“Pregnant women often complain about pain and fatigue affecting the arch of their feet and their heels,” explains podiatrist Junaid Ahmed, from Feet4Life.
What causes arch and heel pain in pregnancy?
“Arch and heel pain is usually caused by the way pregnant women walk to balance out the extra weight they’ve gained,” says midwife Janine from Birth Basics.
“Most women adjust their walk by tilting their pelvis forward and curving the lower spine because of the additional weight,” adds podiatrist Junaid Ahmed, from Feet4Life. “This turns the pressure on the feet and can cause overpronation, which ‘flattens’ the arch of the foot and causes it to roll inwards when walking, causing discomfort.”
This, says Junaid, can sometimes cause a condition called plantar fascitis, which is inflammation of the fibrous tissue that runs from your heel to your forefoot. “This type of foot pain can be worse when you get out of bed or at the end of the day if you’ve been on your feet all day,” he explains.
Is arch and heel pain in pregnancy normal?
Depending on how much weight you gain determines how your heels and arches are affected. “Make sure you wear comfortable shoes with thicker soles to soften the arch of your foot. Avoid anything too flat, as this will add to the pressure on your heels and foot arch,” says midwife Janine.
“The arches of my feet would burn and sting for hours after I’d been walking,” MFM user KB shares. “They also felt worse first thing in the morning and I felt like I had to warm my feet up before I went out anywhere!”
How to deal with arch and heel pain in pregnancy
“Speak to your midwife about using anti-inflammatory gel to ease the pain a little,” says podiatrist Junaid. “Alternatively, wear thick soled shoes, consult a podiatrist about having an insole or orthotics made or try rolling a cold can or tin along the arches of your foot.”
Midwife Janine also says you could try a muscle relaxing cream. This will heal stretched tissue in the foot. You just need to convince your partner to massage it in for you!
Other pregnancy foot complaints, and how pregnancy can change your feet: