My Body Changed When I was Pregnant, Especially my Feet!

During pregnancy, there are many changes that occur in the body. The one change that most women don’t realize is the change that occurs in their feet. Some of the main changes you may notice are swelling of the feet, flat feet, and pain in the arch and heel.

During my pregnancy I noticed that my feet started to look like they were getting flatter and I started to develop pain in my heels. This pain started to occur in my second trimester when most of the weight gain tends to happen. I had a hard time fitting in to some of my shoes and it felt like my feet had gotten bigger. Let’s discuss why these changes occur and ways we can manage the pain and discomfort.

Swelling (Edema)

We will start with swelling of the feet. Swelling, also known as edema, occurs when excess fluid collects in your tissues. A certain amount of swelling during pregnancy is normal because you are retaining more water. During pregnancy there is an increase in blood volume that helps you to carry extra oxygen and nutrients to your baby. Pregnancy hormones cause changes in blood vessels that can result in swelling. Gravity pulls all of the extra fluid down to your feet and ankles, causing the swelling.

Here are some tips that can help reduce swelling. Many of them worked for me!

  • Keep your feet elevated as much as possible. If you are working, place a stool under your desk to help elevate the feet.
  • Stretch your legs frequently if you are sitting for long periods of time. Make sure you stretch before walking or participating in any form of exercise.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that allow for stretching.
  • Do not wear socks or stockings that have a tight ring around the calves or ankles.
  • Wear compressing socks or stockings to help keep the circulation going and to prevent pooling of blood.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Exercise regularly.

Flat feet and plantar fasciitis

Flat feet occur because during pregnancy there is an increase in hormones in your body. One of these hormones is called relaxin and it does just that, relaxes the ligaments in the body including the feet. Relaxation of the ligaments plus weight gain contributes to collapse of the arches causing flat feet. When this occurs you may end up having to go up half a shoe size and unfortunately this does not change post pregnancy.

When I noticed my arches starting to collapse, I made sure that I wore good supportive footwear. I also tried to avoid walking barefoot to help reduce pressure on the joints of my feet. I have hard wood floors and ceramic tile throughout my house so I always made sure I was wearing supportive sandals in the house, which helped prevent foot pain. This also helps prevent plantar fasciitis, or heel pain. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia is overstretched causing pain at the insertion point in the heel. When the arches collapse, they put a lot of strain on the plantar fascia, which can lead to inflammation of the fascia causing heel pain. Stretching and icing exercises can also help reduce heel pain.

These are the main changes that occur in the feet during pregnancy. Not all pregnant women experience these changes, however most will experience at least on of these changes. The changes can be mild or can be severe causing an increased amount of pain and discomfort. By following these tips on prevention and treatment of these symptoms, you can manage your pain level and still enjoy a happy and healthy pregnancy!

As the owner of, and a chiropodist (foot specialist) at, Ontario Foot and Orthotics, I welcome any of your questions or concerns. For more information, or to book an assessment, please contact Ontario Foot and Orthotics at one of our two locations: 519-623-3000 (Cambridge), 905-878-6479 (Milton). Or visit us online at

Milton Orthotics – Qualities Of A Good Shoe

There are many shoe manufacturers and many stores, particularly discount stores.  This has led to a large variety of shoes and also a large variety in the quality of the shoes.  Since the feet serve as the foundation of the structural support of your body, it is important to select quality shoes.  Below are some tips in selecting a good shoe.

What makes a good shoe?

  • Flexible in the right places – the front end of the sole must be soft and should flex to correspond to how your toes flex.  Two tips in selecting a good shoe is to make sure the front third of the shoe bends easily (not the rear two-thirds), and secondly, try to twist the shoe (holding the front and back parts of the shoe) by rotating your hands in opposite directions – a good shoe should not twist very much or very easily.
  • Room for the toes – in regular walking your toes naturally spread out.  Make sure when you try on a shoe, it has some ‘wiggle room’ for your toes.  This will prevent hard calluses from forming and reducing the chance of developing bunions and foot discomforts and pain overall.
  • Mind your arches – the shoe you purchase should either have an interchangeable inner sole, or you should purchase the shoe according to the type of arch you have.  There are three main categories of the arch:
  1. Neutral arch – these require firm midsoles and straight to semi-curved ‘lasts’ (‘last’ is the shape of the sole).
  2. Low-arch or ‘flat feet’ – select a shoe with a straight last and motion control to help stabilize your feet.
  3. High arch – get a shoe that provides cushioning to assist with shock absorption; a curved last also can help.

If you are still not sure and want professional advice on your feet and shoe selection, visit a chiropodist, your foot care specialist.

To arrange an assessment, contact us at one of our two locations: 519-623-3000 (Cambridge), 905-878-6479 (Milton).  Or visit us at

Foot Doctor : Where does this pain come from? It starts with the feet.

