Why do I get a stabbing pain in my heel when I get out of bed in the morning?
Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that I see frequently in the clinic.
As a podiatrist I am aware that someone experiencing a stabbing sensation in the heel when they first get up in the morning, or after long periods of rest, can often be a sign of plantar fasciitis.
What is the plantar fascia?
The plantar fascia is an important ligamentous structure that helps support and hold up the arch of the foot.
What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a condition where this structure has become overloaded, and as a result becomes damaged, this damage is what causes your pain.
What are the causes of plantar fasciitis?
The main cause of plantar fasciitis is the structure's inability to tolerate changes in load/stress.
This may be due to abnormal function of the feet or legs (flat feet, tight calves etc), a sudden change or increase to activity levels, incorrect footwear, more time spent barefoot on hard surfaces, trauma, or weight gain.
All of these increase stress to the plantar fascia, leading to overload, and then pain.
What are the best treatments for plantar fasciitis?
Rolling your foot over a plastic bottle of frozen water or a tennis ball will help to reduce pain and gently stretch and massage the plantar fascia.
Anti-inflammatory gels may be used to help reduce pain even though the condition may not typically be caused by inflammatory changes in the heel.
3. Changes to footwear
Changing into more appropraite footwear can help to reduce your symptoms as incorrect, old or worn-out footwear may contribute to overstretching the plantar fascia and increased impact stress in the heel.
4. Modifying activity levels
By decreasing your activity level to never have your pain higher than a 4/10, may help to reduce the symptoms of your plantar heel pain.
Supporting of the foot with sports tape may provide temporary relief of pain by reducing strain on the plantar fascia and centring the heel’s fat pad under the heel bone.
If strapping helps to relieve the pain in the heel it is a good sign that orthoses will help. Your orthoses will be custom made by your podiatrist and they will help to further reduce the stress on the plantar fascia.
7. Strengthening exercises
High load eccentric exercises have been shown to increase the strength in the plantar fascia and improve its ability to cope with the stresses that cause pain in the heel.
8. Shockwave treatment
Evidence shows that shockwave treatment significantly helps manage heel pain. This advanced treatment option is available to our clients in both our clinic locations.
Where to from here?
I understand how frustrating it can be to have heel pain, however this is not something you have to just ‘put up with’.
Seeking the assistance of a podiatrist to correctly manage your individual case, can speed up your recovery and put in place a thorough plan to get you back to having happy, healthy, pain free feet.
Yours in helping to build amazing lives from the feet up,