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Why You Get Foot Pain in the Morning

Have you noticed an intense, stabbing pain in your feet the moment you wake up? Perhaps you have foot main in the morning when you take your first few steps.  Foot pain in the morning is common but that doesn’t mean you have to live with it. There are several causes for why people get foot pain in the morning, as well as treatment methods that may help.

We’ve broken down several causes of why your feet hurt in the morning to help offer some insight.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that will affect about 10% of people in their lifetime.  People with plantar fasciitis often experience a stabbing pain around the heel when they take their first few steps in the morning.  While the pain is almost always prominent first thing in the morning, it may also appear throughout other times of the day especially after long periods of rest or sitting.  Plantar fasciitis is more painful in the morning due to increased inflammatory activity from the innate immune response over night.  It is also why the common cold tends to get worse in the evenings.  The body’s immune system is more active at night as an effect of the attenuation of cortisol levels in the evening.  This important part of the body’s natural circadian rhythm allows for repair of damage that the body incurs throughout the day. 


Rheumatoid arthritis is a common cause of foot pain in the morning. This condition is an autoimmune disorder that results in joint pain and inflammation. It most often affects the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joints, which can impact the toes and cause pain in both the ball of the foot as well as the ankle joints. People with rheumatoid arthritis often find that they have both stiff feet as well as tender soles of the feet, both of which are most painful in the morning.

Flat Feet

Also known as pes planovalgus, flat feet are not painful in and of themselves, but lead to a litany of clinical conditions such as osteoarthritis in various joints of the feet.  Flat feet can be the result of congenital or genetic anatomic malformations, or it can result later in life from a condition known as posterior tibial tendon dysfunction or PTTD.  If you have flat feet that are causing you pain, there are some forms of over-the-counter orthotics, such as Superfeet, that provide extra support.  It is also recommended that you see a podiatrist to help in the management of your condition. 

Bone Spurs

Bone spurs are when abnormal bone growth rubs against other tissues or nerves.  They are often associated with plantar fasciitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout, and can cause not only pain but also numbness and tenderness. Contrary to previously reported findings, bone spurs in the bottom of the heels are not thought to actually cause pain, but be the result of chronic inflammation.  In rare conditions, such as Baxter’s nerve entrapment, the bone spur can apply undue pressure on a nerve branch which elicits pain. 

Ill-Fitting Shoes

Ill fitting shoes are one of the most common causes of morning foot pain.  A study conducted by the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research found that 63-72% of participants with foot health-related issues were wearing ill-fitting shoes.  The overall stress and strain of non-supportive shoe gear could lead to long term issues such as osteoarthritis.

What to Do About Foot Pain in the Morning

Treatment for foot pain in the morning depends on the cause. People with plantar fasciitis may find that massaging their feet with a high-quality foot cream or rolling their feet over a golf ball helps. If the cause of foot pain in the morning is from flat feet, it may be wise to consider wearing orthotics in your shoes to provide extra support on a regular basis.

Additionally, wearing the right size shoes that fit your feet properly and provide sufficient arch support may help reduce overall foot strain and improve your foot pain in the morning as well as throughout the day.

To keep your feet healthy and for more information on how to maintain healthy feet, visit Sorevna today.

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