Pregnancy Can Permanently Change the Size and Shape of the Foot

Pregnancy Can Permanently Change the Size and Shape of the Foot

During pregnancy the body undergoes some amazing changes. In addition to weight gain hormonal changes that cause laxity of the ligaments of the birth canal also affect the ligaments of the foot making them more lax. The combination can cause a woman’s foot size and shape to change after pregnancy. It is not uncommon for a woman foot to change at least one size after pregnancy.

A study from the University of Iowa has now confirmed that pregnancy can permanently alter the size and shape of women’s feet. The study collected measurement on 49 women’s feet during the first trimester and again 5 months after childbirth. The findings showed that the majority of women’s feet became longer and wider.

The study reported that foot length increased between 2 and 10mm with a corresponding drop of the arch. The study suggested that the changes were noted in the first pregnancy and subsequent pregnancies may not further alter the shape and size of the foot. Although no significant changes in foot pressure were detected after childbirth the changes in size and shape may explain the higher incidence of arthritis in women’s feet, knees and hips when compared to men.

For more information on the effects of pregnancy and the foot please check out my video:

In our practice we often recommend maternity compression stocking, supportive shoe gear, innersoles, and orthotics to help reduce the stresses being placed on the feet. These products can be found at


Neil A. Segal, Elizabeth R. Boyer, Patricia Teran-Yengle, Natalie A. Glass, Howard J. Hillstrom, H. John Yack. Pregnancy Leads to Lasting Changes in Foot Structure. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 2013; 92 (3): 232 DOI: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e31827443a9

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