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McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group
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Why Your Heels Hurt Worst in the Morning

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Is the first step out of bed always the hardest one of the day for you?

Morning Heel Pain

To be clear, we’re not talking about run-of-the-mill lazybones behavior here! Given the choice, a lot of us would probably perpetually spend a few extra minutes in our warm, cozy beds before starting the day. We’re talking about pain—stabbing, aching, overwhelming pain that radiates throughout your leg and makes those first few steps truly miserable.

A few minutes later, that stabbing pain has mostly gone away, perhaps replaced by only a dull ache. But you know full well it will be back tomorrow first thing, and the cycle will begin again.

It seems backwards. Why would your heels hurt in the morning after a long rest? Isn’t rest supposed to make things better?

If the above scenario describes your typical morning, you’re most likely suffering from a condition known as plantar fasciitis. This common heel pain condition usually develops slowly over time, as the grind of day-to-day activity places cumulative stress on the bottoms of your feet. Microscopic tears begin to form in the plantar fascia tissue on the bottom of the foot, near the point where it connects to your heel bone.

Why does this condition hurt most in the morning? Essentially, the damaged plantar fascia tissue contracts at night, when it doesn’t have to bear any weight. The same is true for the Achilles tendon and muscles of the calf and foot. When your foot comes in contact with the ground again and must once again bear weight, those tissues and muscles are suddenly forced to stretch out again, and tug painfully on the injured area.

Morning isn’t the only time this can happen, of course. Any extended rest period where you aren’t bearing weight or stretching could precede a painful moment. Get up from your desk at work, or out of your seat at the end of a movie, and there it is again.

Fortunately, all hope is not lost. A specialist—such as the doctors at McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group—can help you regain your freedom from this frustrating form of heel pain! In fact, conservative treatments such as rest, icing, stretching, taping, splinting, or custom orthotics are remarkably successful at bringing an end to plantar fasciitis symptoms. To get started on the path to relief, please give us a call today at (916) 961-3434.

Dr. Brian McDowell
Dr. Brian McDowell, board-certified podiatrist, provides cutting-edge foot and ankle care in Carmichael, CA.
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