You probably didn`t even think about it, but your foot is an incredible piece of evolutionary engineering! It is designed to be both flexible, to accommodate walking, and strong enough to withstand the entire weight of our body.
Since foot is such a complex structure, pinpointing an exact cause of pain can be a bit tricky. For this reason, in today`s article we will focus all of our attention to one specific problem – foot pain in the morning.
Anatomy Of The Foot
As I`ve already said, food is an incredible structure – it is built up of 26 bones, 33 joints, 19 muscles and 107 ligaments! I can almost hear you thinking “Why do we even need so many bones and ligaments?” but your foot needs to be strong enough to support more than 100.000 pounds of pressure for every mile we walk1! That`s an enormous amount of weight, and when we run the weight increases even more.
Feet are really made for walking, and very few people are actually born with foot anomalies which lead to pain and discomfort. In most cases we are to blame, our poor walking habits, inappropriate foot care and ill-fitting shoes are the number one cause of foot pain today.
Most Common Causes Of Foot Pain In The Morning
Night is the time when our body recuperates and rejuvenates, so waking up in the morning should be a joyous occasion. But it`s hard to be joyful when you feel pain the minute you get out of your bed! In the following paragraphs, we will be talking about some of the most common causes of that morning pain:
The most common cause of foot pain in the morning lies in the heel. But the heel itself is not the problem, the main problem is plantar fascia (a tough band connecting the heel bone to the toes). Plantar fasciitis is most common in runners, military men and generally, all men between the ages of 40 and 60, but it can also affect people from all walks of life. If you are interested in finding out more about this condition, you can read one of our previous articles – Symptoms, Diagnosis and Causes of PF.
One of the main telltale signs of PF is an intense pain at the base of the heel, which intensifies after longer periods of inactivity – sleeping or resting. PF can also cause pain towards the end of the day, especially if you are a runner or spend most of your day standing up.
If you experience this type of pain, you should contact your doctor immediately because this condition can lead to all sorts of other problems including back pain and hip and knee pain. The best way to treat is to implement a regular calf and foot exercises and stretches regime. You might also want to consider buying appropriate footwear with good support and cushioned sole.
Gout is not a very common condition, but it can be nasty, cause intense, burning pain that will make you jump out of your bed! It is a complex type of arthritis where crystals of uric acid (a waste product our body produces daily, usually flushed out through kidneys) form inside and around joints2.
Symptoms associated with gout are:
- Swelling and
and can develop in under 24 hours (commonly called gout attack). The symptoms will usually last anywhere from 3-10 days and often affect the big toe joint.
Some studies have shown that these so-called “gout attacks” most often occur late at night or early in the morning.
Ice pack and painkillers are the first line of defense against gout pain, but you should definitely consult your doctor and see what are some of the other things you can do to manage the pain and prevent it from happening again.
Bunion is a bony bump that usually forms at the base of your big toe. It can be red, sore and painful and wearing tight shoes can make it worse. One of the most obvious indication of this condition is the big toe deformity where it starts to point to the second toe.
Just like in Plantar Fasciitis, the pain might intensify after periods of inactivity, which is why it is not uncommon to feel intense pain in the morning, just after waking up.
Treatment will depend on the severity of the condition, and patients with more severe cases will require a surgery.
- (2010.)Foot Anatomy, Medicinenet. Retrieved from :http://www.medicinenet.com/image-collection/foot_anatomy_detail_picture/picture.htm
- (2010.) Gout, National Health Service. Retrieved from: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Gout/Pages/Introduction.aspx
- Image credits: «Fascia plantar» por Ryxi10 – Trabajo propio. Disponible bajo la licencia CC BY-SA 3.0 vía Wikimedia Commons.