View Full Version : Sore Stiff Feet in the Morning!

09-28-2003, 08:10 PM
Hi..I need some answers! I better get to my doc. I wake up and hit the ground out of bed with very stiff and sore feet....OUCH. Why?

I am not overweight...and I am 36? What gives? Arthritis so soon?

After I walk for a bit...it seems I stretch out the pain.



09-28-2003, 08:16 PM
I'm new to the board, so I hope you don't mind me jumping in here with this as my first post. I had a similar experience in my late 20s. In my case (hopefully not yours) it was the most dominant sign of an autoimmune disorder--lupus. Back then, my doctor told me that bilateral pain (same place on both sides of the body) concentrated in the small bones (hand and feet) was often a sign of some sort of autoimmune process. Mine also felt better once I had a chance to move around a little. I had the whole gamut of tests and discovered that I did, indeed, have lupus. If this problem has gone on for more than a few days, I would go to the doctor and get it checked out.

Little Bit
09-28-2003, 08:23 PM
Other things to think about:
How long the discomfort lasts?
Activities the previous day that affect your feet (high heels, perhaps?)??

Do you routinely perform stretching exercises?? I remember a lot of them in my yoga class, and they really felt great.

I still remember how tight my hamstrings got back in the days when I did aerobics. Ow! :)

Hope you figure it out.

09-29-2003, 06:14 AM
The plantar fascia is a band of muscle that runs from the ball of the foot to the heel and depending on you shoes, you walking style, if you have a tendency for foot cramping, etc. etc. can become sore when it relaxes overnight while you're sleeping, giving you sore feet in the am when you stand up. I had this for a while when I first started wearing Birkenstocks, as they have a high arch that my own arch had to get used to. There are plenty stretches you can do to get your feet going in the morning--just look up plantar fascia on the web...

Good Luck, its not fun limping around in the a.m.!


09-29-2003, 06:15 AM
I've had this happen occasionally (for short periods of time). It used to happen a lot when I was pregnant. Now I have episodes of it. It predominantly occurs on the soles of my feet. I think I've figured out it is water retention.

09-29-2003, 06:22 AM
If it is plantar fascitis, rolling a golf ball with the ball of your foot helps helps repair the problem--it sort of massages that part of your foot. (I know this sound strange, but it really does help) Since it's a matter of healing the problem , not just the morning symptom, this can be done anytime--while watching tv, maybe.

You definitely should go to an orthopedic person to find out for sure.


09-29-2003, 01:53 PM
Another thing to do if it is plantar fascitis is take a frozen can of soup and rub your feet across it. This stretches the tendon and the ice helps with inflammation. You can also take a towel and while laying down, hold the ends in each hand and stretch your foot against the towel to stretch. This is a good one to do in the morning to help relieve the pain.

09-29-2003, 03:05 PM
Christinew, a lot of different things are possible, but just to take a wild guess (feel free to PM or post additional information) I'd say it's likely that it is plantar fasciitis. PF is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a band of connective tissue that connects at the lower/middle/front area of your foot and sort of broadens out to the ball of your foot. It can get inflamed for a variety of reasons, but usually it's due to a loss of the normal arches in your feet or some sort of trauma. I had the traumatic kind (too much weight doing calf raises one winter) and no one was any help (I was a student), so I researched the heck out of it and I use the info with patients all the time and it works great. The hallmark of PF is that the pain is more severe when you hop out of bed or after you've been sitting/off your feet for a while, then gets better with movement, although not always.

One misconception is that PF is caused by bone spurs on your calcaneus (the bone that makes up the heel of your foot), but this is not substantiated in the literature. The presence of a bone spur is inconsequential to PF, so don't even think about having one looked for or messed with until you've tried eveything else!

There are four things, mainly, that play into PF. Inflammation, biomechanics, alignment and footwear.

1) When things are realy bad, like after a long ay on your feet, etc, the best thing is to dunk your feet in ice water for a few minutes. It sucks, but it will cut down on the inflammation a lot. Nutritionally speaking, cutting down on omega-6 fatty acids (meats and grains) and adding omega-3's to your diet (flaxseed oil, fish oil, salmon, mackerel, sardines, etc, vegetables) will shift your body from pro-inflammatory to anti-inflammatory (if you really want to know why it will take a few pages to explain!) and may help a lot if you are prone to inflammation-mediated pain. At least try taking 4 average fish oil or flasxeed oil tablets every day for a while and see what happens.

2) Biomechanics- loss of arch will stretch the plantar fascia and cause a lot of problems. It will also affect your ankles, knees, hips, sacroiliac joints and even higher in your spine. This "kinematic chain" has much more to do with your whole body than just your feet. Supporting proper arches makes a big difference. I am a big believer in Birkenstock sandals (they have studies showing the efficacy of treating PF with their sandals). You can also use their orthotics in other shoes, or just invest in their shoes, too. Custom orthotics can be effective, too, but most people do well with a stock product like Birkenstocks and don't need to take that extra step.

3) Alignment- poor foot biomechanics could be the result of wear and tear or from subluxations of the small bones in your feet. When dealing with a patient, I always carefully check their ankles and feet. Some never have a problem after a few adjustments and occasional maintenance care. Others will be far enough into the problem that they are in good shape for a few days but their arches flatten out right away. In such a case I adjust their feet/ankles, etc and support those adjustments with good footwear.

4) Footwear- good quality shoes are essential. Something with good support for all of your arches, not just the main one. Born, Birkenstock, Rockport and many others are pretty good. Cheap shoes get you nowhere. Really soft spongy ones are just as bad, if not worse.

