Foot Pain in the Morning is it Plantar Fasciitis?
Have you ever suffered from persistent foot pain in the morning that seems to work itself out once you become active? Many people have this common complaint where their first few steps after getting out of bed cause them pain.
It’s good to have an idea of what conditions cause morning foot pain and as you check around, you will find one common thread. It’s that plantar fasciitis tends to be the culprit named by medical professionals as causing foot pain in the morning.
Since plantar fasciitis gets fingered as the usual bad guy, it’s wise to give it a closer look.
Foot Pain in the Morning.. What are Some Possible Causes?
“After sleeping, the muscles of your foot and calf naturally tighten up, which can cause discomfort in the morning.” That simple fact is highlighted by Hannah Mich, M.Ed. (Applied Kinesiology) in an article she wrote for livestrong.com.
In it she cites plantar fasciitis, a stress fracture and arthritis as other possible causes of morning foot pain. Of these, she singles out plantar fasciitis pain as being referred to by an article in the Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare as “first-step pain."
According to Ms Mich, “Your age, flat feet and wearing shoes with inadequate arch support can increase your risk of plantar fasciitis.” She also informs readers that sole and heel pain are the symptoms most often seen with the condition.
Catherine Moyer, Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) outlines several other disorders that cause foot pain and the general symptoms experienced with each. Her article on verywell.com looks at seven conditions. Among these it explains that
- pinched or irritated nerves are often indicated by a “shooting or burning pain” radiating from the inside of your ankle to the arch and sole of the foot
- osteoarthritis often causes “pain and lack of mobility” at your ankle joint
- ball of the foot pain might derive from “faulty foot functioning, overuse, or a decreased fat pad on the sole of the foot”
- in the case of tendonitis, most persons find that the tendon involved “is usually painful to the touch”
When the person experiencing the discomfort is a child, she says “heel pain can be caused bystrain on the heel bone's growth plate.”
Out of all the conditions she looks at, Dr Moyer selects plantar fasciitis as “the most common cause” of heel pain.
Matthew Neuhaus, DPM uses a short and informative video to provide viewers with some very clear and helpful insights into the causes of morning foot pain. In it, he too highlights plantar fasciitis as the most likely reason behind morning foot pain.
What do You Need to Know about Plantar Fasciitis?
As pointed out by Johns Hopkins Medicine, “The foot is 1 of the most complex parts of the body” and as such is “susceptible to many stresses.” Much of that stress is borne by your plantar fascia.
The plantar fascia is a strip of tough connective tissue that starts at your heel, spans the sole of your foot and then branches out to the underside of each of your toes. The plantar fascia acts as a shock absorber and it can to become inflamed if damaged.
John Hopkins Medicine reveals that those most at risk for developing plantar fasciitis are
- people who are overweight
- people whose jobs require them to spend most of their day standing or walking on hard surfaces
- persons who are flat-footed or who have high arches in their feet
Also frequently affected are runners, persons who wear worn or ill-fitted shoes and those with tight Achilles tendons or tight muscles in their calves.
Regardless of why you have it, if the symptoms of plantar fasciitis persist but you ignore them, you could be setting yourself up for big trouble. That is because plantar fasciitis is a progressive condition that worsens over time if not attended to.
Let’s Take a Look at Some Ways to Manage Plantar Fasciitis
Normally, the condition does not need surgery or medication and can be successfully managed with exercises, stretches and self myofascial release or self-massage.
Prevention.com recommends gentle stretches before getting out of bed as these “loosen up tight muscles and improve blood flow”. As a result, you will be preparing your feet for weight bearing once you stand up.
Throughout the day there are a host of exercises you can try to stretch the plantar fascia and to keep it loose. These generally require no specialized pieces of equipment making plantar fasciitis relatively inexpensive to manage.
For self-massages, you can use just your fingers, a golf or tennis ball, or a foam roller to help you kneed the ligaments in the sole of your feet. Of course, if you have doubts as to whether you are doing it correctly, you should consult with a trained professional.
Another way to manage your plantar fasciitis and reduce the occurrence of morning foot pain is selecting the correct type of shoes to wear throughout the day. You’ll need a pair with sufficient cushioning to lessen the impact your soles experience as you step.
The shoes you select should..
- provide ample support for the heel and arch of your foot
- have firm heel counters (the inside back section of the shoe)
- ideally have a closed heel
- fit you with enough room to spare in the toe box (the inside front section of the shoe)
- exhibit minimal midsole bending – they should only bend at the toe box
Shoes for plantar fasciitis are also lightweight but sturdy. They are able to keep your feet stable and keep them properly aligned with the rest of your body as you walk.
Along with all of these criteria, the shoes you settle on should feel comfortable on your feet straightaway. Do not buy a pair of shoes thinking they are “almost okay” and just need you towear them a while to “break them in”.
The best shoes for your plantar fasciitis may not necessarily be fashionable, but they will provide the morning and all-day relief you are in search of.
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