It hurts to step on the foot after sleep: why do the feet hurt

Morning. You wake up in a great mood, get up in bed, take a few steps … And the cheerful mood disappears due to sharp or pulling pain in the feet. Don’t panic! It’s time to calm down and analyze your well-being and the events that happened the day before in order to identify the factor that provoked the pain. Let’s together understand the reasons why the feet hurt in the morning after sleep, and how to eliminate them. 

Why do feet hurt after sleep

To quickly deal with the problem, you need to understand that the factors that cause pain in the feet can be external and internal. In the first case, discomfort is a consequence of external influences, loads or injuries. Internal causes of pain are associated with diseases and disorders in the body.

External causes

The reasons from this group are easy to identify on your own. To do this, you need to remember:

what shoes were worn the day before;

whether the legs were subjected to intense stress;

whether there were falls, bruises, sprains.

Let’s consider the causes of pain in the feet when walking after sleep in more detail.

Muscle strain

The first workout in the gym or walking for a long time leads to muscle hypertonia , which persists when a person goes to bed. This symptom will go away without treatment if physical activity continues at the same intensity.

To relieve your condition in the morning, it is recommended that after intense physical activity, before falling asleep, massage each foot well.

Uncomfortable shoes

This reason applies more to women who prefer to wear fashionable high-heeled shoes. Less commonly, men who wear tight, tight boots suffer from it. In response to compression of muscles, blood vessels and nerves, the body reacts with pain. As a rule, unpleasant symptoms disappear within a few hours after taking off your shoes. However, in some cases, the pain in the foot is felt the next morning.

If soreness occurs only after putting on certain shoes, do not wear them anymore.

Bruises and sprains

Even if the bruise was not very severe, it will still hurt to step on your foot in the morning. The fact is that in the area of ​​injury, metabolic processes are activated, blood flow increases and edema forms. During sleep, muscle fibers are relaxed and fluid penetrates between them. Getting out of bed, a person can feel soreness not only at the site of injury, but also in nearby tissues.

What to do with a bruise:

You need to use any anesthetic ointment, anti-inflammatory gel or balm (” Lioton -gel “, “Rescuer”). If a day has already passed since the moment of injury, it is best to resort to the help of warming agents (” Fastum-gel “).

Provide rest to the injured foot.

Undergo restorative procedures (electrophoresis, exposure to UV rays, exercise therapy).

When stretched:

If very little time has passed after the injury, you need to apply cold to the affected area.

To relieve inflammation, it is recommended to “draw” an iodine net on the foot for several days.

Milk compresses help well. Gauze soaked in hot milk is applied to the sore spot, covered with a film and wrapped in a warm cloth. After cooling, the procedure is repeated.

For the first 2–3 days, you need to ensure the rest of the leg by wrapping the injured foot with an elastic bandage.

For the treatment of serious injuries, it is recommended to see a traumatologist. Severe pain may be due to a fracture.


By the end of the day, the foot is larger than in the morning. Therefore, it is advisable to try on shoes before buying in the afternoon.

Walking is easier than standing. It is easier for our body to maintain balance while walking.

There are more than 250 thousand sweat glands on the foot, which are capable of secreting up to 400 ml of fluid daily. Interestingly, the sweat produced by itself does not have an unpleasant odor. The “scent” comes from bacteria living on socks and shoes.

Internal causes of foot pain (diseases)

If the external cause is identified without difficulty, then the internal ones are not always obvious. Sometimes it is difficult to determine why it hurts to get up on both feet after waking up. Most often, morning soreness is provoked by the following diseases.

Joint diseases (arthrosis and arthritis)

They can begin imperceptibly, during the day, manifesting themselves with only slight soreness and discomfort after a long walk. And only a tangible morning pain can serve as the main sign of pathology. If painful sensations arise regularly and the pain decreases, if “disperse”, it is time to visit a rheumatologist. 

Additional symptoms of arthritis are redness of the skin, swelling, change in gait, bouts of acute pain. With arthrosis, stiffness of movements is observed, bone growths may appear.


A disease in which calcium and phosphorus are washed out of the bone tissue, making it hard and durable. It is characterized by the occurrence of pain when walking, often in the ball of the foot, the bases of the fingers. The provoking factors are overweight, old age, the onset of menopause in women, an inactive lifestyle, smoking. If you suspect the development of osteoporosis, it is recommended to consult an orthopedist. 

Lack of potassium and magnesium

If the body lacks these minerals, then seizures can begin. Often the feeling of “twisting” appears not only in the feet, but also in the calf muscles. A convulsive attack occurs in the early morning hours, and a person feels its beginning through a dream. Taking a vitamin and mineral complex will allow you to get rid of discomfort in the morning and get a good night’s sleep.


The early signs of varicose veins are invisible and can be manifested by minor pain and swelling of the feet in the morning. If pain and slight swelling always appear together, then it is worth consulting an angiosurgeon about the condition of the leg veins.

Ankylosing spondylitis

Morning pain in the joints of the feet, thigh, and spine may be a symptom of this chronic inflammatory disease. Most often, men under 30 suffer from it. With these symptoms, you need to contact a therapist or narrow specialists – an orthopedist, rheumatologist.

