Why Do My Feet Hurt When I Wake Up?

Aching legs and tired, sore feet are common problems nurses face after a long shift. Do you experience a sharp pain within your foot, heel, or arch after waking up in the morning? Does it hurt when you take your first step in the morning? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may have developed plantar fasciitis.

Aside from plantar fasciitis, hurting feet in the morning may also be a result of Achilles tendonitis or an injury such as a stress fracture. Painful feet can often be treated using home remedies such as rest and ice and wearing the right nursing shoes.

However, if you experience debilitating symptoms, it is best you seek the advice of a podiatrist who can provide you with appropriate methods of treatment. Keep reading to find out more about the likely causes of painful feet in the morning and effective remedies.

Why Do My Feet Hurt When I Wake Up In The Morning?

What is the Cause of Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is an ailment that arises when the plantar fascia (a bulky, weblike ligament that links your heel to the front of your foot) is irritated. Tiny tears develop in the connective tissue as tension within the plantar fascia rises.

The greater the tension and tearing that develops within the plantar fascia, the greater the irritation and inflammation. The increase in tension and tearing results in plantar fasciitis and that is what causes the painful feet you experience in the morning.

See also: Best Shoes for Nurses with Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis Risk Factors

Generally, plantar fasciitis arises for no particular, clearly identifiable reason. Nevertheless, a number of factors can increase your danger of developing plantar fasciitis. These including the following:

Wearing ill Fitting Shoes

If your nursing shoes do not fit properly, they will have little or no arch support for your foot. Wearing inadequate shoes can make walking uncomfortable and place extra strain on your plantar fascia ligaments. In addition, old, worn-out footwear does not offer sufficient protection and support to the feet, and can thus aggravate plantar fasciitis.

As a nurse, you should wear shoes that provide dependable support and comfort. If you are a full-time nurse, it is recommended you replace your work shoes every six months.

See also: How to Choose the Right Shoes for Your Feet

Walking for Several Hours without Taking a Break

If you work a twelve-hour shift without taking a break, you most likely know your legs take a beating during that entire period. As you move around the hospital grounds, from one ward to the other, updating paperwork, helping patients, and assisting in procedures, finding time to sit and rest your legs can be hard.

Nevertheless, you should find time to go somewhere quiet and rest for a while. If you cannot find time for breaks, have a word with management regarding the issue. Nurses are entitled to rest periods. Working long hours without rest can damage your health over the long term.

Carrying and Helping Patients

As part of their everyday tasks, nurses often lift patients who weigh over thirty-five pounds. This makes them susceptible to musculoskeletal injuries such as strains and sprains. When you need to reposition a heavy patient on a bed or lift a patient who has fallen unto the floor, it is best you seek the help of other nurses. However, this activity can still place a great deal of tension on your legs and back.

You should avoid placing undue strain on your back when lifting patients as this can put a lot of strain on your feet and legs as well. When lifting a patient, bend your knees so that most of the patient’s weight is on your arms. This way, you reduce the level of strain on your spine.

Standing for Extended Periods

You may not be aware that prolonged and repeated standing without some reprieve by walking can be harmful to your feet and legs. Some surgical procedures can last up to four hours or more and standing for this length of time can place a huge strain on your lower extremities. This is also the reason you experience heel pain after a long work shift because you have been on your feet most of the day.

When doing a long shift, take some time to exercise your legs.  Standing yoga positions like Tree post, standing vertical jumps, and rolling your ankles are a few exercises you can perform while you are standing at work. These help to reduce strain on your legs and enhance blood circulation.

See also: Best Shoes for 12 Hour Shifts

Sudden weight gain or Obesity

The plantar fascia supports the arch of your foot and helps to soak up shock from the impact of walking. Excess weight can impair its functioning and result in heel pain. The majority of individuals who suffer from plantar fasciitis are overweight. In addition, pregnancy places extra weight on your legs and feet, thereby increasing your danger of developing plantar fasciitis.

See also: Best Shoes for Overweight Nurses

Foot Abnormalities

If you have flat feet or overpronate, you are at a greater risk of developing plantar fasciitis. This is because your entire foot is in contact with the ground when you stand.

In the same manner, if your arches are abnormally high, you are also at a greater risk of plantar fasciitis because an undue level of strain is placed on the ball of your foot as well as on your heel when walking or standing.

Effective Home Remedies to Reduce Leg and Heel Pain

If you suffer from heel pain, here are some effective remedies you can try at home to reduce your discomfort.

  1. Try the foot arch and heel cord stretch
  2. Stand before a wall, place one foot backward and the front knee bent, ensuring both heels and feet are on the ground
  3. Bend slightly forward at the hips while stretching
  4. Maintain the position for ten seconds and then loosen up.
  5. Repeat the process with the other leg


You can reduce the tension on your feet and legs using this simple massage technique. Get a tennis ball and roll it down the base of your foot starting from the toes to the heel. A more conventional massage can help alleviate the strain also. Hold your foot within your hand and use your thumb to apply mild pressure along the heel and foot area.


Get a block of ice and wrap it within a towel. Next, roll it lightly along your foot and heel to release tension.


Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of leg and heel pain in the morning. However, other disorders can also cause this kind of pain. The appropriate pair of nursing shoes will help shield your joints, ankle, and feet from plantar fasciitis pain so you can carry out your duties to the best of your ability. You can also correct the condition by using some home remedies like stretching, ice, and massage. Nevertheless, if the pain persists after a couple of weeks, you should seek the advice of a podiatrist.

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