletes who are stressing the fibers during athletic activity. Young or old, active or sedentary, heel pain that is not caused by acute trauma can typically be traced back to plantar fasciitis.
Treating Morning Heel Pain
One of the reasons why the plantar fascia is painful with the first few steps in the morning is because these fibers are transitioning from hours of inactivity to an active, load-bearing state. So how can you limit heel pain in the morning and also work to prevent it long term?
To limit pain each day, do some foot and toe stretches first thing in the morning before you get out of bed. Crunch your toes then flex your feet, as this will help loosen up the fascia before it’s asked to shoulder your weight. Also, be sure to stretch your foot arch, as this too will help ease those muscles into activity for the day.
As for long term plans to curb plantar fasciitis, those begin by working with a foot specialist. They’ll take a look at your heel and the plantar fascia and determine what factors are likely contributing to the condition. Some people may be asked to cut back on activity, while others may be given an exercise plan. Most patients will be asked to do four things:
Targeted physical therapy
Maintain a healthy weight
Eat a healthy diet
Your doctor can provide you with a specific plan, but if you follow those four treatment techniques, odds are you’ll see a reduction in morning heel pain. For more information, reach out to Dr. Silverman’s office today.