Have you ever gotten out of bed in the morning and felt your heel hurt? Learn the causes of heel pain so you can treat it. If you’ve ever gotten out of bed in the morning and felt a stabbing pain near your heel as you’re heading toward the bathroom, you’re not alone. Annually, more than two million people are impacted by plantar fasciitis — one of the most common culprits of heel pain in the morning. Stress fractures, hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and Achilles tendinitis may also be responsible for heel pain in the morning.
Why Is Heel Pain Commonly Felt In The Morning?Plantar Fasciitis When your plantar fascia, a ligament-like band of connective tissue that’s found at the bottom of each foot, is inflamed or swollen, you may feel sharp pain toward your heel either after you’ve been sitting for an extended period or as you take your first steps in the morning. The plantar fascia shortens while it’s at rest, so walking after being at rest for several hours stretches the plantar fascia, causing sudden — and sometimes painful — tension. If you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disease that can result in joint pain and damage, you’ll be at increased risk of plantar fasciitis. Standing for long periods of time and being overweight can also raise your risk for this condition, as your plantar fascia will experience extra stress, leading to pain and inflammation. Similarly, certain high-impact activities like running or jumping can place that additional stress on your plantar fascia. Achilles Tendinitis Achilles tendinitis, or the inflammation of your Achilles tendon, is another potential culprit of heel pain in the morning. If you’re suffering from Achilles tendinitis, you’ll likely experience swelling in your heel and feel pain throughout the day. However, the pain will be worse in the morning because your feet have limited circulation when you’re at rest. Hypothyroidism If your thyroid gland isn’t producing enough thyroid hormone, you may experience memory problems, muscle weakness, elevated cholesterol, fatigue, constipation, hair loss, carpal tunnel syndrome, and unexplained weight gain. If your ankles, feet, and heels swell in response to the disruption of your body’s hormones, you might also experience heel pain in the morning. Stress Fracture Another potential cause of heel pain in the morning is stress fractures, also known as tiny cracks in the bone. Stress fractures are caused by overuse and can become displaced if left untreated.
Prevention TipsThe good news is that there are several ways to prevent heel pain in the morning, ranging from free home remedies to more complex, expensive solutions. Since one of the main culprits of heel pain in the morning is improper footwear, it’s important to change your running shoes out after every 500 miles or so. If you spend a large part of your day standing, investing in high-quality footwear can be a lifesaver. Supportive insoles can also help! If you frequently perform high-impact exercises like running or jumping, try alternating with non-impact or low-impact exercises. Swimming, biking, and even walking will place less stress on the plantar fascia, allowing it to repair itself. Performing calf and plantar fascia stretches can also help prevent pain. After a period of rest and before standing, stretching out the plantar fascia will reduce the likelihood of that sudden and painful tension. Doctors often recommend night splints because they help the plantar fascia stay elongated throughout the night. As a result, it’s prepared for when you take your first steps in the morning. If necessary, your doctor may also recommend corticosteroid injections, as cortisone — a type of steroid — can lower inflammation and reduce heel pain.
When To Seek Help From A ProfessionalUnfortunately, following all the prevention tips and home remedies doesn’t guarantee that your heel pain will go away. If your heel pain is still interfering with your daily life after a few weeks of using home remedies, it may be time to see a medical professional. A professional may suggest physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, or surgery. With locations in Seal Beach and Los Alamitos, the Alamitos-Seal Beach Podiatry Group’s medical professionals will be happy to meet with you to discuss your heel pain and potential solutions. Schedule a consultation with us today!
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