why do my feet hurt in the morning when i get out of bed

Why Do My Feet Hurt in the Morning When I Get Out of Bed?

Do you normally experience pain in your feet when you take the first step after waking up or sitting for a long time? If so, then it could be a sign of several feet problems.

One of the common questions that orthopedists and physical therapists get from their patients is: Why do my feet hurt in the morning when I get out of bed? This article looks at some of the most common causes of heel pain in the morning.

5 Causes of Heel Pain in the Morning


This type of heel pain usually occurs in the form of stiffness or pain in your heel when you step out of bed in the morning. There are several reasons why you could be experiencing this pain, including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, rheumatoid arthritis, among others. Here is a more detailed look at the common causes of heel pain in the morning.

1. Plantar Fasciitis

Your heel bone is connected to your toes by a flat band of tissue (ligament) known as the plantar fascia. This ligament usually serves as a shock-absorbing bowstring that supports your foot’s arch. So, if you put your foot under excess pressure for a long time, your plantar fasciitis might get torn or become inflamed, causing heel pain in the morning.

This condition is commonly referred to as plantar fasciitis, and it normally presents a stabbing pain at the bottom of your foot near the heel. Although the stiffness and pain may go away after taking a few steps, your foot may hurt more as time goes by. It usually hurts the most when you are climbing stairs or standing for a prolonged period.

Common factors that increase your risk of developing plantar fasciitis include age, certain exercises, faulty feet mechanics, obesity, work that requires you to stay on your feet for a long period, and pregnancy. You shouldn’t ignore this heel pain because it can easily prevent you from performing important tasks and exercises.

Also, you should not try to change how you walk or stand to reduce heel pain because it can lead to other serious hip, feet, knee, and back problems.

Before you go to a doctor for treatment, you should try several home remedies like taking pain-relieving medications. Medicines such as ibuprofen and naproxen can help you to ease the pain and inflammation caused by plantar fasciitis. You should also try to give the affected foot enough rest and get a new pair of athletic shoes.

Toes, calf, and towel stretches are also quite effective in relieving heel pain, especially if performed a few times a day. Ice therapy is another easy way to minimize heel pain and inflammation.

Therefore, you should always put a packet of ice on the affected heel for about 20 minutes after the strenuous activity. If none of these remedies seems to relieve the pain, you should see a doctor immediately.

2. Achilles Tendinitis

If your Achilles tendon, a band of tissue connecting your calf muscles to your heel bone, becomes inflamed, you will have Achilles tendinitis. This condition causes stiffness and pain in the heel, especially in the morning when blood circulation in this area is limited. Unfortunately, you can’t walk off the pain and discomfort caused by Achilles tendinitis.

3. Rheumatoid Arthritis

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you are more susceptible to plantar fasciitis. This causes heel pain in the morning when you step out of bed. The above-mentioned home remedies can help you relieve heel pain. But the pain doesn’t go away after trying these home remedies, you should see a doctor immediately. In most cases, the doctor will recommend you to wear a night splint to keep the affected foot flexed.

4. Stress Fracture

Sometimes your heel will get a stress fracture from overuse, intense athletic activity, or wrong technique. This type of heel pain develops over several days or weeks, and can also cause swelling. If you have a stress fracture, you will experience heel pain throughout the day. While some home remedies might help to reduce the pain, your foot needs to be checked by a doctor as soon as possible.

5. Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism occurs when there is a disruption of chemicals and hormones in your body, causing inflammation and swelling in your feet, ankles, and heels. This disruption can also lead to tarsal tunnel syndrome, which causes a pinch and damage to the tibial foot nerve. So, if you experience unexplained heel pain when you get out of bed in the morning, you should see a doctor for a blood test to check your thyroid.

What to Do When You Have Heel Pain in the Morning

What to Do

Heel pain in the morning can easily limit your ability to walk and perform other important functions normally, which will, in turn, lower your quality of life and leave you feeling stressed. The pain is usually severe in the morning because your muscles and ligaments in the affected area become somewhat contracted and stiff at night, especially the plantar fascia.

So, when you take your first step in the morning, you are separating the healing plantar fascia tissues. Here are three main steps you need to take to reduce heel pain in the morning.

1. Write Your Name with Your Feet

Before you jump out of bed in the morning, take a few minutes to stretch your feet. You can do this by trying to write your name in the air with your feet. You can even write all the letters of the alphabet with your feet. This helps to stretch the muscles and other tissues in your feet.

Do the stretches with one foot at a time while imagining that you are writing your name with your big toe. One minute of stretching for each toe is enough to get the blood flowing to different parts of your feet and prepare your muscles for the long day ahead. These stretches also help to remove waste products that settle around your sore heels at night and warm up your tissues so that they can endure your body weight.

2. Use a Tennis Ball

For this remedy, you will need a real tennis ball. This exercise works more effectively when performed together with the first step. The two steps will get your heels moving more freely and without pain. Just put the ball on the floor and massage your feet with it before you take the first step in the morning and at night before you go to bed.

This helps to stimulate blood flow and relieve tension in your feet by removing painful and inflammatory fluids that build up overnight or during the day. You can do this exercise while sitting on your bed or a chair next to your bed with your foot resting on the ball.

Do not grind your foot into the ball, instead just let the weight of your leg do the work. However, you should apply as much pressure as possible while ensuring that your feet are still comfortable.

Massage each foot back and forth over its full length (from heel to toe) for at least one minute. You should also roll the ball around your forefoot in small circles for about 30 seconds. Then roll the ball around on your heels in small circles for another 30 seconds. These exercises will prepare your feet for strenuous activities, reducing the risk of injuries.

3. Ice It

If your foot is swollen, it will make the heel pain even worse in the morning. Therefore, you should use ice to cool the swollen tissues and speed up healing. Ice therapy has been proven to help reduce inflammations and relieve soft-tissue pain.

You just need to put a packet of ice or frozen gel on your feet for about 20 minutes before you go to bed or after strenuous activity. You can even use a bottle of frozen water to cool your feet. Just roll your feet over the bottle back and forth through the arches of your feet using the weight of your legs only. This massaging exercise should take 3-5 minutes on each foot.

When to Seek Medical Help for Your Heel Pain

Heel Pain

Unfortunately, sometimes these home remedies aren’t enough to alleviate the heel pain completely. So, you might have to seek help from your doctor. Here are some of the instances when you should see your doctor immediately:

• Severe pain and swelling near your heel

• Inability to bend your foot downward, rise on your toes, or walk normally

• Heel pain with fever, numbness, or tingling in your heel

• Severe heel pain immediately after an injury

• Heel pain that continues when you’re not walking or standing

• Heel pain that lasts several weeks, even after you’ve tried rest, ice, and other home treatments

Also, you should seek medical advice from your doctor if you are not sure of the cause of the heel pain, or if you are not aware of the specific treatment recommendations for the pain.

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