5 Reasons You May be Experiencing Foot Pain in the Morning

May 20, 2020 9:16 am Published by

Stabbing, intense pain in your foot first thing in the morning is no way to wake up. Talk about getting the day off on the wrong foot! That first step out of bed shouldn’t hurt, but for far too many people, it does. 

There are a few causes of this type of foot pain in the morning, or even heel pain in the morning, some more common than others.

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Explore these common causes of foot pain in the morning:

1.) Plantar Fasciitis

This painful condition is by far the most likely source of your foot pain if it strikes immediately upon getting out of bed. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia ligament that connects your toes to your heels becomes painfully inflamed or irritated. If you have this condition, you will notice stabbing pain around your heel when you wake and take that first step of the day. Of course, plantar fasciitis can also cause pain other times of the day, but many sufferers note it most prominently in the morning. 

Symptoms of plantar fasciitis can be more notable right after waking because the blood supply to the heel area is reduced when you sleep. To treat this condition, you can take anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the swelling. You can also massage the area with a tennis ball, by rolling it along your arch, or bottom of foot, or by stretching the area. 

If you believe you’re experiencing this condition, check out these shoes that properly support your arch.

2.) Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder that can cause joint pain and even deformity. With RA, the body actually fights against itself, attacking the fluid within the lining of the joints and the joints themselves. This then leads to inflamed painful joints. 

If you have noticed your feet are painfully stiff and the soles of your feet are so tender you can’t walk on them when you wake, this type of arthritis could be the culprit. RA most often affects the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joints, which can cause an eventual shift in the toes. It can also cause pain on the ball of the foot and affect the talonavicular and ankle joints. 

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There are other types of arthritis that can also result in foot pain, which can be especially noticeable in the morning. For example, osteoarthritis is especially common and is often called the “wear and tear” arthritis due to its degenerative and age-related properties. 

Although it’s almost impossible to cure arthritis, especially RA, there are treatments that can limit the symptoms and somewhat slow its progression. Anti-inflammatory medications, arch supports, braces and more are often utilized to lessen the severity of arthritis.

3.) Flat Feet

This condition, known as both flat feet and fallen arches, happens when you have low or no arches. This lack of arch then causes the sole of your foot to touch the ground when standing, instead of just your heel and the front pad of your foot. 

While flat foot might not cause pain itself, it can result in painful swelling in the arch and heel. This pain is caused by the lack of support for the ligaments and foot muscles, which causes strain. If you face foot pain first thing in the morning and are concerned about flat feet, have a podiatrist formally diagnose you with the condition. From there, they may recommend therapy, stretches and proper footwear to mitigate your pain. 

4.) Bone Spurs

A bone spur occurs when the bone grows abnormally, causing it to rub other tissues in the area or nerves, which can cause pain. When you have a bone spur in your foot, it’s often located in the heel area and can cause intense pain, especially first thing in the morning. 

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If you have plantar fasciitis, you are more likely to experience a bone or heel spur, as often, these are a by-product of the condition. Consult your doctor about concern of a bone spur, as a MR scan is often required to properly diagnose.

5.) Ill-Fitting Shoes

The final reason you might experience foot pain first thing in the morning is ill-fitting shoes. Your shoes should always fit perfectly and provide adequate arch support, especially if you have a pre-existing foot condition that requires special footwear. In fact, according to findings from a study published by the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, many foot pain and foot disorders are directly related to wearing incorrect footwear.

In the study, some 63 to 72% of participants who had foot health-related issues were found to be wearing improperly fitting shoes. Therefore, if you are having pain in your feet, one of the first things you should check is the fit of your shoes. Here are our top tips, straight from our podiatrists, for finding the right fit when shoe shopping

Your Next Step

At Foot & Ankle Group, we are committed to helping you walk, run and live pain-free. In fact, your relief may be just a few steps away. 

Our dedicated staff can often get you in for a same day appointment if your pain is severe. We also offer a wide variety of treatment options, including therapeutic remedies that are designed to prevent the need for more invasive procedures, to get you back on your feet as quickly as possible. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

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Welcome, Dr. Elaine Felix!


Dr. Felix has extensive training in treating all aspects of the foot and ankle including arthroscopy, sports injuries, trauma, reconstructive surgery, wound care, as well as forefoot and mid-foot surgery.
We are so excited to have her join our team!
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