It hurts to step on your heels after sleep: causes and how to treat

It is difficult to find an adult who, getting out of bed in the morning, at least once did not feel that it hurts him to step on the heel after sleep. After a few minutes of walking, the pain sensations dull or go away altogether, and the unpleasant start of the day is forgotten until the next morning. If this situation repeats itself constantly, and then pain is gradually added at the first step, even after a short sitting, then the problem cannot be simply dismissed – you will have to figure it out and eliminate the causes.

Manifestations of soreness in the heel

To begin with, you should listen to the sensations and determine the type of pain that occurs during the first step, and track how quickly it goes away. Any soreness of the foot has its own reason, you should definitely pay attention to its such manifestations:

  • The so-called lumbago. A flash of very intense, sharp pain that disappears as suddenly as it begins.
  • Pain that arises sharply, but gradually subsides and passes in the process of “pacing”.
  • Aching pain, which, depending on the intensity of movement, may increase or decrease, but does not completely go away and reminds of itself during the day.
  • Painful sensations arising in the heel during exertion and spreading in a wave over the entire foot or higher along the leg.

Each manifestation of pain of any degree of intensity needs either lifestyle adjustments or treatment.

Causes of heel pain after sleep

Painful sensations in the heels can be symptoms of pathology, occur as a result of external influences or latent and obvious injuries.

Non-medical prerequisites for pain:

  • Increased physical activity on the foot. A common cause found in overweight people, workers involved in carrying weights. Also, this problem is familiar to novice athletes who are just mastering the exercise technique, and to young mothers who are often forced to carry babies in their arms.

Pain in overstrained muscles and bones subject to deformation does not disappear instantly, but gradually fades away at rest.

  • Poor quality, uncomfortable, unsuitable footwear. It provokes pain in the legs associated with improper distribution of the load on the foot or impaired blood circulation in the pinched vessels. This includes the constant wearing of high-heeled shoes, in which it is the heel that bears the weight of the body.
  • Stand-up work. People who work while standing tend to relieve unpleasant sensations in tired legs, shifting from toe to heel, which also eventually leads to soreness.

Traumatic causes of heel pain include:

  • dislocations;
  • fractures or fissures of the calcaneus;
  • sprains and ruptures of the ligaments.

If the pain in the heel after sleep or rest is caused by the listed reasons, then it is not difficult to cope with it. It is enough to exclude the provoking factor: buy new shoes, adjust the operating mode (add breaks), in case of injury, fix the affected foot motionlessly until complete recovery. Then, within a short period of time, the unpleasant sensations will recede.


  • When you run, your leg is loaded with 4 times your weight.
  • The sprint qualities of athletes are directly influenced by the length of the heel.
  • On the hot sand, a woman moves on tiptoe, and a man on his heels.
  • If you believe the dream book, then a dream about a heel injury means that a person needs to wait for a sudden blow from opponents to the most vulnerable place. Calluses on the heels dream of tedious work that does not bring any pleasure.

Possible diseases

Heel pain that occurs after sleep or rest can be a symptom of certain pathologies. Therefore, if external provoking factors are excluded, and the discomfort does not go away in a few days, it is worth contacting a doctor, conducting the necessary diagnostics and choosing a treatment.

Diseases that can be signaled by heel pain can be classified by their nature.

Systemic (autoimmune) diseases:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis. As a result of the gradual ossification of the intervertebral discs, posture is disturbed, which leads to an uneven distribution of the load along the foot. Usually, most of the weight is on the heel, which starts to hurt in the morning.
  • Gout – salt deposits. As a result of the accumulation of uric acid in the body, deformation of the joints occurs and, accordingly, swelling of the surrounding soft tissues, accompanied by pain.

Pathologies of an infectious nature:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Pathogenic microorganisms, such as chlamydia, salmonella and others, getting into the joint capsule, cause inflammation of the joints and surrounding soft tissues. At the initial stage of the disease, it is the sharp pain in the heel in the morning that gives a hint when diagnosing. As the foci of infection grow, the pain syndrome also increases, the pain from episodic becomes permanent.
  • Osteomyelitis. Acute purulent inflammation of an infectious nature, accompanied by severe pain, swelling and fever. Launched osteomyelitis turns into gangrene.

