If you have foot pain in the morning from the very first step you take out of bed, you may have plantar fasciitis
. Your feet might feel fine after a few steps, or you could have shooting pain in the heels or balls of your feet, which fades to an achiness or soreness throughout the day. Plantar fasciitis is an injury that occurs from daytime activities, but poor sleeping posture makes it worse. This is why, with plantar fasciitis, you can have such bad foot pain in the morning.*
The Plantar Fascia [fosh-uh]
Picture an umbrella, opened up into its parabolic, cup shape. The plantar fascia forms that exact same umbrella shape under your foot. That is why you have an arched shape to your foot—it is attributed to the curved structure of the plantar fascia.
At age 35 your foot starts to drop and your arch falls. This means you stretch the fascia, tugging on it with every step you take. If you haven’t been diligent about keeping your calf muscles healthy, allowing them to glide and move properly, or if you’ve sprained your ankle, you develop a fibrosis that prevents the fascia from gliding properly and it starts to get stuck. Then you’re putting a stretch on the fibrosis, flattening the umbrella shape and you lose some of your arch.
Plantar Fasciitis [fash-eye-tus]
is inflammation, tearing or stretching of the plantar fascia. Typically, because you will limit movement due to pain, your body starts to calcify right where the fascia attaches at the heel, causing a spur off of your heel bone.
With plantar fasciitis you would feel the most pain at your heel, but it can also happen at the ball of the foot, which is at the other end of the plantar fascia.
Plantar Fasciitis from Poor Sleeping Posture
When you sleep you are still governed by gravity
, which pushes you into a ball, because your muscle extensors are shut completely off. This sleeping position is called the fetal position
. In fetal position you curl your knees in, bed your legs and put your feet in plantar flexion (pointed.) When you wake up, you step out of bed and demand dorsiflexion (extension) from your feet, but they have been in plantar flexion for 8 hours!
Normally you could recover pretty quickly, as the body is adaptable, but if you’re already got an injury, or tear to your plantar fascia, putting all of your weight on it before your muscles have warmed up and are ready to help support the fascia is jarring and painful. That is why with plantar fasciitis, your feet hurt in the morning.
Plantar Fasciitis Exercises and Stretching
The key to lessening the pain from plantar fasciitis is stretching the muscles in your feet and calves before you get out of bed. [video_lightbox_youtube video_id="kStuJAu0a20" width="640" height="480" auto_thumb="1"]
For stretching, I advise my patients to try [popup url=http://www.dyenamicmovement.com/store/home.php?cat=1 height="500"width="460”]Stretch-Eze, [/popup] which is a full-body band that you put on and grab the sides to stretch your foot into an exaggerated dorsiflexion. This re-builds the necessary muscles to counteract the effects of gravity and plantar flexion on your fascia.
*Always see a physician for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.