Why do I have Foot Pain in the Morning?

13 Mar Why do I have Foot Pain in the Morning?

Morning Foot Pain

You wake up ready and eager to start your day when all of a sudden, a sharp stab of pain in your foot gives you a rude awakening.

What’s going on? Why did you go to bed feeling fine and wake up with foot pain that’s already starting to ruin your day?

Many Things Can Cause Morning Foot Pain

Each of your feet contains 26 muscles and over 100 ligaments. That’s a lot of moving parts and at any given time, any one of them could suffer an injury or simply get worn out. Because these moving parts are all interconnected, it can be tricky to diagnose for yourself exactly where the pain is coming from, or what’s causing it.

The smartest approach is to consult a foot care specialist who can give you the right diagnosis and send you on your way with pain-free feet. Here are some possible causes of foot pain when you wake.

Plantar Fasciitis

A sharp pain in your heel that seems to get worse after you’ve been sitting or lying down is one of the hallmarks of plantar fasciitis. It’s an inflammation of the plantar fascia, the ligament that connects the heel to the toes.

Injuries or overuse can cause the plantar fascia to overstretch and weaken. This can happen if you engage in an intense physical activity, if you’re overweight, if you suffer from shin splints that you ignore or if you regularly wear shoes without proper arch support. To heal plantar fasciitis, you’ll need to consult a podiatrist, who will usually prescribe a regimen of pain medication, gentle stretching, rest and custom orthotics.

Ingrown Nail

Ingrown nails occur when the nail grows outward into the skin of the next toe instead of growing straight out. It sounds painful and it is. That irritating slice of the toe will dig into your skin and cause it to turn red and swollen. A podiatrist can cut out the offending ingrown nail and use a special splint that will help it grow straighter.


It’s called the “disease of kings” because it’s often associated with a diet high in rich, fatty foods and alcohol. King Henry VIII is believed to have suffered from gout, which no doubt contributed to his bad mood and marital problems. Gout usually attacks the big toe. The symptoms tend to strike late at night or early in the morning and include extreme, burning pain, redness, and swelling.

An attack of gout will make walking difficult and painful. Gout won’t go away on its own, so if you think you have it, you need a doctor’s advice on pain medications and preventive measures.

Heel Spur

A bony growth on the heel that looks like a tiny spur, this painful condition usually results from wearing the wrong shoes. High heels, especially those with pointed toes, are a chief culprit. Wearing worn-out running shoes that have lost their support can also cause heel spurs. A podiatrist can shave the spur down and prescribe medications and custom orthotics to ease the pain.

Stone Bruise

If you dropped a heavy object on your foot or slammed it into something, a stone bruise might be lurking under your heel. It’s a deep bruise that shows up on your heel pad. Stone bruises cause tenderness and your feet will hurt as soon as they hit a hard floor. A stone bruise will eventually fade, but you’ll have to rest your foot for at least a week. A foot care doctor can prescribe topical pain medications.


Like plantar fasciitis, bunions often feel worse after you’ve been inactive for a while. A bunion is a hard, swollen lump that forms on the base of your toe. In many cases, they force the toe to turn outward, giving the characteristic “twisted” look of bunions.

Bunions are usually caused by wearing shoes that are too tight or not supportive. A podiatrist will help you select the right shoes and outfit you with custom orthotics. In severe cases, you’ll need surgery followed by rehabilitation.

Fungal Nail

You might think of it as just an ugly embarrassment, but nail fungus can cause intense itching, flaking, and redness on your skin. It tends to feel worse in the morning, as the fungus intensifies and spreads across your toes.

Scratching at your feet to get relief will tear your skin and make the inflammation worse. Consult a podiatrist for soothing, permanent relief of fungal nail.

Make Your Mornings Brighter

At Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine, we know that happy, healthy feet are the start of a great day and a healthy life. If you’re suffering mysterious foot pain in the morning, give us a call. We’ll find out what’s causing your morning misery and help you wake pain-free every day.

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