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morning heel pain as feet get out of bed near an alarm clock the heel feels sharp and sore

Why Your Morning Heel Pain Is A Wake-Up Call

A guide to taking back your first steps from morning heel pain in Melbourne from a local podiatrist.

Melbourne, the city that never sleeps, but what about you?

Are you waking up to a sharp jolt of pain under your heel, turning the start of your day into a relentless challenge? You might be one of many, silently (or not so silently for some of us) suffering, believing it to be a case of plantar fasciitis, getting old, or too much activity.


Record scratch.

Let’s examine that morning heel pain together, you might find the answers your looking for.

The Hidden Miscreants of Morning Heel Pain

Your heel pain might be an unsolved mystery, with the wrong suspect in the spotlight.

Plantar fasciitis, while a common villain, is not the only troublemaker. Stealthier conditions like Baxter’s neuritis or a heel fat pad injury can be the real culprits, often masquerading as plantar fasciitis.

Consider the story of a client who walked (rather painfully) into our Melbourne podiatry clinic. They woke up each morning to a sharp pain, a sensation akin to stepping on a small stone. A brief chat with their GP and a hasty Google search led them to self-diagnose plantar fasciitis.

However, the plot thickened in our examination room. Their pain was not due to plantar fasciitis. Instead, it was a heel fat pad injury – an unwelcome painful tear to the fatty padding under their heel bone.

Upon unveiling the true nature of their pain, we embarked on a journey towards treatment, driven by their goal to once again partake in Melbourne’s thriving morning life, pain-free.

The Roadmap to Reclaiming Your Mornings

If a sharp under-heel pain greets you every morning, here are three crucial steps to set you on the path of recovery.

Tip #1: Embrace tape

When it’s a your heel fat pad that’s been injured your first and every step is going to be very painful. So why not use your rigid sports strapping tape to keep your heel fat pad tucked in together and comfortable when you walk.

It’s an easy strap, much easier than strapping for traditional plantar fasciitis.

Grab your tape and run a loop around your heel from the inside to the outside. Then, using two or three (depending how thick your tape is) straps to tightly squish the fat under your heel together. 

As a podiatrist who’s been using this strapping technique for many years, I find it easiest to start on the outside and move to the inside for the first strap, and then go inside to outside for the second.

Tip #2: Shoes for morning heel pain

Ever wondered why some shoes felt real hard under your heel when they were actually quite soft? 

Chances are that shoe had a flat sole with minimal heel counter support. It doesn’t matter how good the sole of your shoe is at cushioning your feet if your heel isn’t supported to sit comfortable on top of that foam.

Grab a pair of supportive, cushioned running shoes with a nice heel cup to snuggly hold your (taped up) heel in the shoe. If you can’t wear runners, this is were an orthotic inside your shoes is even more important to help you out.

An example of a soft, cushioned and supportive shoe with a great heel counter is the Asics Nimbus.

Tip #3: Seek Guidance from a Podiatrist

Do not fall into the trap of complacency or self-diagnosis.

Seek out a podiatrist, and a good one at that. We’re your own private detective who can unravel the mystery of your pain and lead you towards an appropriate treatment plan.

You wouldn’t want to waste time and energy treating the wrong cause of your morning heel pain would you? During your session with your podiatrist, together, you’ll assess and establish a diagnosis, cause and what you can do to overcome your heel pain.

If you’re suffering with a heel fat pad injury like the example above you can expect strapping and shoes to be part of your solution. However, if your have one of the many other types of heel pain you might go down the path of shockwave therapy, exercise therapy, shoes, orthotics and more.

Take Charge, Take Action On Morning Heel Pain

Your morning heel pain is not a mere discomfort; it is a clarion call for attention. Answer it. Seek the counsel of a podiatrist, unearth the cause of your discomfort, and stride towards the gift of pain-free mornings.

Remember, we are at your service. Our podiatrists are available for appointments at our clinics. Our mission? To help you start your day on the right foot, ready to embrace Melbourne life, unencumbered by heel pain.

Before You Go

While morning heel pain can often be plantar fasciitis or a heel fat pad injury, there are many other types of heel pain you can struggle with. Our podiatrists developed a free online heel pain test you can take to help you find the cause of yours.

About the Author

tim mulholland podiatrist melbourne and pascoe vale

Tim Mulholland, a seasoned podiatrist in Pascoe Vale and Melbourne CBD, has weathered the storms of foot and heel conditions. When not helping clients overcome morning heel pain he’s spending his mornings running the tracks of Melbourne.