Morning Heel Pain While Pregnant: Don't Let It Get You Up On The Wrong Side of The Bed!
Morning can be a tough time when you are pregnant. Nausea, exhaustion, and just plain feeling worn out...even when you get up and get out of bed. It’s almost like adding insult to injury when you step out of bed and have pain in the bottom of your heel.
If you are pregnant and suffering from heel pain, it could very well be plantar fasciitis. This is one of the most common causes of heel pain in pregnant women.
The plantar fascia is a big, strong ligament that stabilizes and protects the structures on the bottom of the foot. It also helps to support the arch in your foot. The plantar fascia starts at the bottom of the heel and fans out toward the toes. It connects the bases of the toes to the heel, and can act like a bowstring helping to hold up the arch. When it becomes inflamed or tight, it causes pain in the heel.
Which repeated pressure, irritation and tugging away at the heel bone, you can even develop a heel spur. Most people think that a heel spur points down toward the ground. When they have heel pain, they think it is because they are getting poked by the heel spur. In reality, the bone spur always points out toward the toes, in line with the direction of the pull of the plantar fascia.
The pain that you feel when you step out of bed is not from the heel spur. It is actually pain caused from a collection of fluid around the bottom of the heel. Because of all the irritation when you walkng, there is fluid collected between the bone and the ligament.
When you get up and step out of bed, this fluid can compress a nerve and cause a sharp stabbing pain in the bottom of the heel. Within a few steps this pain usually subsides, because some of the fluid is squished out and away from the area.
Every time you sit down to rest, read a book or work on a computer, the fluid collects again. When you get up and start to walk, you have heel pain again. Although most people have plantar fasciitis in only one foot, some people do have it on both feet.
For many people who are pregnant, the stress of carrying the additional weight that normally occurs during pregnancy can lead to strain on the plantar fascia. In addition, hormones cause ligamentous laxity. This can create additional instability in the foot that contribute to the problem. Women who have flat feet or higher arches are even more at risk.
Most people who have plantar fasciitis can get better without surgery. Achilles’ tendon stretches are one of the most successful treatments. Don’t take any anti-inflammatories while pregnant without talking to your doctor first. But it is okay to ice the bottom of the foot. This can help reduce the inflammation.
One useful stretch for the area is to roll a frozen 20 ounce soda bottle back-and-forth underneath the arch. Just place the frozen bottle on the ground and roll your foot back-and-forth over it. This way you can kill two birds with one stone by stretching the area as well as icing at the same time.
Custom orthotics can also significantly reduce the instability related to pregnancy that leads to plantar fasciitis and heel pain. This is particularly important for women who are pregnant and have bunions or flat feet.
With all that you have to think about when you are pregnant, the last thing you need to worry about is heel pain. If he doesn’t respond with the simple treatments, make sure that you see a podiatrist who specializes in heel pain. That way you can get back to decorating the nursery.
Dr. Christopher Segler is a San Francisco Podiatrist who offers house call appointments to help pregnant women get relief from heel and arch pain. If you are pregnant and would like to find out what might be causing your heel pain, call (415) 308-0388.