Why does plantar fasciitis hurt in the morning?

“Well, this has to be the most common question about the condition. The pain endured by sufferers of the condition is probably between 3 and 4 times the severity at all other times.  In medicine we measure the strength of pain using something called VAS, or Visual Analogue Score. In simple terms we ask people to measure their pain from one to 10. It really is that simple. Looking at people’s reported measurements it seems that it is far worse in the morning.

Why is this? Well, overnight the plantar fascia fibres tighten up as your foot rests and this contraction or shortening of the fibres means that hopping out of bed first thing in the morning and giving them a stretch gives the most pain you’ll feel all day.

So what can you do? It is important to stretch the foot early on, before putting weight onto it. That certainly helps. One to two minutes of vigorous rubbing can also help. If you are using Heelease then this is an ideal time to use it for the first treatment so set your alarm for 10 minutes early and use it before you start your day.”

Ranjan Vhadra, Orthopaedic surgeon.

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Why does plantar fasciitis occur in the first place?

“A very tricky question to answer comprehensively.  Similar to a tendon disorder, plantar fasciitis is a lack of inflammation in part of the plantar fasciia, the thick bundle of fibres that runs from the heel to the toes.  Any injury to these fibres will often heal quickly in some people but not in others, this is due to the variable nature of the blood supply to the fibres themselves.

If you’re one of the unlucky ones who don’t have a comprehensive supply of blood to the area then the fibres can repeatedly damage themselves due to repeated use.  This leads to the almost permanent situation of plantar fasciitis.”

Ranjan Vhadra, Orthopaedic surgeon.

Have a question for one of our medical team?  Email us here and we’ll ask

When does plantar fasciitis hurt the most?

“An interesting question. Classically it hurts first thing in the morning when you get out of bed. This is because you tend to sleep with the foot in equines (relaxed) and this shortens the plantar fascia and the first steps stretch it causing pain. Also overuse causes pain so after lots of walking on hard soles with no cushioning.”

Ranjan Vhadra, Orthopaedic surgeon.

Have a question for one of our medical team?  Email us here and we’ll ask