Most people experience heel pain during the day, as soon as they wake up and make their first step in the morning, and also severe pain in the heel that may cause one to limp. There are some people though who experience discomfort and pain in the heel at night when they are trying to sleep.
There are a lot of possible causes of experiencing heel pain at night such as poor circulation, arthritis, broken or bruised bone, and pinched a nerve. Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain but the pain is usually felt as you do your first steps when you get out of bed. It can still produce pain while laying down at night. Plantar fasciitis is a condition wherein the plantar fascia or the flat tendon-like structure that stretches from the heel to the bottom of the foot gets inflamed or irritated. The inflammation can be caused by repetitive strain and stress that creates small tears in the tendon.
The most common reason for heel pain that occurs at night is the pressure on the Sciatic nerve which causes referred heel pain. This referred heel pain is caused by an irritation of the nerve in the leg.
What matters is you get the proper diagnosis for the underlying cause of the heel pain that you are experiencing at night. This is to get the proper care and treatment for your heel pain. It’s best to have a podiatrist diagnose the heel pain that you are experiencing.
Here are other possible causes of experiencing heel pain at night:
- Nerve Entrapment in the Heel or Pinched Nerve
Entrapped or irritated nerve on the heel or on the inside of the ankle causes a building pain all throughout the day and a throbbing that gets worse at night when laying in bed. One of the most frequent causes of chronic heel pain next to plantar fasciitis is nerve entrapment. Experiencing heel pain without suffering from a fall or a bruise on the heel or even without stepping on a rock can be caused by a nerve entrapment in the heel. The pinched nerve may also be located at the back which may result in radiating pain to travel down to your leg and into the foot and heel. Pinched nerves often bring about pain when one is doing repetitive and excessive motion or during prolonged periods of rest. A pinched nerve can also be a result of holding the body in one position for a prolonged period. Pinched nerves cause numbness, swelling, and pain in your feet if the nerve compression lasts for a longer period because the protective barrier surrounding that nerve may break down. That protective barrier is the one causing the numbness and swelling in the area of the heel which may worsen at night.
The treatment for nerve entrapment depends on the severity of the pain felt. Sometimes, you just need to rest and avoid restricting or repetitive activities that caused the compression. Massage, strengthening stretches and exercises, custom foot orthotics, and physical therapy can help in reducing the heel pain caused by pinched nerves at night.
- Peripheral Vascular Disease
The peripheral vascular disease is a circulatory problem that is caused by the reduced blood flow, narrowed blood vessels, block, or spasms to the legs and to the feet. It can cause an aching and burning pain while resting most especially at night. It also brings about sores and redness that do not heal.
The treatment of a peripheral vascular disease includes medications, lifestyle changes, angioplasty or related treatments, surgery, or a combination of the different treatments.
- Bed Sore
When laying down in bed, especially if you have been laying down for hours, the blood gets pushed out of the skin that rests on the bed supporting the weight of your body.
The blood that gets squeezed out of the tissue is the one causing the heel pain because of the pressure brought about by the weight of the body. Longer periods of sleep, taking medications that put you to a deep sleep, and if you have an underlying condition with the blood flow to the feet, you are prone to experiencing heel pain at night. Advancing in age also makes you more prone to having ‘bed sores’ because the collagen in the skin becomes less springy and it cannot withstand the pressure that much anymore. The fat layer under the skin surrounding the ankles and feet also lessons which also contributes to developing this problem.
To resolve this problem, use a sheepskin blanket and put it directly on the heels. Make sure that the blankets that you are using are lightweight. In severe cases, a doctor may require a specialty pressure diffusing mattress that can be bought from an orthopedic supply company or a blanket support or blanket lift bar that is specifically made to fit under a mattress and relieve the feet from extra weight.