Plantar pressure and foot pain in the last trimester of pregnancy

Foot Ankle Int. 2010 Feb;31(2):153-7. doi: 10.3113/FAI.2010.0153.


Background: Back and foot pain are common complaints during pregnancy. Progression of symptoms is seen especially in the third trimester as the center of gravity (COP) is altered due to weight gain. The aim of the study was to evaluate plantar pressure changes and postural balance differences of pregnant women.

Material and methods: Thirty-five last trimester pregnant women with complaints of foot pain were included. The control group consisted of 35 non-pregnant women who were age and body mass index (BMI) matched volunteers. All selected cases were overweight. Foot pain in pregnancy was measured by Visual analogue scale (VAS). Percentages of pressure on forefoot and hindfoot were measured using static pedobarography and peak pressures at forefoot, midfoot and hindfoot were measured using dynamic pedobarography. As a measurement of balance, COP sway length and width were also analyzed.

Results: Compared to overweight individuals, pregnant patients had higher forefoot pressure on the right side with standing and walking. Also, significant increases in contact times under the forefoot and longer floor contact times were found. VAS scores were correlated with forefoot contact times during walking. Although the sway length from COP was higher than controls, no significant correlation was found in sway length and weight gain.

Conclusion: These data suggest that forefoot pressures increase in the last trimester of pregnancy during standing and walking. There is prominent increased postural sway in anterior-posterior direction in this period.

Clinical relevance: We believe that based on the observed pressure changes, foot pain in pregnancy due to changes in body mass and distribution may be relieved by exercise and shoewear modifications.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Foot / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / physiopathology*
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Third
  • Pressure
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Statistics, Nonparametric