Throughout pregnancy, the body goes through various changes that can significantly affect your lower limb health and appearance. As a result, many expectant mothers experience pregnancy symptoms such as swelling, pain, and discomfort in their feet and ankles. However, with proper care and preventative measures, you can help reduce the limits that chronic pain puts on your pregnancy. Below we include some helpful remedies to alleviate these symptoms so you can enjoy your pregnancy to the fullest.

pregnant woman elevated feet

Swollen Feet

One of the most common pregnancy symptoms in your lower limbs is swollen feet. The enlargement of the uterus and natural weight gain leads to increased pressure on the leg veins, which then causes reduced circulation and fluid retention in the lower limbs. This excess fluid, called edema, can lead to throbbing, swollen feet. To ease pain and swelling, elevate feet whenever possible, stretch legs frequently and avoid crossing legs when sitting. 

When shopping for maternity clothes, be sure to add comfortable shoes and socks to your shopping list. Choose footwear that feels comfortable and will help accommodate swelling and alleviate pain associated with edema. Additionally, compression socks may help to provide gentle pressure to help ease discomfort from swelling. Speak with your podiatrist to determine if compression socks can relieve lower limb pain during pregnancy. 

Pregnant Woman Arch Pain

Arch Pain

When your body experiences significant and rapid physical changes during pregnancy, it can also cause pain in the arches of your feet. Arch pain can result from arch fatigue or the flattening of the arch (overpronation). Proper footwear is also an important factor in alleviating arch pain. For example, avoid going barefoot and wearing high heels. Instead, wear shoes with appropriate arch support or consider a custom orthotic insert to ensure a perfect contoured shoe. In addition, incorporating simple foot stretches into your routine can help strengthen your arches, increase stability and prevent pain throughout the day.

Ingrown Toenails

Excessive pressure on your feet from tightly-fitting shoes may cause painful ingrown toenails. Wearing wider shoes becomes key in preventing ingrown toenails, especially during the third trimester. Avoid dealing with your ingrown toenails at home, as “bathroom surgery” can cause painful problems or an infection that can worsen over time. Our experienced podiatrists can efficiently treat your ingrown toenail and avoid future pain and discomfort.  

Growing Feet

Relaxin is a pregnancy hormone that helps the pelvis open during delivery and can cause the ligaments in your feet to be more flexible, forcing them to increase in length and width. After delivery, permanent foot growth up to a half size can occur. After the pregnancy swelling goes down, make sure your shoes are fitting comfortably and properly. You may need to go a size up to avoid common foot problems associated with wearing footwear that is too small.

woman tying shoes


Lower limb pain can make even the simplest tasks exponentially more difficult, especially during pregnancy. However, taking these steps can help you avoid painful foot issues, and enjoy being on your feet. If you are experiencing foot pain, don’t try to push through the pain. Instead, give us a call at 717-757-3537 to schedule an appointment with our expert podiatrists and determine the best plan to prevent lower limb pain during pregnancy.

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