Since the dawn of mankind women have gotten pregnant. But it took until 2013 for an official medical study to pronounce that pregnancy can permanently change the size of a woman's feet.

CBS News aired the news in March of 2013. Study author Dr. Neil Segal, an associate professor of orthopaedics and rehabilitation at the University of Iowa, had heard women complain that their shoe size changed with pregnancy but there was nothing about the topic found in medical journals or textbooks. So Segal set about studying the feet of 49 pregnant women.

He took the static and dynamic arch measurements during the first trimester with a follow-up measurement five months after delivery. Between 60 and 70 percent of the women’s feet measured longer and wider. Their arch height and rigidity decreased significantly causing the foot to lengthen between 2 and 10 mm (.08 to .4 inches.)

Dr. Segal’s findings were published in the March 2013 issue of the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

Gaining weight during pregnancy is normal, but it can take a toll on your feet, says Dr. Cynthia Oberholtzer-Classen, DPM and founder of Podiatry Associates PC with four locations in metro Denver in Parker, Aurora, Castle Pines and Cherry Creek.

Heel and arch pain are common complaints during pregnancy. Some women develop over-pronation (the framework of the foot begins to collapse) causing the foot to flatten and adding stress to other parts of the foot. Over-pronation can lead to plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, metatarsalgia, post-tib tendonitis and/or bunions. Swelling and varicose veins can be uncomfortable and make it difficult to wear shoes.


Dr. O recommends that pregnant women do the following:

  • Wear supportive shoes or custom orthotics to alleviate the pressure on the midfoot and heel.
  • Stay hydrated. Swelling becomes worse when dehydrated. Avoid salt and drink more water.
  • Exercise to boost circulation and reduce swelling and cramping.
  • Prop up your feet to prevent fluids from pooling in your lower limbs.
  • Wear compression stockings to prevent varicose veins issues and to alleviate edema discomfort.


Above all, don’t ignore the problem. If you’re pregnant and struggling with foot pain, contact

Podiatry Associates. Our purpose is to make sure your feet remain healthy pre-delivery and post-delivery. Call (303) 805-5156 or use our online form to reach us for an appointment today.

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