You hope to feel refreshed and recharged when you step out of bed in the morning, but for far too many Americans, these first few steps are quite painful. If you’re one of the countless individuals waking up with morning foot pain when you take your first steps, know that you don’t have to just grit your teeth and wait for discomfort to fade as the day goes on. You have treatment options available to you, and one of the most effective forms of treatment for morning foot pain is physical therapy. In today’s blog, we explain why physical therapy can oftentimes be an effective treatment for morning foot pain.
Overcoming Morning Foot Pain
If you’re dealing with morning foot pain, consider talking about the issue with your primary care physician the next time you have your annual physical, or you can try to cut out the middleman and head straight to a physical therapy clinic. Many minor and mild foot conditions can be successfully diagnosed and treated with the help of a physical therapist, and since PT is a commonly recommended form of treatment, you may be able to begin treatment sooner by going right to a PT clinic when foot pain develops.
And while it’s important to note that morning foot pain can be caused by a few different issues, one condition that is known for causing foot pain with your first few steps in the morning is plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is a foot problem that involves a thickening of the soft tissues that connect your heel to your toes. When this area becomes inflamed, any pressure that you put on the foot can be uncomfortable.
The reason plantar fasciitis often presents with morning foot pain is because your plantar fascia tends to constrict when it’s not in use and slowly elongate as it works to handle stress. When you’re sleeping, your plantar fascia isn’t bearing any weight for roughly eight hours, and when you step out of bed in the morning, all of a sudden it is forced to handle the weight of your body. This can be painful for a constricted and inflamed fascia, or it can lead to additional microtears in the fascia, prompting more inflammation and discomfort.
If you’re dealing with sharp pain as you step out of bed that tends to get better throughout the day as you put more stress on your feet, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with plantar fasciitis, and that’s where we come in. We actually have our own specialty clinic that focuses on foot conditions like plantar fasciitis, aptly named the Plantar Fascia Institute of Minnesota. We have highly trained specialists who can get to the bottom of your plantar fascia issue and cultivate a specific care routine that will make your morning steps much more comfortable. Some of the most common treatments that we recommend include:
- Physical Therapy – Of course, physical therapy will make up the bulk of your rehabilitation plan. PT helps to strengthen nearby structures and can take pressure off the fascia, which in turn helps inflammation resolve. We can also set you up with some home-based exercises so that you can work to help your plantar fascia transition from an inactive to an active state before you step out of bed, ensuring that your first steps don’t do additional damage to the fascia.
- Shoe Modification – Plantar fascia is oftentimes caused or exacerbated by poor footwear choices. We can evaluate your footwear and help you understand how to choose supportive options that take stress off the fascia.
- Activity Pacing – Plantar fasciitis is quite common in athletes who overstress the area without giving their feet enough time to recover. We can help you develop an athletic training regimen that is less stressful on your feet, and we can help you understand how rest plays an important role in your body’s ability to prevent overstress injuries like plantar fasciitis.
- Manual Manipulation – Our team of physical therapists can also manually manipulate your feet and the plantar fascia to help improve circulation and expand comfortable range of motion so that certain movements are less likely to trigger an inflammatory response in the fascia.
- Gait Training – Finally, our team can take a closer look at your gait or your running stride to see if your form is putting excessive stress on your feet and your plantar fascia. We have a number of technological tools that can help break down your form frame by frame so that we can see any inefficiencies and help you improve your gait to take pressure off the fascia.
Don’t start your day with morning foot pain. Instead, connect with a team of specialists who help patients overcome plantar fasciitis every day. For more information, or for help with a different physical issue, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today at (612) 339-2041.