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Neal M. Blitz, D.P.M., F.A.C.F.A.S.

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Avoid Morning Heel Pain: Things To Do in Bed

Posted: 10/13/11 09:05 AM ET

If the first step out of bed results in heel pain, then there is a good chance that you may suffer from a condition called "plantar fasciitis."

This morning heel pain affects approximately 10 percent of the general population. Plantar fasciitis occurs because the supporting ligament (plantar fascia) of the arch becomes strained and inflamed. It can severely impact your day-to-day routine and may prevent you from staying active.

Fortunately, this heel pain will resolve over time with but the process can take up to a year in severe cases. However, there are several simple things that you can do to assist the healing process.

The first few steps out of bed are particularly painful with plantar fasciitis because the ligament contracts during periods of rest. Standing causes sudden stretching and pulling of this ligament, and this can start the pain cascade.

It is important to "warm-up" and "stretch" the foot before you even get out of bed.

3 Easy Steps To Avoid Morning Heel Pain While Laying in Bed
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1) Stretch the arch of the foot.

While flat on your back, lift your leg straight in the air and wrap a towel around the front of your foot. Then, with both hands pull on the towel and stretch the ball of the foot and ankle, so that your knee is straight and the foot position starts to point towards your nose. 
This directly stretches the plantar fascia and the calf muscles. A tight calf muscle can contribute to plantar fasciitis symptoms.

2) Draw an air alphabet with your toes.

This is a great exercise to "wake up" the deep muscles within the foot that help support the arch and plantar fascia ligament. Using your big toe as a pointer, tracing the alphabet as if you were writing in the sand.

3) Perform "toe crunches."

This exercise specifically strengthens the muscles directly beneath the plantar fascia ligament. Simply curl your toes downward as if trying to pick up a pencil with the sulcus of the toes.

Perform these exercises daily for 2-5 minutes before you get out of bed. Though, before you take that first step, firmly plant your foot on the floor and allow the plantar fascia ligament to fully stretch.

Hopefully, this simple routine will help alleviate the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Though persistent pain should be evaluated by a health care professional. In my practice, I have found that a focused strengthening program is central to a rapid recovery from plantar fasciitis pain.

To learn more about Dr. Blitz, please visit www.nealblitz.com.

 

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