how to treat morning foot painMany of my patients complain their feet hurt when they get out of bed first thing in the morning. This isn’t surprising. During the night when we’re sleeping our muscles repair themselves, but they also relax and get shorter. When we put weight on our feet first thing in the morning our muscles reactivate. That reactivation can be a morning wake up call for all kinds of foot conditions.

Here are 5 reasons your feet hurt when you wake up in the morning.

1. Plantar Fasciitis

The most common reason your feet can hurt in the morning is due to a condition called plantar fasciitis or heel pain. It’s caused by an inflammation of the structure that runs along the bottom of your foot called the plantar fascia. When you sleep this structure tightens up causing pain when you put your feet on the ground first thing in the morning.

What can you do about this pain?

While there are some things you can do on your own to help relieve this condition, most often you’ll need to see a podiatrist, particularly if you have a moderate or severe case.

stretch your calves before getting out of bedHow To Treat Plantar Fasciitis at Home


To help with the pain first thing in the morning, instead of getting out of bed right away you can use a yoga strap, belt, or towel to stretch your calf muscles. Because your calf muscles are the main structure that tightens up while you sleep this can help relieve that initial pain you feel in the morning. In addition, it’s important to stretch your calf muscles a couple of times a day to keep them loose, particularly after sitting for long periods of time.

Reducing Inflammation

To help with plantar fasciitis it’s important to keep down the inflammation. Try icing and massaging your heels using a frozen water bottle and taking an anti-inflammatory medication.

Get Rid of Non-Supportive Shoes

Check your shoes. If they’re not providing support or if they old and worn out, get rid of them. Watch the video below to learn how to purchase more supportive shoes.


over the counter inserts for plantar fasciitisBuy Over-the-Counter Inserts

Sometime over-the-counter inserts may be all you need for mild plantar fasciitis. We recommend Redi-thotics or Powersteps.

If you have a moderate or severe case of plantar fasciitis, you will need to see a podiatrist to get more advanced care. Learn more about what causes this condition and what else your podiatrist can do to heal it, by visiting our heel pain page.

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2. Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis pain in the morningAchilles tendonitis is another common condition I see in the office that can be more painful in the morning. Instead of the plantar fascia being the root of the problem, the Achilles tendon which runs along the back of the heel is the structure that becomes inflamed.

While this structure plays a different role and is in a different location than the plantar fascia, the causes of this condition are very similar to those of plantar fasciitis. However, it is more commonly seen in athletes.

Treatment of this condition is quite similar to that for plantar fasciitis including reducing inflammation, wearing more supportive shoes, stretching, and wearing orthotics. In addition, because it’s so common in athletes, it’s important to stop activities like running so the Achilles tendon can heal.

Again, while some mild forms of this condition can be treated at home, more moderate or severe versions should be seen by a podiatrist. Untreated Achilles tendonitis place you at higher risk for a Achilles tendon tear or rupture and can also lead to a degenerative form of this condition. To learn more about what else cause Achilles tendonitis, how it’s treated, and prevented by visiting us here.

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arthritis of the foot is worse in the morning3. Arthritis

Midfoot arthritis and another form of arthritis called fibromyalgia can both be more painful with first steps out of bed in the morning.

Midfoot Arthritis

Midfoot arthritis can have many different causes so its treatment can vary. For example, while osteoarthritis of the foot is caused by a breakdown in the cartilage and other tissues in the foot joints, rheumatoid arthritis is an immune disorder and causes inflammation in the foot. Treatment can entail a combination of medications specifically for those disorders, proper shoes, weight loss, cortisone injections, and orthotics.


Fibromyalgia is another type of arthritis. Typically, sufferers will have pain in multiple locations in their body. Because poor sleep is one of the primary causes, it’s not uncommon for the feet to feel more painful first thing the morning. Often the pain will dissipate with movement. Treatments for fibromyalgia in the feet focus primarily on providing better foot support. If a patient has flat feet or pronates it will be important to obtain over-the-counter or custom orthotics to keep the feet in proper alignment. Foot massage and hot foot soaks with Epsom salts can also be helpful. Mild stretching with a belt or yoga strap before getting out of bed can also help reduce foot pain with first steps in the morning.

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4. Overall Foot Muscle Pain

Overall muscle pain in your feet can occur if you don’t get a good night’s sleep or if your body is not properly conditioned. For that reason, overall muscle pain in the feet is more common in weekend warriors or people who exercise once in a while.

To prevent overall muscle pain in your feet, get proper rest, soak your feet in a moderately hot Epsom salt bath after working out, and give yourself a foot massage. For long term prevention it’s important to train properly for your sport and build up slowly, no more than 10% a week.

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5. Foot Cramps

In addition to overexertion, foot cramps may also be caused by dehydration, lack of certain nutrients, certain medications, and hormonal factors. Prevention of foot cramps involves getting to the root of the problem with your doctor or podiatrist. Learn more about how to prevent foot cramps here.

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Need Relief From Morning Foot Pain in Seattle, Washington? Request an Appointment Now

Don't let foot pain cause you to miss out on the activities you enjoy. Complete the contact form on this page or call our office, the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City, at 206-368-7000 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Rion Berg.

Most new patients are seen within 1-2 week's time. During your initial visit, Dr. Berg will spend up to 30 minutes getting to know you, your podiatry complaints, and your goals so that he can recommend the treatment best meets your needs. Don’t wait—contact us today.

North Seattle Foot & Ankle Specialist Dr. Rion Berg offers compassionate podiatry care for all foot and ankle problems to those living in Seattle Washington and the surrounding areas. Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an immediate appointment or request an appointment online.


Dr. Rion Berg
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A podiatrist in North Seattle treating families for over 40 years.
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Andy Becker 12/18/2023 7:25 PM
When should I see a doctor for my foot pain?
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Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City 12/19/2023 12:35 PM
No foot pain is normal. If you're experiencing pain, it's important to visit a podiatrist to get your problem assessed and treated.
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