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Foot Pain During Pregnancy

Foot Pain During Pregnancy
Foot Pain During Pregnancy

Pregnancy And Foot Pain

It is relatively common for women to suffer foot pain during pregnancy especially during the later stages of pregnancy, some reasons why many women develop foot pain during pregnancy include:

  • Any biomechanical anomalies an individual may have are exaggerated during pregnancy by an increase in body weight, a shift in their center of gravity with growing tummy size and generalised ligamentous laxity.
  • Progesterone hormone runs rampant while pregnant. This hormone helps with the loosening of ligaments in preparation for birth and may have an impact systemically throughout the whole body including the feet not just the pelvis or birth canal.

Pregnancy Related Laxity Of The Feet

Ligamentous laxity to the feet associated with pregnancy may:

  • Make the feet swollen
  • Change the size and shape of the feet
  • And can weaken foot muscles

Common Areas Of Foot Pain During Pregnancy

Foot pain during pregnancy is frequently diagnosed as :
Metatarsalgia – Which is a term referring to generalized foot pain in forefoot region. Where the pain is of vague description with no anatomic structure identified as the specific cause. Inserts called Foot Angels, are a functional addition that can be added to the inside of your shoe to provide support, cushioning and improving the functioning of the forefoot. Foot Angles are specific for ballet flats and heels and can help reduce metatarsalgia.
Plantar Fasciitis – Women who are pregnant often experience bouts of plantar fasciitis, particularly during late pregnancy. Plantar fasciitis causes pain in the bottom of the heel area and sometimes into the arch of the foot. The plantar fascia is a thin, web-like tissue that connects the heel to the front of your foot and supports the arch of your foot and helps you walk. The weight gain, centre of gravity distribution changes and laxity of supportive foot ligaments can all play a role in the development of plantar fascia pain during late pregnancy.

Footwear For Pregnant Women

Due to body changes during and after pregnancy, I recommend:

  • When exercising or day to day wear in colder seasons try to wear a supportive, cushioned running shoe that’s been professionally fitted for the best function and support specific to your foot (there are stores around Sydney that do this for you such as the Running Hub in Potts Point) or you could consult your local podiatrist for their professional advice and any relevance on the use of orthotics / insoles for your footwear.
  • For going out, dress shoes with a small, wide heel such as “wedges” are acceptable for short periods of time. .
  • For casual wear in summer and hotter months if you have a grossly swollen foot the wearing of a supportive, cushioned thong such as “fitflops” NOT “Havaiana’s” can work nicely. Fitflops give space for your hot swollen feet, allowing them to breath whilst providing some support at the same time.

Easing Foot Pain During Pregnancy

Frequently foot pain during pregnancy will subside once you give birth. However sometimes knowing this, making shoe changes and relative rest can only help so much in easing your mind and pain. Hence as a result some pregnant women may require professional advice or help from a health practitioner such as a podiatrist or physiotherapist.

Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products mentioned. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific advice or assistance on Foot Pain During Pregnancy should consult his or her midwife, obstetrician, general practitioner, physiotherapist or otherwise appropriately skilled practitioner.

Hayden Latimer is the founder of and principle physiotherapist at Sydney Physio Clinic. Since graduating from Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand he’s gained wide experience practicing across the globe for over 15 years and is now extremely knowledgeable in helping people reduce discomfort and restore function and mobility.

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