If you sleep with your windows open in the summer, you might wake up to birds singing, sprinklers humming, or leaves rustling in the breeze, but if you wake up to howling heel pain, well, that’s not quite as pleasant, is it?
Heel pain in the morning is a sure sign of plantar fasciitis, an overuse injury to the plantar fascia – the band of tissues that spans your arch and connects your toes to your heel. Repetitive stress causes tiny tears in these tissues, which then become inflamed and aggravate the heel bone where they attach.
During periods of rest, like a good night’s sleep, for instance, the plantar fascia relaxes, but your first step when you hop out of bed forces it to stretch and pull on the heel bone – the source of your sharp, stabbing pain. Yes, it’s about as annoying to wake up to as your neighbor’s dog barking non-stop, but unlike Fido, your heel pain will eventually ease up once you start walking around and loosening the tight tissues. Don’t let this reprieve from pain fool you, however. It will return with activity, when you climb stairs or stand too much, and after a long nap. Don’t ignore the symptoms.
This is your wakeup call!
To stop plantar fasciitis pain from ruining your mornings as well as interfering with the activities you love, take these steps to heal and wake up happy:
Rest – take a break from high-impact activities, as well as from standing extended periods of time
Ice – this will reduce pain and inflammation. A great trick is to freeze a water bottle then roll the arch of your foot back and forth over it.
Stretches – there are exercises you can do that will help ease heel pain and stave of future flare ups. Before you even get out of bed, gently pull your toes toward you, or use a pillow case to loop around your foot and pull the ends toward you while you flex and point your toes. Once you’re up, try standing on a step with heels overhanging, then slowly lowering your heels, or face a wall, extend a leg back and push your heel to the floor.
Orthotics -- supplement shoes that offer plenty of cushion with orthotic inserts inside. These devices will add arch support and disperse pressure away from your heel. They also provide additional cushion, as well as correct any structural abnormalities that might be making you prone to the injury.
Plantar fasciitis doesn’t have to stop you from having a good morning, or a good day. Call Heartland Foot and Ankle Associates if you need an appointment or have any questions about heel pain. You can reach us in Bloomington IL by dialing (309) 661-9975. We’ll help you have a great and pain-free day from start to finish!