Getting My Foot Fixed

Most Common Feet Problems During Pregnancy: Cause And Treatment

One of the last things you want to worry about during pregnancy is your feet; however, pregnancy can lead to a range of problems that affect your feet. Three of the most common problems, pregnant women visit their podiatrists are flat feet, plantar fasciitis and edema (swelling). Here are the causes, the treatments and preventative tips for common foot problems during pregnancy.   

Flat Feet

Throughout your pregnancy, there is an increase in hormones that help to relax the ligaments and the birth canal. Although these hormones will allow a vaginal birth, they also relax the ligaments in your feet, which leads to fallen arches (flat feet) and over-pronation. As your baby continues to grow in the womb, the excess weight puts extra stress on your feet, especially the arches. Treatment and prevention tips may include:

  • Avoid walking barefoot
  • Avoid standing for long periods of time
  • Sit down and elevate feet when possible
  • Wear properly fitted shoes
  • Wear shoes with over-the-counter arch supports in them
  • If the problem worsens, see your podiatrist to discuss custom orthotics

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is caused by an inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is a ligament in the sole of your foot. Plantar fasciitis can cause mild to severe pain on the underside of the heels. As your pregnancy moves forward, the pressure of the extra weight from your baby may increase the inflammation and make it difficult to walk. If you notice symptoms of plantar fasciitis, it is important to take immediate action to prevent a chronic injury. Treatment and preventive tips include:

  • Wear shoes that have excellent arch support
  • Elevate feet to relieve the pressure and to avoid excessive swelling
  • If possible, prop feet on a pillow while sleeping
  • Apply an ice pack to the swollen areas to help control the inflammation and swelling
  • Mild stretching will help to relieve the pain and tightness. An effective stretching exercise is to use a towel to pull your toes back and stretch your calf.
  • Wear orthotics shoe inserts for comfort and additional support
  • If at home treatments do not relieve the discomfort, see a podiatrist as soon as possible to prevent a permanent injury


Edema (swelling) in the feet and ankles frequently occurs during pregnancy. The swelling may be caused by a number of things, including pregnancy hormones and an increase in fluid in the tissues of your body. All of the extra fluid needs to go somewhere and gravity generally causes it to go to your feet and ankles. In most situations, swelling in the feet is common and temporary during pregnancy; however, if you notice swelling in other areas, such as around your eyes, you should see your doctor right away as this may be a sign of pre-eclampsia. Some of the things you can do to relieve the swelling may include:

  • Avoid standing for long periods of time
  • Walking may help reduce the extra fluid, but avoid walking long distances and rest frequently
  • Elevate your feet as often as possible when sitting down
  • Wearing thigh high compression stockings may help decrease the swelling
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid foods with salt
  • Taking a bath or going swimming may help decrease the swelling
  • Wear shoes that are the correct size for your feet
  • Talk with your podiatrist about external pneumatic compression devices.

If home treatments, such as elevating feet, and if you experience regular pain that is mild to severe in your feet, it is important that you visit a podiatrist to discuss the best treatment for your particular problem and to avoid the risk of a more serious problem.