The disease is difficult to recognize in its early stages and cannot be completely cured. You can only slow down its development, avoiding complications and maintaining good health. The patient is prescribed exercise therapy, classes in the pool, physiotherapy, massage, corticosteroids, anti-inflammatory drugs. The organization of the bed is of great importance: you will have to sleep on a hard mattress, preferably without a pillow and, if possible, on your stomach.

With any suspicion of a pathological process in the feet, you cannot self-medicate, you should consult a doctor.


Inflammation of one of the bursae located on the foot. It manifests itself as pain when walking, decreased joint mobility, fever, poor health, and the formation of edema. Bursitis can affect the area of ​​the thumb, little finger, Achilles tendon, and heel.

Injuries, excessive loads, infections, overweight, uncomfortable shoes provoke the disease. Treatment is tailored to the severity of the disease and may include physical therapy, wearing a bandage, orthopedic shoes, and even surgery.

Plantar fasciitis (heel spur)

Inflammation of the connective tissue lining the inner side of the fossa of the foot. The main reason is the increased long-term load. Overweight, wearing high-heeled shoes, flat feet, poor circulation in the lower extremities, varicose veins, osteochondrosis provoke the disease. 

Acute pain is felt in the morning when trying to step on the heel, worse when walking, by the evening it can become unbearable. The foot hurts in the heel area, but gives to the fingers and lower leg. Painful sensations can occur when walking on stairs, on a hard surface, and when standing for a long time.

In the absence of treatment for fasciitis, the inflamed area is saturated with calcium salts and a bony protrusion is formed – an osteophyte, which is called a heel spur.

If you find these problems, you should make an appointment with an orthopedist, traumatologist or surgeon. Conservative complex treatment or surgery may be prescribed.


Morton’s neuroma is a thickening of the plantar nerve that causes severe pain when walking. It occurs due to wearing narrow shoes, obesity, improper posture, injuries, transverse flat feet, excessive load. The main symptoms are pain in the foot in the morning, burning, tingling, foreign body sensation under the skin, numbness of the fingers. The pain is usually localized in the ball of the foot and in the third interdigital space.  

With such symptoms, you should consult a podiatrist , neurologist, surgeon or orthopedist. Treatment should be comprehensive: the patient is recommended orthopedic insoles and instep supports, massage, ultrasound and physiotherapy, anti-inflammatory drugs. In the absence of a result, surgical removal of the neuroma or excision of the affected area is required.

Podiatrist is a doctor who specializes in foot problems.

Foot pain after sleeping in a child

In children, unlike adults, foot pain can appear after sleep and for other reasons.

Fast growth

It often happens that a child has grown up sharply in a short period of time and complains that in the morning his feet hurt. If there are no pathologies of the legs, then this symptom arises due to the fact that the muscles and blood vessels are slightly behind in growth and, stretching, squeeze the nerve roots. The unpleasant sensations will pass as soon as the muscles and blood vessels grow a little . Treatment in this case is not required, you just need to convince the child that nothing terrible is happening, and include more protein foods in his diet.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Occurs after suffering tonsillitis or other bacterial and viral disease, approximately on the 10-14th day. It is characterized by redness and swelling of the joints of the legs, a sharp increase in temperature. The child will complain of pain in the feet in the morning hours, which prevents him from sleeping. The disease manifests itself acutely and is treated by a pediatric rheumatologist.

VSD by hypotonic type

It is often found in asthenic children. Low blood pressure can cause poor blood supply to the leg muscles during sleep. It is necessary to consult a pediatrician and pediatric cardiologist about the treatment of VSD.

Any diseases of the legs in a child (even rapid growth syndrome) require examination by a doctor. Self-medication with home methods is prohibited: the growing body has not yet been formed, and it can provoke the development of foot pathologies.

How to get rid of foot pain in the morning

If pain occurs every morning and its intensity persists or increases, then perhaps these are the first symptoms of leg disease, which means that you need to be examined by a doctor. If no pathologies have been identified and the pain syndrome is caused by everyday factors, it is recommended:

Choose comfortable shoes (it should not squeeze the leg, be on a stable heel no higher than 4 cm). Fashionistas are allowed to wear high heels, but no more than 4 hours a day. If you walk in narrow shoes for a long time, on a high unstable heel, then soon deformity of the feet will be added to the pain syndrome.

Stabilize your weight. It is possible that the pain and constant fatigue of the feet are associated with increased stress on the joints. If you do not pay attention to this symptomatology in a timely manner, then joint deformity may begin soon.

Review the diet and add foods rich in calcium, magnesium, vitamin D. After consulting your doctor, you can additionally take a mineral and vitamin complex purchased at the pharmacy to prevent morning cramps.

Do contrasting foot baths before bed to improve circulation in the feet at night. Contraindications will be only trauma in the first days and inflammation in the joints.

After a long walk or during unusual physical activity, before going to bed, do a foot massage. Such a simple measure will help get rid of muscle tension.

If your feet hurt in the morning, you need to try to identify and eliminate the cause. If it is impossible to do this on your own, do not postpone the visit to the doctor and self-medicate. Timely therapy will not only allow you to sleep well, but also prevent the development of complications.

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