Ouch! Lots of people experience seemingly inexplicable body pain, especially in cold weather. Aches in your lower body and neck can be a result of situational strain but if you are beginning to notice that it is happening frequently then perhaps the answer you are looking for isn’t under your nose, it starts with your toes.

Everything from the back of the heel, knee, calf, hips, lower back and neck can experience muscle pain as a result of problems with the anatomy of your feet and the way you carry weight when you move. These types of dysfunctions are called biomechanical issues and treating such afflictions is the specialty of a little place in Milton and Cambridge called Ontario Foot and Orthotics.

One example of problems many people have with their feet and simply ignore for most of their life is over or under pronation. Pronation is the way the ankle rolls and rotates naturally during a step and it is something everyone does. The heel comes down first and the ankle rolls a few degrees to evenly distribute the weight of your body across your foot. Problems begin to occur when either the shape of your foot or the way you naturally walk cause you to roll your foot either too much or too little during pronation. This causes too much weight to be disproportionally distributed to certain parts of the foot, depending on how you are pronating.

It seems like a simple fix but these things take an expert to diagnose. The staff at Ontario Foot and Orthotics will schedule an appointment and analyze the shape of your feet and the way you walk. Muscles in your feet span across joints and connect to a whole set of muscles which are connected all the way up your legs, back and neck. Through custom orthotic inserts and preventative strategies to fight pain, Ontario Foot and Orthotics can provide solutions to the mysterious muscle pain you thought would never go away.

Call Ontario Foot and Orthotics at 519-623-3000 in Cambridge or 905-878-6479 in Milton or visit for more info.

Over-the-counter shoe inserts vs. custom prescription orthotics

When you have discomfort in your feet, it’s only natural to look for solutions. Some will try over-the-counter (OTC) foot inserts to try and get relief, while others seek professional advice from a foot care specialist and get a custom solution, prescription orthotics.

A store bought insert/insole usually provides cushioning, or has pre-moulded arch support and can assist in correcting foot structure. However, despite relieving mild to moderate discomforts, such inserts can increase foot problems as they wear down, so it is important to replace them regularly. What has also been commonly found is that each of your feet can be unique from each other, so each may have different support requirements. So how is it possible that a standard OTC foot insert solves different problems uniquely appearing in each foot? Keep in mind that if there is inadequate support, other problems can develop.

The best route to take is to see your registered foot care specialist. A chiropodist will assess the needs of each of your feet and recommend a custom solution that also suits your lifestyle, work requirements and the type of exercise that you enjoy the most. Your chiropodist may recommend either non-custom inserts, or prescription orthotics. It would depend on your unique needs and your budget. Prescription foot orthotics are covered by most extended health insurance benefit plans and best solve your foot problem for a long term solution.

In addition to obtaining the proper supportive orthotics, your chiropodist will also make preventive suggestions to optimize your foot health. This may include advice on which style of shoe best fits your feet, foot care instructions, sports medicine and much more.

For more information, or to arrange an assessment, contact Ontario Foot and Orthotics at 519-623-3000 in Cambridge or 905-878-6479 in Milton. Visit us at

Fallen Arches & Heel Pain – Your Feet are Asking For Help

Pain is one of the main reasons why people seek help – with heel pain, seek the help of a chiropodist – your foot care specialist. The most common cause of heel pain is a condition called ‘plantar fasciitis.’ Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the dense band of tissue that connects the heel and the base of the toes. Due to a fallen arch and poor foot biomechanics, the resulting micro-tears and strain leads to inflammation and pain of the plantar fascia. People often feel it when they step out of bed onto the floor, or after prolonged sitting. Simple ways to reduce the inflammation are to rest, ice and elevate the foot. Taking shorter steps, avoiding high-impact exercises and avoiding walking barefoot also help. If the inflammation and pain is not addressed adequately, a bone spur can develop and the pain can become chronic. A chiropodist will assess your foot and address the faulty biomechanics, often with a custom prescribed foot orthotic, as well as stretches and teaching you how to better care for your feet.

Fallen arches, or ‘flat feet’:

Having flat feet is a common finding. It is a lowering of the inside edge of your feet, leading to instability, local physical stress and reduces the shock-absorbing qualities of the arch. You may not suffer symptoms from fallen arches, though over time symptoms can develop: tired, stiff and sore arches; pain in the ankles, knees, hip or low back; painful shin splints with activity, Achilles tendonitis, bunions and osteoarthritis. It is important to address the foot instability and resulting faulty biomechanics of your feet due to the fallen arches. Foot orthotics are very helpful and stabilizes your fallen arch, reducing your symptoms. A chiropodist will conduct a complete biomechanical assessment of your flat feet and prescribe custom foot orthotics that match your unique foot structure and function.

To arrange an assessment, contact Ontario Foot & Orthotics at one of our two locations: 519-623-3000 in Cambridge or 905-878-6479 in Milton. You can also visit us at