If you are an athlete or if you simply spend a lot of time on your feet, you may have noticed that the bottom of your feet hurt in the morning, or after you’ve sat for a long time at a desk. It may be one foot or both. The pain decreases when you are wearing shoes, and you do not feel it while you are running or engaging in other forms of exercise.
For an athlete, this sensation can be relatively alarming. The good news is it’s more than likely nothing serious. Pain in the bottom of the feet after long periods of rest, such as sleeping overnight or sitting at a desk for eight hours, is a classic symptom of plantar fasciitis, as well as Achilles tendonitis. The exact location of the pain in the bottom of your feet will help to determine which of these is your culprit.
Read on for a breakdown of exactly why plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinitis causes the bottom of feet to hurt in the morning, or when you stand after sitting for a while, and what to do about it.
Why Do My Feet Hurt When I Wake Up: Plantar Fasciitis
The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue along the bottom of the foot which lends support to the arch of the foot. Think of it as a shock-absorbing bowstring, pulled tight beneath the arch of your foot.
If too much tension and stress are placed on this bowstring, it can tear. Repetitive stretching and tearing in the fascia causes inflammation and irritation, which results in the pain you feel in the bottoms of your feet when you wake up in the morning.
With plantar fasciitis, the pain will be localized in the heel area, or in the arch of the foot. Early in the course of the injury, the pain will only present when you place weight on the plantar fascia after a period of rest. As the injury progresses and worsens, the pain will persist even after you’ve been up and about for several hours.
Plantar fasciitis can occur for any number of reasons, including:
- Age. Plantar fasciitis is most common between the ages of 40 and 60.
- Certain types of exercise. Activities that place a lot of stress on your heel and attached tissue, such as long-distance running, ballistic jumping activities, ballet dancing and aerobic dance, all contribute to early-onset plantar fasciitis. If you are an athlete, for instance, and have recently begun an intense bout of training for a marathon, you may experience pain in bottoms of your feet in the mornings due to plantar fasciitis.
- Foot mechanics. Being “flat-footed”, or having extremely high arches or even an abnormal walking pattern affects the way weight is distributed along the plantar fascia.
- Obesity. Extra weight puts extra stress on the plantar fascia.
- Occupations that keep you on your feet. Aside from athletes, factory workers, teachers, nurses, or others who spend most of their workday walking or standing on hard surfaces can damage the plantar fascia.
Why Do My Feet Hurt When I Wake Up: Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis
Most people afflicted with plantar fascia can improve their condition with conservative methods. Before you get out of bed in the morning, try massaging your foot and stretch the plantar fascia. You can roll your foot over a golf ball or massage it with your hand.
Icing the painful area is also helpful. Medications such as ibuprofen and Aleve will ease the pain and inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis.
Why Do My Feet Hurt When I Wake Up: Achilles Tendonitis
If you’ve attempted to treat plantar fasciitis and are still asking “why do my feet hurt when I wake up?”, Achilles tendonitis could present similar symptoms.
The Achilles tendon is the most powerful tendon in the human body. It connects the backs of your calf muscles to your heel bone and enables movement in the ankle.
Achilles tendinitis is an overuse injury of this tendon and is most common in runners who have suddenly increased the intensity or duration of their runs. It’s also common in middle-aged people who play sports regularly.
Achilles tendinitis can occur for many reasons, including but not limited to:
- Your sex. Achilles tendinitis is most common in men.
- Age. The older you are, the more common Achilles tendinitis becomes
- Physical problems. If you have flat feet more strain is placed on the Achilles tendon. Obesity and overly-tight calf muscles are also contributing factors.
- Training choices. Running in worn-out shoes increases the risk of tendinitis. Tendon pain will occur more frequently in cold weather and running in hilly terrain can predispose you to Achilles injury.
- Medical conditions. People who have psoriasis or high blood pressure are at higher risk of developing Achilles tendonitis.
- Medications. Certain types of antibiotics are correlated with higher rates of Achilles tendinitis.
Why Do My Feet Hurt When I Wake Up: Treatment for Achilles Tendinitis
Tendinitis responds well to self-care methods. If your early morning foot pain is a result of Achilles tendinitis, the pain will be localized to the tendon area, on the back of your ankle above the heel. Stretching this area several times throughout the day can be helpful in alleviating symptoms.
Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen will help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Avoiding exercise for a few days or switching to an activity like swimming that doesn’t strain the Achilles tendon can help ease the pain.
Icing the painful area is always helpful.
Why Do My Feet Hurt When I Wake Up: Conclusion
If the bottom of feet hurt in the morning, this probably means the injury is in its early stages. If this pain persists, your injury is probably getting worse. Seeing a sports medicine specialist early on is the best way to ensure this pain doesn’t affect your day-to-day activities long-term.
At SPORT, we will identify the source of your pain and then utilize state-of-the-art therapeutic techniques that focus on restoring your range of motion.
Depending on the specific condition and its severity, these treatment options may include physical therapy, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, slings, supports, cortisone shots, or surgery.
If you have an acute or chronic foot or ankle injury that needs medical attention, or if you’re just wondering “why do my feet hurt when I wake up?” call SPORT at (469) 200-2832 to arrange a consultation or you can request one online. Hurt today? We can arrange a same-day urgent care visit to ensure you get fast, effective relief.