Plantar Fasciitis and Pregnancy

Plantar Fasciitis and Pregnancy

Your feet may be the last thing on your mind when you are pregnant, yet swelling, heel pain and increased foot size are troublesome issues you are likely to encounter. According to an article on, heel pain commonly caused by plantar fasciitis affects about ten per cent of the population and occurs frequently in pregnant women.

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the thick band of fascia that stretches across the arch from the heel bone to the toes. The fascia supports the foot and becomes inflamed when put under excessive stress, like the sudden increase in weight common in pregnant women. The symptoms present as a sharp pain in the heel or heels when you stand up after sitting for a while or when you get up from sleeping.

To add to your discomfort, your baby bump may make it difficult to reach your feet, leading you to choose slip-on shoes for ease of getting them on and off. Also, your growing uterus puts pressure on your veins therefore restricting blood flow back to your heart. This, combined with the additional fluid your body retains during pregnancy, can cause swelling in your feet and ankles. And that’s not all—your body releases a hormone, called relaxin, which loosens ligaments in your body so you can deliver the baby. And, because ligaments are the structures that attach bones to each other, the excess weight stretches the loosened ligaments causing your feet to spread.

Even if you return to your normal weight after the birth, research conducted by a team of medical professionals and printed in the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation showed that the majority of women’s feet in the study became longer and wider. Length increases of between 2mm and 10mm were recorded, which can mean an increase of anywhere from a half to one and one half shoe sizes.

If you are experiencing any of these pregnancy related foot complaints, a consultation with podiatrist, Sheldon H. Nadal D.P.M, based in Toronto may help. He provides treatment for plantar fasciitis and can give advice on suitable footwear for pregnancy.