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Foot Pain That Worsens With Rest: 5 Possible Causes

If you develop foot pain, you’d expect it to hurt more when you’re active than when you’re at rest. However, a number of painful conditions result in pain that worsens with rest.

At Monroe Foot & Ankle Care, serving Monroe Township, New Jersey, podiatric physician Dr. Elliott Perel and his team treat all manner of foot pain, from calluses and corns to overuse injuries and fractures. Here, the team discusses five painful conditions that worsen with rest.

5 possible causes of foot pain that worsens with rest

Not all pain happens when you’re moving. Here are five conditions that cause your foot pain to worsen with rest.

1. Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common overuse injury and one of the most common causes of heel pain. It’s especially prevalent in runners and those who are overweight. It involves inflammation of, and small tears in, the thick band of tissue called the plantar fascia that runs across the sole of your foot, connecting the heel bone to the toes. It’s also responsible for helping to support the foot’s arch.

Plantar fasciitis usually causes a stabbing pain in your heel when you take your first steps in the morning, decreasing as you move around. If you sit or lie down after moving, the pain returns.

Treatment includes:

Usually, conservative measures are enough to resolve the issue.

2. Achilles tendinitis

Achilles tendinitis is also an overuse injury, this time of the tissue band that connects the calf muscles to your heel bone. It’s common among runners who have rapidly increased the intensity or duration of their workouts, as well as middle-aged weekend warriors. The pain is often worse at night or early in the morning, and you’ll feel it in the back of the leg or just above the heel.

Most cases of Achilles tendinitis can be treated with simple, at-home care under your doctor's supervision that includes rest, compression, physical therapy, wearing the proper shoes for the sport, and orthotics. If you don’t rest the injury, it may lead to a rupture, necessitating a surgical repair.

3. Morton’s neuroma

Morton’s neuroma is a build-up of tissue in the nerves that run between the long bones of the foot. It generally occurs when the third and fourth toe bones rub together, squeezing the nerve between them. This squeezing leads to swelling, tenderness, and pain, especially in the ball of your foot. Symptoms tend to worsen whe you go to bed at night.

Treatment includes changing your footwear from tight-front shoes like high heels to shoes with a large toe box and extra padding. If the pain persists, cortisone injections may ease inflammation, or the doctor may consider a surgical approach.

4. Bunions

Bunions are bony protrusions that occur at the base (metatarsophalangeal or MTP) joint of the big toe or the pinky toe (called tailor’s bunions). While a certain percentage are due to genetics, many form as the result of wearing too-tight shoes that squeeze the toes together. As the big toe gets pushed toward the smaller toes, the joint comes out of alignment, forming the bump.

Bunions can range from mildly annoying to pain so severe you can barely walk. And the pain often gets worse at night, after a long day of being on your feet.

If they’re not bothering you too much, bunions can be treated for symptom relief, often by wearing more-appropriate shoes and doing stretching exercises or physical therapy. If the pain is overwhelming, a number of minimally invasive surgical options can help.

5. Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic musculoskeletal condition that causes bodywide pain and stiffness, including pain in the feet and other regions that frequently experience constant pressure and overuse.

At night, low levels of cortisol, an anti-inflammatory hormone, can make pain worse.

Fibromyalgia isn’t curable; most treatment options offer symptom relief.

If you’re dealing with foot pain that gets worse when you rest, it’s time to come into Monroe Foot & Ankle Care for an evaluation and effective treatment. To get started, give our office a call today at 732-978-9569, or schedule your consultation with Dr. Perel online.

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