Woman With Pain Radiating Off of Her HeelThere are many reasons why you may be experiencing heel pain in the morning. It could be due to a certain condition or an injury. No matter what the cause, it is important to have any foot pain evaluated and treated by an experienced Arizona podiatrist in order to avoid more serious complications.

Common Causes of Morning Heel Pain

Heel pain is a symptom that can be due to various causes, such as the following:

Plantar Fasciitis

One of the most common causes of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, which happens when the band of tissue connecting your heel to your toes becomes inflamed. This condition is often caused by overuse or a sudden increase in activity level.

Plantar fasciitis can cause an intense burning sensation and sharp pains in your heel that is worse when you get out of bed in the morning and take your first steps.

Achilles Tendinitis

Another cause of morning heel pain could be Achilles tendinitis. This condition occurs when the Achilles tendon, which connects your calf muscle to your heel bone, becomes inflamed from overuse or excessive strain. People with this condition typically experience stiffness and soreness in their heels, especially upon waking up in the morning.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is another possible cause of morning heel pain. When someone has rheumatoid arthritis, their immune system attacks their joints, including those located in the feet and ankles. The resulting inflammation leads to joint tenderness and swelling, which can cause intense pain first thing in the morning.

Stress Fracture

A stress fracture could also be responsible for early-morning aches and pains when walking on hard surfaces like concrete floors or tile floors at home. A stress fracture occurs when there is too much force on one part of the foot, which leads to tiny cracks forming on bones in that area.

These fractures often occur after engaging in repetitive activities such as running or walking long distances without adequate rest periods between activities. Stress fractures can cause persistent throbbing sensations at night or first thing in the morning before you start moving around too much.

Diagnosis and Treatment Options

Heel pain can keep you from doing the things you love most, but it does not have to. An experienced podiatrist can properly diagnose what is causing your discomfort and recommend the right type of treatment based on your specific needs. To diagnose the cause of heel pain, a podiatrist will examine your feet and, if necessary, order imaging tests such as an X-ray to confirm the diagnosis.

Once a diagnosis has been made, a treatment plan can be developed to address the cause of your heel pain and alleviate your discomfort as quickly as possible. Common treatments for heel pain include:

  • Rest and ice therapy
  • Stretching exercises
  • Physical therapy or massage
  • Custom orthotics
  • Medication to reduce pain and inflammation
  • MLS laser therapy

Your podiatrist will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that best fits your lifestyle and needs so that you can resume normal activities without worrying about further injury or discomfort from your heel pain. 

Tips for Preventing Morning Heel Pain

While it can be difficult to deal with morning heel pain on a daily basis, there are ways you can prevent it from occurring in the first place. Some tips to consider include the following:

  • Stretch before bed. Stretching before bed can help reduce inflammation and alleviate morning heel pain. Try rolling your feet over an exercise ball or stretching with a towel by sitting up in bed and placing one end of a towel around the arch of your affected foot while holding both ends with your hands. Pull gently until you feel the stretch in your arch, and hold for thirty seconds before switching sides. Doing this every night before bed can greatly reduce morning heel pain.
  • Wear supportive shoes. If you suffer from morning heel pain, wearing supportive shoes throughout the day is key to preventing further injury and alleviating discomfort. Look for shoes with good arch support, cushioning in the sole, and shock-absorbent soles. Walking barefoot should also be avoided if possible; instead, opt for supportive sandals or slippers indoors if needed. 
  • Take breaks during the day. Sitting or standing for long periods is one of the major causes of plantar fasciitis and morning heel pain, so it’s important to give your feet regular breaks throughout the day. Giving your feet a break will help keep circulation flowing in your feet while giving them some much-needed rest from being stuck in one position all day long.                                                                                  
Dr. Peyman A. Elison
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Founder and Managing Partner of Fixing Feet Institute

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