It’s not how most of us want to start our day: you step out of bed and immediately notice heel pain. Although it’s uncomfortable, it’s not necessarily a serious problem. But, you need to find out the cause of the pain so it can be treated properly.
Possible Cause: Plantar Fasciitis
By far, the most common cause of morning heel pain is plantar fasciitis. This happens when the ligament on the bottom of your foot gets overstretched and inflamed. You feel the pain in your heel, where the ligament stretches over the bone.
What To Do:
Invest in shoes with proper support to keep your arch from overstretching.
Avoid high heels and flip flops, which can make the problem worse.
If the pain persists beyond your first few steps in the morning, try icing the area several times a day.
Avoid high-impact activities such as running and jumping until it feels better.
Stretch your calves and bottoms of your feet every day.
If it doesn’t get better within a few days, see your podiatrist.
Possible Cause: Overuse Injury
Your heel takes a lot of abuse. It bears the brunt of force when you’re walking, running, and exercising. If you’re on your feet a lot during the day, or if you’re overweight, this can cause your heel to hurt from the continuous pressure and stress.
What To Do:
Apply ice the area to bring down inflammation.
Examine your shoes. Do they have proper cushioning in the heel area? If not, invest in a good pair that’s supportive and shock absorbing. Throw out old, worn out shoes.
If you’ve recently increased your activity or started a new sport, consider a lower impact activity such as swimming or biking until it feels better.
See your podiatrist if the pain persists for more than a few days.
Possible Cause: Achilles tendinitis
Your Achilles tendon is a strong ligament that connects your heel bone and calf muscle. You use it every time you run, walk, and jump. If you overuse it and place too much stress on it, your heels may hurt. In particular, you may notice the pain the next morning after doing a strenuous activity.
What To Do:
Avoid activities that irritate the tendon. This includes sports with stopping and starting such as soccer and basketball. Also avoid jumping and uphill running until the pain is gone.
Warm up before exercising. Stretch your calves once your muscles are warmed up and after exercising.
Apply ice several times a day until it feels better.
Don’t try an extreme or sudden exercise program. Exercise should be gradually increased to give your muscles time to adjust.
Possible Cause: Arthritis
Arthritis is irritation and inflammation of the joints. Although there is no joint in your heel, arthritis pain can spread to your heel from nearby joints. It is also very common to experience arthritis pain in the morning. If you notice joint pain, swelling, redness, and pain with motion, arthritis may be to blame.
What To Do:
See your doctor. There are different types of arthritis, and you’ll need a proper diagnosis from your physician to effectively treat the condition.
Switch to low-impact exercises that are easy on the joints.
Work toward a healthy weight if you are overweight.
Try ice or heat. Some people find that icing the affected joint provides relief, while others enjoy a warm bath, shower, or heating pad.
Invest in quality footwear, and see your podiatrist if foot pain persists.
Don’t let heel pain sideline you. Contact our office to find out how you can get relief!