Foot conditions are common when you're expecting: in fact, about 80% of women experience some foot swelling during pregnancy. (This is also called edema.) The extra weight and stress on the legs and feet can create several issues that make this joyous timeless than comfortable. However, women do not have to suffer through this since there are ways to help. When you go to, you can find some essential oil for foot pain or a stretching regimen that can minimize some adverse side effects.

Finding successful methods to manage these foot conditions will help minimize discomfort and pain. The first step will be to determine the type of foot condition you are experiencing and search for the best course of treatment to provide relief.

Common Foot Conditions During Pregnancy and Helpful Management TechniquesHouston podiatrist treat foot pain in expectant mothers

Although foot problems are more common in the third trimester, some women may also notice issues in their first or second trimesters. Here are some of the more common foot conditions that pregnant women face and how to combat any pain or discomfort.

  • Swelling of the lower legs and feet
  • Edema
  • Preeclampsia
  • Hormonal changes
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Dry, cracked heels
  • General foot pain
  • Collapsed arches

Swollen Feet During Pregnancy

Pregnant women will have excess fluid their body creates while creating life, resulting in approximately 50% more blood volume. This extra blood supports the organs and the growing fetus, but it can be challenging for your heart to circulate the additional fluid adequately.

This added fluid can result in foot pain, making it uncomfortable to walk or stand for long periods. In addition, individuals may find their feet are still sore even when resting.

Some simple tips to help reduce foot swelling and minimize pain include:

  • Elevating the feet periodically throughout the day
  • Drinking enough water
  • Avoid a high-sodium diet
  • Wear supportive shoes
  • Do not wear restrictive socks
  • Do regular stretches


Edema happens when excess fluid becomes trapped in the body. As a result, the skin will appear stretched and can have a shiny appearance. In some severe cases, pressing on the affected area will create an indent that does not recover quickly.

A large uterus can also put extra pressure on the vena cava, restricting the blood circulation from the feet and legs back to the heart. Several essential oils can help improve blood circulation and reduce swelling, giving pregnant women a simple resolution for minor circulation issues.


Pregnant individuals may also face preeclampsia, resulting in swelling of the feet, hands, and face. This condition may result in high blood pressure, seizures, or kidney damage on top of the visible swelling.

Any sudden swelling or bloating in the feet, hands, or face that appears quickly warrants medical attention. Refusing to seek help can cause more damage and issues, including foot conditions.

Hormonal Changes

During pregnancy, a woman’s hormones will change. This process is necessary to help the muscles and ligaments relax in the uterus and pelvis as it gets closer to the due date in preparation for the baby’s birth. However, this reaction is not solely focused on the abdomen area.

Hormones can relax the ligaments in the feet, causing arches to drop, ankle rotation, or other foot conditions. Some pregnant women will suffer from plantar fasciitis, bursitis, and tibialis posterior tendonitis as they gain weight and more pressure strains the muscles and ligaments in the feet.

Ingrown Toenails

Hair and nails can grow quickly when a woman is pregnant. For many, ingrown toenails are a common foot condition during this time. This situation happens due to the increase in weight and pressure on the feet and toes. Along with the lack of frequent nail grooming, toenails can push into the toes or curl unnaturally.

Soaking feet regularly in Epsom salt baths, and having a pedicure or getting help trimming nails will keep them from pushing into the sides of the toes. Proper socks and footwear can also minimize the chances of ingrown toenails.

Collapsed Arches 

Remember we talked about those pregnancy hormones? Well, when the course through your body two of them,  relaxins and progesterone, can directly affect your feet--and your arches. Basically, these hormones combine to give more stretch to your ligaments and to help relax your muscles. Now, when it comes time to deliver your baby, those two effects will be very important. But when it comes to your feet? All that stretch and flexibility can take a toll on your foot health,  decreasing the amount of support your arches give you and making you more vulnerable to flat feet

Why is this such a problem for pregnant women? Well, as your ligaments are relaxing, you are gaining weight with your growing baby. And this combination puts more pressure on less rigid arches, allowing them to collapse. In fact, this arch collapse is why many women believe their shoe size changes during pregnancy. In reality, it just widens as the arch flattens. Luckily, we have ways to support your feet during pregnancy so that your shoe size doesn't change

Dry, Cracked Heels applying moisturizer to dry heel

The heels on a pregnant woman’s foot are susceptible to becoming dry and cracked, which can cause discomfort and pain. In addition, weight gain can alter an individual’s posture, resulting in the foot rotating or having the skin on the heel stretch and expand.

This added stress can force the heels to crack as it dries out from swelling and stretching. Proper moisturizing and a healthy foot care routine can minimize the chances of dry, cracked heels.

The Takeaway

Sometimes, foot conditions that appear in pregnancy are unavoidable. However, that does not mean that a woman has to suffer in pain. With proper treatment methods, it is possible to minimize any discomfort they face during pregnancy. And that's why we encourage you to come in at any time during your pregnancy that you experience foot pain. While there are restrictions on the medications you can take, we can find non-invasive ways to support your feet and ankles without threatening your pregnancy in any way. So reach out to us today to schedule your pre-natal foot care, and finally take care of those swollen feet during pregnancy. 

Photo Credit: