How Pregnancy Affects Your Feet
Updated: Jul 16
A lot of things change during pregnancy, but one part of your body you might not have realised is your feet! The change in hormones, body weight and gait can all impact on your feet and legs.
Hormones: During pregnancy, there is a significant increase in hormones including oestrogen and relaxin. These hormones are designed to make your ligaments stretchier to allow birthing of a baby. These hormones also affect the ligaments in the feet which can lead to flattening of the feet, making them longer and possibly wider! The good news is that this will often improve after pregnancy with your feet returning to their normal length and width.
This increased laxity within ligaments can lead to reduced stability within the feet and ankles. Combine this with the change in your centre of gravity and your balance can be affected. Ensuring you wear supportive footwear whenever possible can assist with this.
Body Weight: Natural weight gain during pregnancy adds more pressure to your feet. This may result in some pain and tiredness through the feet and legs as they work harder than before you were pregnant. We do sometimes see the development of issues such as plantar fasciitis during pregnancy due to the increased strain being placed on these structures. Ensuring the use of supportive shoes can help alleviate this or speak to your podiatrist about orthotics to take some stress out of the feet.
Gait Changes: Another thing that changes during pregnancy is the way you walk! Especially toward the later stages of pregnancy, your stance will often widen and your stride length shortens. This changes the forces being placed on your feet, ankles and knees and can lead to some discomfort. Typically these pains will subside after you give birth and your gait returns to normal however there are ways your podiatrist can help including taping, footwear and even orthotics.
Swelling and Cramping Of The Legs: A very common issue during pregnancy is swelling of the legs and cramping in the calf muscles. This occurs due to a slower return of the blood from the legs resulting in it pooling and swelling. Some ways to avoid this can include trying to walk whenever you can, exercises for the lower leg including calf raises to try and pump some of the fluid out of the legs or compression stockings if required.
The good news is that after pregnancy, a lot of these issues will resolve and your feet and legs will begin to return to normal. However we do regularly see lingering issues such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles issues and knee troubles as a result of the stress that was placed on the body. If these issues are not subsiding, a biomechanical assessment is recommended to see why these structures are still sore and work out a plan to get you moving again without pain.
The best thing you can do for your feet during pregnancy is making sure you’re taking plenty or rest and seeking assistance if something does not feel right. We consider pregnancy related issues a priority and will always do our best to see you as soon as possible.
If you are suffering with foot or leg pain, the team at My Family Podiatry are here to help. Call 07 3088 6116 or click the link below and we will be in touch to discuss how we can help you.