Painful feet in pregnancy

During pregnancy, you may experience pain in your feet due to the extra strain and stretched ligaments, among other things. Learn what you can do to ensure that your feet support you and your baby safely through pregnancy.

Painful feet in pregnancy

Why might you experience foot pain during pregnancy?

Many pregnant women know the feeling: their feet are swollen, painful and suddenly their favourite shoes no longer fit. But why does this happen?  As soon as you become pregnant, your body begins to prepare for birth. This process does not spare the feet. Foot pain, malposition, excessive strain and signs of fatigue are all possible consequences. This is often associated with changes in gait pattern.

Causes of foot pain during pregnancy

There are several reasons why feet change during pregnancy and cause pain: pregnancy hormones loosen joints and cartilage connections. The ligaments also become more elastic. This prepares the normally rigid pelvis for birth. These changes have an impact even in places where they are not helpful. This is why orthopaedic complaints can occur during pregnancy – even in the feet.

Increased body weight – increased foot load with reduced stability

The increased body weight puts pressure on the feet. During pregnancy, the ligaments become more elastic, the longitudinal arch flattens and foot pain or even malposition can occur. If you already had a foot malposition before pregnancy, for example fallen arches or pes planus, the discomfort can be increased by the extra weight.

Changes in the feet and gait during pregnancy

The centre of gravity of pregnant women changes, as does their posture and gait. The "waddling gait" causes the feet to rotate externally. The arch of the foot also loses stability. This puts additional strain on the feet.

Water retention in the legs and feet

Often the cause of foot pain is water retention. Hormonal changes cause the blood volume to increase during this time to provide the baby with the best possible nourishment. This can cause congestion in the veins. The excess water leaks out of the blood and is deposited in the connective tissue, which leads to swollen legs, known as oedema. More about swollen legs during pregnancy.

By the way, feet often become longer and wider after pregnancy.1 Shoe sizes grow with pregnancy, so shoes often no longer fit after pregnancy.

Symptoms: Consequences of pregnancy-related foot pain

This results in fatigue and overuse pain, which weakens the foot and affects posture. The foot drops, which in turn can lead to back, knee and / or foot pain. Foot deformities such as flat feet and pes transversoplanus can develop for the first time during pregnancy. Existing foot deformities can worsen. The extra strain and the changed physical conditions during pregnancy can also cause a plantar calcaneal spur to develop.

Therapie: What can you do about painful feet during pregnancy

Medicines, including painkillers, should be avoided during pregnancy. This makes it even more important for expectant mothers to know what they can do about foot pain without medication:

  • Wear comfortable shoes during pregnancy to give your feet enough space.
  • There are also special exercises to loosen, stretch and strengthen your feet. These can do a lot to help prevent or relieve foot pain during pregnancy. 
  • If necessary, support your feet with foot orthotics if you experience pain in your feet when standing or walking for long periods of time. Foot orthotics correct, support and relieve your feet by counteracting arch depression. What's more, foot orthotics can have a positive effect on the back, pelvis and hips, especially during pregnancy.
  • Put your legs up more regularly so that the blood can flow back to the heart better – this takes the strain off your legs and feet. 
  • At night, you can place a pillow under your legs to support this reverse flow.  
  • During the day, medical compression stockings with a defined pressure curve offer relief for swollen legs and feet. Please get medical advice.

These products offer support for foot pain during pregnancy

Foot orthotics

Find out how foot orthotics support, correct and relieve your feet so you can walk carefreee and safely, during and after pregnancy.

Medical compression stockings 

Medical compression stockings provide support for expectant mothers during and after pregnancy for complaints such as swollen legs, spider veins and varicose veins. Medical compression stockings with a defined pressure curve can also reduce the risk of thrombosis during pregnancy. There are knee and thigh stockings as well as stockings with a special pregnancy body part.

To the product overview for pregnancy

You can find more products that will make your everyday life easier during pregnancy here.  

Medical compression stockings and foot orthotics can be prescribed by a doctor if required.