Why do my heels hurt in the morning?
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Why are my heels more painful in the morning than the night before?
This is a question we receive quite frequently here in the clinic. Patients come in describing an ache or stabbing pain at the bottom of their foot near the heel that worsens within the first few steps after awakening.
A common cause of heel pain in the morning
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. This condition is characterized by inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is the ligament that runs along the bottom of the foot and attaches to the heel.
Those who suffer from plantar fasciitis may experience some/any of the following symptoms:
- Heel pain or aching at the arch of the foot
- Foot pain that is the worst in the morning or after a long period of rest
- Foot pain that subsides after a few minutes of activity
If you have any of the above symptoms, it would be best to book an appointment with a healthcare provider, such as a podiatrist, to confirm the diagnosis.
What are the risk factors for developing plantar fasciitis?
In most cases, plantar fasciitis usually progresses over time and without an obvious reason. However, there are some factors that can make one more prone to developing it.
- An increase in the frequency or intensity of an activity
- Repetitive high-impact exercises (e.g. running or sports)
- Standing or walking for a long time
- Feet that overpronate (e.g. flat feet)
- Tight leg muscles
- Wearing non-supportive footwear
The link between flat feet and plantar fasciitis
Flat feet are feet that have little to no arch when an individual is standing or walking. Those who have flat feet are more susceptible to overpronation, which is when the feet excessively roll inwards. In both cases, the arches collapse and the feet flatten, causing the plantar fascia to stretch. With repetitive movements and overuse, a large amount of stress is placed on the plantar fascia, resulting in inflammation and pain.
Why is the pain the worst in the morning?
Your ligaments are like elastic bands. After a long period of rest, they will shorten slightly and stiffen. In the morning, following hours of sleep, your first few steps will be the most painful because the ligament is not yet warmed up and is slightly shorter. As you move throughout the day, the ligament will loosen up and stretch back to its original state, thereby reducing pain.
How can I treat heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis?
Fortunately, there are several treatment options (some of which are home treatments) that can be employed to address plantar fasciitis. They can be used in conjunction with each other to help ease your symptoms. Remedies include:
- Wearing supportive well-fitting shoes
- Implement shock-absorbing orthotic insoles
- Calf stretching
- Ice painful areas and rest the feet
- Surgery for severe cases (but these are uncommon)
Have some more questions?
If you have any questions regarding plantar fasciitis, treatments, or overall foot health, please feel free to reach out to us at docpods.com/au. Our team is ready to connect and help.