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5 possible reasons why you feel Achilles heel pain in morning

5 possible reasons why you feel Achilles heel pain in morning
4 minutes, 11 seconds

Are you having Achilles heel pain in the morning lately? Do you wake up with a screaming pain in the back of your ankle everyday? Are you wondering why? Keep reading. In this article, we'll discuss five common causes of Achilles pain and discuss why it hurts so bad right when you get out of bed.

Here they are:

1. Achilles tendinitis

Achilles tendinitis (also known as Achilles tendonosis, tendinopathy or achillodynia) is a condition characterized by inflammation of the Achilles tendon. This tendon connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. In most cases, inflammation occurs after the tendon is overstretched or torn. If you have this condition, it likely hurts more in the morning because the fluids in your ankle accumulate in the tears of your tendon fibers while you sleep. The Achilles tendon is the most commonly injured tendon among American adults, so if yours hurts when you wake up in the morning, this could be the cause.

2. Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition that affects the plantar fascia, which is the band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot from your heel bone to your toes. It's caused by excessive pressure on the area where the plantar fascia attaches to your heel bone. This can happen when you're standing for long periods of time, walking barefoot, wearing high heels or doing any kind of physical activity. Plantar fasciitis is another common cause of heel pain. In fact, experts estimate that it drives roughly 1 million people to their doctor every year. Like tendinitis, it's also common among athletes, accounting for 10% of all running-related injuries. Luckily, plantar fasciitis can be treated with physical therapy.

3. Gout

Gout, also known as crystal-induced arthritis, is a form of arthritis that occurs when the body produces too much uric acid. The excess acid crystals are deposited in joints and tissue, causing inflammation and pain. Gout pain usually occurs in the big toe joint but can radiate to the ankle as inflammation worsens. Gout can be caused by a number of factors, including diet. Red meat, shellfish and high-fructose foods all increase the levels of uric acid in your body, which can increase your risk of gout. It tends to act up at night and in the morning, too. A study in the journal Arthritis Rheumatology showed that the risk of gout flare-ups is 2.4 times higher at night and in the early morning than during the rest of the day. So, if you've been experiencing Achilles heel pain in the morning that originally started in your toe, it could be a case of gout.

4. Calcaneal stress fractures

A calcaneal stress fracture occurs when your heel bone breaks due to excessive pressure from exercise or other causes. The pain may be dull, sharp or throbbing and can expand up to your Achilles and other parts of your leg in some cases. Inflammation tends to produce the most fluid at night when your leg is rested, so you may find yourself waking up with Achilles pain in the morning if you've fractured your heel bone. Stress fractures account for up to 20% of all sports injuries, and experts estimate that calcaneal fractures account for roughly 2% of all stress fractures. So, if you're an active person and have been waking up with Achilles pain in the morning, this could be the cause.

5. Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, systemic autoimmune disease that can cause significant pain in the joints. It slowly destroys the cartilage and bone in the affected joints, which creates a sharp grinding sensation that can be quite unpleasant. This grinding of the bones creates further inflammation that can worsen at night. Surprisingly, 90% of people with rheumatoid arthritis seek medical attention for pain in the heel at some point in their lives. Thus, this could be one possible explanation if you are experiencing morning Achilles heel pain.

How physical therapy can help you overcome Achilles heel pain

A professional physical therapist may be able to help you manage your heel pain. They'll assess your symptoms and inspect your heel to determine the root cause of your pain; then they'll determine a course of action for treatment. Physical therapy looks different for all patients. Your therapist will likely teach you some stretches and exercises to help mobilize and strengthen your heel, but they will also help you to reduce inflammation in any areas of your body that are causing your heel pain. For instance, if your Achilles pain stems from gout in your big toe, they will help you address any issues that are causing inflammation and leading to chronic pain in the rest of your foot. They may also apply manual therapy techniques to manually relieve tension in your joints or fit you for custom orthotics to help you walk more comfortably.

Alliance PTP is ready to help you find top-notch PT for heel pain

At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we’re proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need. Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that’s close to you and that can help you address any pain in your foot that’s affecting your life. Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform.  Contact our team today so we can help you find the most effective physical therapy services for your injury or condition.

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