3 Stretches To Relieve Your Morning Foot Pain

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Do your feet hurt when you wake up and walk in the morning?

Not the best way to start your day!

If all you did last night was sleep, then why can the feet hurt first thing when you walk? Is there a way to fix this?

There’s an answer to it all!

Common Causes of Morning Foot Pain

Let’s be honest, our feet play a big role in supporting us. Unfortunately, the bottoms of the feet, or the plantar surface, can be prone to pain and irritation as a result.

The Way Your Feet Are Shaped

the natural structure of the feet can cause morning foot pain

The natural structure of the feet can sometimes make you more likely to experience pain than others with differently shaped feet.

Flat feet and excessively high arches are common examples of this.

If the feet are too flat, this causes your inner arch of your foot to collapse. As a result, the ankle may natural roll more inwards.

This overstretched position of the foot arch can create weakness in your foot muscles, causing less support when you stand and walk.

If you have high arches, the opposite can happen. The high arch may cause too much tightness in the bottom of the foot.

This high arch could even cause the ankle to want to roll more towards the outer edge of the foot, potentially causing pain.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common causes of foot and heel pain. It classically causes pain first thing in the morning when you wake up and walk.

It happens when the thick band of connective tissue that runs on the bottom of the foot, your plantar fascia, becomes irritated and inflamed.

This can happen as a result of wearing poor-fitting shoes without proper arch support, having an oddly shaped foot and ankle as discussed above, too much standing and walking, or some type of muscle imbalance causing too much tightness and weakness in certain areas around the foot.

plantar fasciitis can be the cause of morning foot pain

Tendonitis

foot tendonitis is another cause of foot pain in the morning

If any of the muscles and tendons that connect to the foot become inflamed, this can lead to tendonitis. Tendonitis is an overuse injury.

When it occurs in the feet, it’s usually from too much standing, walking, running or jumping.

Common tendonitis areas that are common in the foot region include peroneal tendonitis, posterior tibialis tendonitis and Achilles tendonitis.

Risk Factors for Morning Foot Pain

Certain risk factors can make you more likely to experience foot pain when you wake up and walk.

  • Flat feet or high arches
  • An underlying medical condition (e.g., diabetes or neuropathy)
  • Overweight
  • Improper foot wear
  • Participating in activities that require regular extended walking, running, jumping and standing
  • Lack of a good home exercise routine for the feet

How to Fix Morning Foot Pain

If your feet hurt when you wake up and walk, stretching is one of the best things to do right away when you wake up.

The following 3 stretches are easy and quick to do to help your morning foot pain.

1. Gastrocnemius Stretch

foot exercise: gastrocnemius stretch step 1
foot exercise: gastrocnemius stretch step 2
  • For this calf stretch, stand in front of your bed or a wall.
  • Take one medium size step forward into a small lunge.
  • The front knee will be bent slightly. The back knee will be straight. Keep both heels on the ground.
  • You should feel a gentle stretch in the back calf and maybe even down into the heel and foot.
  • Hold 30-60 seconds. Repeat twice on both legs.

2. Soleus Stretch

soleus stretch step 1
soleus stretch step 2

This stretches another muscle in your calf and is very similar to the gastrocnemius stretch.

  • Position yourself just like you did for the gastrocnemius stretch in a small lunge.
  • This time though, allow the back knee to slightly bend. Make sure to still keep both heels flat on the floor. You might feel this one a little more towards the Achilles tendon and heel.
  • Hold 30-60 seconds. Repeat twice on both legs.

3. Toe Extension Stretch

toe extension stretch
  • Position yourself seated with one foot crossed over the opposite thigh like a Figure 4.
  • Use the hands to grab all 5 toes and gently pull them back into a stretch.
  • Try to hold this stretch 30-60 seconds. Repeat twice on both legs.

Taping for Morning Foot Pain

In addition to the stretches we’ve talked about, taping the foot can also be a great tool to help when you wake up with foot pain.

Taping isn’t a long-term solution, but can still be very helpful for initial pain relief.

Check out the following video, which will demo how to tape the foot for morning foot pain when walking.

Final Tips

If your feet hurt when you wake up and walk in the morning, try these stretches daily! They should help to relieve your pain and can be practiced throughout the day, if needed.

Otherwise, feel free to consult with a healthcare professional, like a podiatrist or physical therapist, to more closely examine the cause of your foot pain.

They can give additional tips, such as with best foot wear, lifestyle recommendations, and other pain management techniques. Look forward to waking up feeling refreshed and without pain!

Wondering What's Next?

Discover 11 Easy, At-Home “Stretch Exercises” for Stronger, Pain-Free Joints (click below)

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