Feet Pain While Pregnant: Reasons & Treatment

Foot Pain During Pregnancy

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sanjana Sainani (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

During pregnancy, your body undergoes tremendous changes to provide for a baby growing inside you. This means that you get to put up with a whole lot of symptoms ranging from morning sickness to severe pain in the legs, paired with swelling, which may even prevent you from engaging in daily tasks.

Constant pain in the feet during pregnancy can make it difficult for you to stand, walk or even put some pressure on them for too long. There isn’t much you can do to prevent foot pain during pregnancy, but you can use some methods to alleviate the pain and get some much-needed relief. But, before we get straight on to discussing the ways to deal with foot pain during pregnancy, let’s understand its causes.

Causes of Foot Pain in Pregnancy

With physical changes in the body, almost all pregnant women experience pain in their feet. But, the causes of each case might differ. Let’s check out some common causes of foot pain during pregnancy

  • Natural weight gain can put pressure on your feet and your ligaments near the arch of your feet, making your feet hurt.
  • The centre of gravity in your body shifts as a result of the weight of the growing baby. This will require you to change the position and the posture that you stand-in, causing undue stress on your feet.
  • You may get a wider gait due to the extra weight. This can strain the muscles on your feet.
  • Increased blood volume during pregnancy can also cause cramps in the feet.
  • Tight shoes or shoes of the incorrect size can cause stress and pain in your feet

Woman having foot pain due to heels

Let’s take a look at some common foot-related problems that pregnant women often experience.

Most Common Foot-Related Problems During Pregnant

1. Oedema

During pregnancy, women often suffer from oedema, which is a condition wherein their feet swell noticeably, leading to discomfort and pain, especially in the second trimester.

As the baby grows, the uterus expands and puts immense pressure on the blood vessels in the pelvic area. This obstructs blood circulation and causes accumulation of blood in the feet, making the feet swell.

At times, excess water retention also leads to swelling in the feet. Your feet may then develop purple marks as well. As oedema can make it difficult for you to move about, it is best to consult a doctor if the discomfort is too much to bear.

2. Over-Pronation

Over-pronation is also known as flat feet and is caused by excessive pressure on the feet. The arch of the foot can flatten out due to weight gain during pregnancy and add pressure on the plantar fascia, which are the tissues that connect the heel to the front of the foot.

Over-pronation can lead to added stress on your back as well as the calf muscles.

Let’s take a look at how you could deal with foot pain during pregnancy.

Remedies to Relieve Foot Pain During Pregnancy

Although pain in the feet is one of the symptoms of pregnancy, there are many remedies for foot pain during pregnancy. Read on to know some of them.

  1. Ask your medical practitioner if you could use orthotics. Orthotics can be inserted in your footwear to provide support to your foot arch and prevent it from flattening out.
  2. Always ensure you wear the right shoes that offer support and are comfortable. Do not wear shoes that are too tight as they can also cause ingrown nails further contributing to your pain.
  3. Try and put your feet up whenever you sit down. This will facilitate blood flow and help prevent oedema.
  4. Rotate your ankles, one at a time to improve blood circulation. Doing this simple exercise can also help get rid of foot cramps.
  5. Keep yourself hydrated. Drink plenty of water as dehydration can worsen swelling and increase water retention.
  6. Consume a balanced diet and avoid excess salt as it can contribute to water retention.
  7. Apply olive oil and massage your feet or book a foot massage to relieve the pain. You can also try hot oil massage for effective pain relief.
  8. Use cotton socks which can facilitate circulation.
  9. Try compression stockings to mimic the act of squeezing and facilitate blood flow from the feet. Oedema lowers the efficiency of your body in pumping blood up from your feet. These stockings help facilitate contraction of the muscles near the veins in the leg, forcing the blood to move up.
  10. Use a bag of ice to relieve the pain if you are experiencing excessive pain.
  11.  In a wide-mouthed vessel, dissolve a cup of table or Epsom salt in water and put your feet in it for 15 to 20 minutes.

Pregnant woman getting foot massage

Your feet are going to undergo a lot of strain due to all the weight you will be carrying during pregnancy. Although foot pain in early pregnancy is not very common, it is advised to take precautions to lower the chances of excessive discomfort. A regimen of daily exercise and a proper diet should help you keep the intense foot pain away. Let’s take a look at some exercises you could do to lower the foot pain and reduce the discomfort.

Exercises for Foot Pain During Pregnancy

1. Ankle Flex

The swelling around the ankles during pregnancy makes it difficult to stand and also walk. This exercise will help you loosen up your ankles and, reduce the swelling and the pain and also build some strength in them. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Sit in a chair with your back as straight as possible.
  2. Raise your legs or place a small stool to raise them up. You may lie down on a bed if you want to and use a pillow to raise your legs.
  3. Now, pull your toes towards your face without bending your knees. Hold them for 2 to 3 seconds and release.
  4. Repeat this exercise 5 to 10 times for both the feet.

2. Ankle Rotations

Ankle rotations are an extension of the above exercise. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Sit in a chair or lie on the bed as per your preference. Raise your legs using a stool or a pillow.
  2. Now, rotate one of your ankles in the clockwise direction 5 to 10 times.
  3. Rotate the same ankle in the anti-clockwise direction for the equal number of times.
  4. Repeat the exercise for the second ankle.

It can also be of great help to keep in mind “RICE” – Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate as a trick to cope with foot pain during pregnancy. In any event where you find that the pain is too much to go about your daily activities, then you will need to consult your doctor immediately for medical help. You can also ask your medical practitioner for ways to relieve foot pain at home well ahead of time. 

Resources and References: Healthline

Also Read: Nosebleeds During Pregnancy

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