Do you have sore feet in the morning? Here are some ways to solve the problem and reasons why you might be having pain
Why Do I Have Sore Feet in the Morning?
Pain first thing in the morning is a horrible way to wake up and start the day. Are you hobbling in the first few steps? Pain is the body’s way of trying to protect you. Pain is a complicated and complex pathway between your body and the brain, aiming to work together to warn against stresses and danger.
5 Reasons You May be Experiencing Foot Pain in the Morning
1.) Plantar Fasciitis
Developing plantar fasciitis is a very common, approximately 1 in 10 people will experience it at some stage in their lifetime. It is a foot condition and one of it’s symptoms is first step pain in the morning as you are getting out of bed. This can also mean after a period of rest eg watching the tv and then upon standing pain re-occurs. It attaches at the heel bone and hold the muscles of the foot together, as well as assisting the mechanism of your foot with every step.
It is seen more common in women and even more so during pregnancy, menopause and hormonal changes throughout their life. As a general age category, plantar fasciitis is often seen in people between the ages of 40-65.
High impact sports such as long distance running, ballet dancing and intense athletic activity consisting of running and jumping may predispose your likelihood to causing severe pain in your feet.
A person’s occupation may also predispose you to plantar fascia foot pain. Jobs such as tradesman, retail, teaching, tour guides and coaches who spend a lot of time on their feet mean that the plantar fascia is under a lot of stress repetitively.
Furthermore, the footwear you use on a daily basis may be contributing to an increased risk of arch pain. Corporate or office positions where a narrow heel or business shoe are standard may be compressing the foot and altering the way the foot is designed to function. Similarly, steel cap boots are more restrictive through the ankle joint causing the plantar fascia to work harder; on the other hand, sandals or flats that have minimal fixation rely on clawing of the toes and therefore, more work for the foot to do.
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There are many types of arthritis; psoriatic arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout. All of which can be painful in the morning and throughout the day. One of the most common types of arthritis is osteoarthritis which mostly affects the larger joints in the body, the ankle being off of them. Stiffness and pain after rest or in the morning are a symptom of this, particularly if there is a loss of range of motion; ultimately the foot is under stress all day and when trying to heal when resting symptoms can persist once movement occurs again. Dull joint pain is not pleasant and should be assessed by a professional for management of osteoarthritis. Pain in the small bones is likely to be an inflammatory or autoimmune arthritis and you should seek medical attention.
3.) Flat Feet
Having “flat feet” is not a bad thing, unless it causes pain or alters your function within your daily life or activities.
When participating in long walks or runs your flat feet
Have you considered having your running technique assessed? Is your body working too hard and not being as efficient as it could be? Have a read up on how running and flat feet may be causing your pain.
4.) Bone Spurs
Heel spurs are often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. A heel spur is a bony growth in a spike shape on the heel bone. Heel spurs can definitely contribute to pain, however many people have heel spurs and never experience any symptoms, altered walking or need intervention. They become problematic when they compress on muscle, tendon or nerve structures. Most likely the plantar fascia becomes thickened when under stress and it is this thickened that leads to compression from the heel spur. Addressing the plantar fasciitis symptoms first, will likely resolve the pain from the spur. Treating the heel spur alone with surgery can still leave painful symptoms as the primary pathology (plantar fasciitis) has been ignored.
5.) Ill-Fitting Shoes
Shoes and footwear are the most underrated cause of foot pain. Ill-fitting shoes that do not support the foot and alter gait patterns can lead to multiple different sources and causes of pain including bursitis, neuromas, bunions, heel pain, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, digital deformities and more.
If shoes are too narrow and shallow especially in the toe box, they may compress the forefoot, foot and heel area. If they are too wide the foot has to work harder to keep the shoe one and ensure they do not trip or stumble.
If you have an occupation where you are standing a long time, suffering overuse pain, tendon pain and strain or stress on the foot muscles, consider proper footwear or even shoe inserts for further support. You are at an increased risk of severe pain with jobs such as teachers, factory workers, tradesmen, corporate worker who must wear high heeled shoes. A podiatrist can provide medical advice on wearing proper footwear and what is best for your foot type.
The Body Tries To Fix Itself While You Rest
The body heals itself best when you are sleeping and resting. The body’s healing cells travel to the source of pain. When plantar fascia behaves like a tendon in the way that tendons are painful with rest due to their lack of blood flow to the structure and with movement the symptoms ease as inflammation is being actively cleared.
The Calf Muscle And Plantar Fascia Runs Cold In The Morning
Movement before you get out of bed will make a big difference! Mobility exercises and stretches such as rolling the ankle around in circles and lifting the foot up and down will get blood pumping to the calves and feet (if you have plantar fasciitis this is a good one for you). As the have not been in demand for blood and oxygen at rest they can be cold and inflamed in the mornings. The less you experience pain the more overall benefits you will have including mental and physical health.
Nerve Tension Winds Up Overnight
Nerve pain can be unpredictable. Nerve pain can cause pain during activity and movement or at rest. It can be localized or radiate to other parts of the foot or body. Nerve pain generally has an underlying cause such as a medical condition, change in medication, injury or bone/structure compression. Nerve pain should not be ignored and should be assessed straight away.
What Can I Do To Help My Foot Pain In The Morning?
- Ice and Heat therapy: If you are initially experiencing very sore feet or this is a recent pain you have never had before we recommend apply ice to your feet, ice provides a numbing pain relief. If this pain is chronic and you have been experiencing symptoms for a long time heat will be your friend. Heat will help increase blood flow to the area and boost healing. Applying a heat pack or deep heat or a warm water in a foot bath can be helpful.
- Stretching the foot: Using a rolled up towel place it under your big toe and stand with feet flat on the ground. Lifting the big toe will stretch all the way under your arch. Alternatively you can pull the big toe back with your hand whilst seated. Either way you should feel the arch stretch.
- Massage and decompression: Give yourself a foot rub using voltaren gel or massage oil to release the sore structures and for your plantar fasciitis, use gentle pressure to avoid bruising sensation. You can also try rolling your foot over a tennis ball/spiky ball/lacrosse ball or hard water bottle/rolling pin. You should experience some relief within a few minutes.
- Strengthening exercises for the foot: Strength will help to cope with future loads and stresses on the foot. Calf raises are a great place to start – however you will need a tailored program to target your weakness.
- Better fitting shoes! Go out and buy yourself some! We recommend getting fitted at a specialist store or asking for advice.
- See a podiatrist: Assessment by a podiatrist is strongly advised if symptoms do not resolve.
If Pain Is Not Settling What Can Be Done?
We may send you for imaging of your feet, an x-ray, bone scan, ultrasound or MRI may be recommended. It is important to consider if there are any underlying causes. A stress fracture may be the source of pain and need further intervention, as well as muscle tears, ligament damage, the extent of the thick band from the plantar fasciitis and more rare underlying causes. It is important to identify what is being treated to know the best form of treatment. A formed treatment plan around your choice and the treatment options should be a between patient and practitioner and then re-assessed in a few weeks time to alter or continue treatment plans. Successful rehab and injury prevention are directly related to patient choice.
Make an appointment
If you are thinking that you would benefit from seeing a podiatrist please book in us ASAP – We would love to help you, assess your feet and pain and get you back doing the things you love!