A common complaint of pregnant women is foot pain. This pain often affects the front portion of the foot. A study investigated changes in pressure that pregnant women experience to their feet during walking. Pressure areas were measured during the last month of each trimester. The results showed an increase in pressure that shifted from the heels to the middle and front portions of the feet throughout pregnancy.
This study helps explain the increased complaints of foot pain during pregnancy. It is important to address these changes to prevent painful overuse injuries such as stress fractures and plantar fasciitis (heel or arch pain). You can help minimize the risk of foot pain by wearing comfortable, supportive shoes. You can also consider wearing a custom orthotic. Custom orthotics are devices that are worn inside of your shoes. They are custom made from a mold of your feet. The orthotics help prevent or reduce foot pain by balancing the forward shift in weight and pressure during pregnancy.
Ribeiro AP, Trombini-Souza F, de Camargo Neves Sacco I, et al. Changes in the plantar pressure distribution during gait throughout gestation. J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 101(5):415-423, 2011.