Inflammatory diseases:

  • Plantar fasciitis. A common pathology of an inflammatory nature, in which the soft connective tissues of the foot are affected. During the night, the damaged areas manage to tighten up a bit and recover, and in the morning at the moment of the first step they break again, hence the outbreak of pain.
  • Heel spur. In most cases, this is due to untreated fasciitis or injury. It is a growth of altered hardened soft tissues that interferes with walking and causes painful sensations, the severity of which depends on the location.
  • Tendon inflammation caused by increased physical activity. It also manifests itself as painful sensations that intensify after rest. A typical symptom of Achilles tendon inflammation, along with a sore heel, is the inability to stand on tiptoes.
  • Neurological diseases. Inflammatory processes that cause deformity of the foot. Severe pain is provoked by inflammation of the nerve processes, when you try to stand on your leg, a sharp soreness spreads upward, capturing the knee.
  • Calluses and corns on the heels. Acute pain with a specific localization is caused by a callus growing deep into the foot, which disturbs the nerve endings, and is also accompanied by an inflammatory process.

Note! Soreness of the heel in the morning can be a symptom of a large number of diseases, the approaches to therapy for which are fundamentally different. Self-diagnosis, like home treatment, often leads to dire consequences.

Treatment methods

The first step in getting rid of recurring or worsening heel pain after sleep is to contact a specialist: a surgeon, orthopedist, traumatologist. It is difficult to make a diagnosis at the initial visit to the doctor, so additional examinations are usually prescribed: laboratory tests, if necessary, X-rays or MPT.

Further, depending on the identified problem, treatment is prescribed. In most cases, this is a set of activities that includes three areas.

Drug therapy, which involves taking the following drugs in various combinations:

  • systemic analgesics;
  • local anesthetic or anti-inflammatory drugs (ointments or compresses);
  • systemic antispasmodic drugs;
  • topical agents (gels, ointments) to restore blood supply to damaged tissues;
  • potassium and calcium preparations, vitamin complexes.

Physiotherapy treatment:

  • physiotherapy that enhances the effect of drugs;
  • special massage that promotes blood circulation and regulates muscle tension;
  • therapeutic gymnastics for the development of the foot and ligaments.

Lifestyle adjustments:

  • a salt-free diet to normalize the body’s water-salt balance;
  • weight loss program (if necessary);
  • comfortable orthopedic shoes or special means (insoles, inserts, instep supports).

In cases of fractures, ruptures of tissues and ligaments, dislocations, the patient may need a plaster cast or surgery.

Folk methods

After it became clear why it hurts to step on the heel, in simple cases, to alleviate the condition, relieve swelling, folk remedies can be used as an auxiliary anti-inflammatory treatment.

Important! We are talking about supplementing the main therapy prescribed by the doctor, but not about ways to cure the disease.

Several recipes of traditional medicine, which have collected numerous positive reviews.

  • The most popular and easiest way to relieve painful sensations is to use contrasting temperatures, for which the feet are alternately lowered into baths with cold and hot water. Also suitable for preventing problems after a day on your feet.
  • Burdock leaf. Has anti-inflammatory effect, helps relieve swelling and fatigue. The sheet is wrapped around the heel (glossy side) and fixed, applied overnight.
  • Rubbing and massaging the feet with any alcohol solution. This warming treatment improves blood circulation, relieves spasms and inflammations. After rubbing, put on warm socks and leave until morning.
  • Honey compress. Honey restores the elasticity of damaged tissues, has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. At night, the foot is coated with honey, wrapped in foil and insulated with a woolen sock.

Carefully! Honey can cause an allergic reaction, it is worth checking the skin for sensitivity before use.

These are just a few popular ways of dealing with morning soreness in the legs, which, like any ailment, are better prevented than treated. To avoid the sad consequences, you should take good care of your legs, give them rest during the day and make contrasting baths in the evening to relieve fatigue.

And, of course, one should not bring the uncomfortable state to an unbearable one, it is better to understand its causes as soon as possible.

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