What Causes Morning Foot Numbness?

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ask the experts

Each morning I wake up to numb feet. It's very hard to walk on them for the first several steps. After I have walked several steps they seem to loosen up. Why is this happening to me? At night when I put my feet up, then try to climb the steps go to bed, they are very stiff.

Doctor's response

There are many possible explanations as to what may be causing these symptoms. These include inflammation of the bottom of the feet from plantar fasciitis, swelling (edema) of the tissues of the foot, arthritis, repetitive foot injury from activities, and others.

People with these symptoms should stop and take a good look at their footwear. Is it wearing on one side or the other? Are there bulges in portions of the footwear over or around the toes? Are saddle straps pinching on tissues of the foot too hard?

If you have proper footwear and your symptoms persist, it might be worthwhile to seek a formal medical evaluation.

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Reviewed on 1/11/2018