Two home-care things you can do:
1) Roll a ball like a rubber doggie toy under your foot, or golf ball, back and forth, side to side, corner to corner, etc. This helps work out subluxations in the bones of your feet and gets adhesions worked out of your PF. Both feet, few minutes at a time, few times per day.
2) Stretch. Mainly you need to stretch the calf muscles. The best way is to stand with the balls of your feet on the edge of a step, positioned like you're walking up the steps. Let your body weight pull your heels down. DO NOT BOUNCE! Just let weight and gravity do its thing. There is a good chance you will feel a good stretch in your calves, but not your feet. If this is the case, rotate your heels outward a little bit and continue stretching and you'll notice a HUge difference. Work slowly into this, but try about 30 seconds on each side for a few times per day.

I have a LOT of patients say they get almost complete relief with the adjustments I do alone. Next to that, the stretching and the good shoes is the most important thing. I had a patient scheduled for surgery who did the stretches for a week and cancelled the surgery. She doesn't even do the stretches anymore and she went from awful foot pain to none at all, bust from adjustments and the stretch. It took me a year to be able to run across the street and a couple of years of residual pain, but consistency is the key, assuming you do have PF. These things work great, but only if you do them right AND CONSISTENTLY every day. Feel free to PM me if you want more info.

09-29-2003, 06:24 PM
Thanks to all that posted. I am a little freaked about the Lupus post..since I know that Lupus can present after a pregnancy..is that correct? And I am 11 months post partum.

As for PF. I hope that that is what I have. I will make a Dr. appt soon.

DocAgocs..thank you so much for the most imformative post. I have been worried. Where can I get the flaxseed/fish oil tablets? I am so aware of all the press lately regarding Mercury poisoning that I have cut down on my fish consumption. Need to pick it up a bit...



09-30-2003, 06:02 AM
Christinew, lupus seems a little out there to be worried about so early. It doesn't hurt to run through the tests, but like the old saying, if it looks like a horse, smells like a horse and sounds like a horse, it probably is a horse. Also, I don't believe that people just "get" lupus. It is an autoimmune disease that I think, and there's quite a bit of literature to support this, that is pedicated by liver damage.

But, regardless, if you do have plantar fasciitis, if I could rank what I have found to be the most important things to do I would say:

1) Limit offending behaviors (i.e. running, doing heavy calf raises, etc)
2) Stretch the PF and calves as instructed religiously.
3) Get ankles and feet adjusted.
4) Support 1-3 with good shoes and good inserts or custom orthotics
5) Nutrition (the first four are critical... nutrition is more theoretical in this case, but I've had people reduce post-surgical back pain by 50% simply by taking fish oil capsules).

As far as where to get these things... for flaxseed oil look for an organic source. You can buy flaxseed oil by the bottle at any health food store in the refrigerated section. It has to stay regfrigerated because it is very susceptible to oxidation by air and temperature. Buy the smallest bottle you can because some will oxidize every time you open it (starts to go rancid). Don't cook with it and don't put it on a salad or that sort of thing that isn't going to get eaten immediately. If you go this route, take about a tablespoon per day. The health food store person will try to sell you the more expensive bottle that "has lignans!" Ignore this advice. All flaxseed oil has lignans, so the $2 extra you'll spend on flaxseed oil "with lignans" is just for the added color printing on the label! If you make a smoothie everyday or that sort of thing, just dump the tablespoon in your shake and you're good to go. Otherwise just swallow it down or put it on a salad and eat right away.

I like capsules because of the convenience. The ones I use are made by Standard Process and they are organically grown and have a little B6 added as a natural preservative for good measure. They are made into perles which are like those bath beads that have oil in them. They are completely sealed off from air, which gives them a long shelf life and you have none of the storage or oxidation problems like with the raw oil in a bottle. I know mine have never gone rancid because I break the perle in my mouth and then swallow the oil and it always tastes fine. Anyway, I pay $13 for mine (120 perles, so a 1 month supply). SP is only available through health care providers. For fish oil, a good company seems to be Nordic Naturals. They have sent me some samples and I requested third party testing for lead and other stuff that gets into fish oil and it seems to be a clean product.

The nice thing about flaxseed is that if organically grown, it's just that. The downside is that not everybody has the best enzyme profile for converting flaxeed oil into what your body wants it to be, and so fish oil may be better for some people (this is the case in kids with ADD/ADHD, for example). Biotics and Thorne Research make good fish oil, too, but they are only available through health care professionals. too. Nordic Naturals are carried by many health food stores and you may even be able to get them online. They flavor their stuff with fruity flavors, but it's still a little fishy! Most fish oil capsules are the same size, so unless they are real whoppers, you'll probably want to go with about 4 a day.

09-30-2003, 06:06 AM
Sorry about turning this into a nutrition clinic, but one more thing about fish... if you're going to try to get your omega-3 fatty acids from fish mainly (which I would recommend if you can get clean fish), then avoid farm-raised fish, especially salmon. This goes for all farm raised fish, but I'll use salmon to illustrate this because it's gross. Salmon don't eat grains in the wild, so they are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Grains are high in omega-6. Because grian is cheap and has lots of calories to make animals fatter faster, farm-raised fish get fed grain. The result is that they have very little omega-3 fatty acid in them and mainly omega-6! Also, with salmon, they don't develop that beautiful red color, so the growers dye the fillets red before shipping them out. Yummmy! So, for the omega-3 fatty acids you HAVE to get wild salmon, mackerel or other of the stinky fishes for your oil.