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Pregnancy changes foot structure, study says

  • Researchers observe 49 women during their first stages of pregnancy and five months after childbirth
  • The majority of the women's feet became wider, longer and flattened out
Pregnancy changes foot structure, study says

A new study suggests that pregnancy may be the reason why so many women have seen changes in their feet after they had given birth.

Researchers at the University of Iowa observed 49 women during their first stages of pregnancy and five months after childbirth.  Their studies showed that nearly 70 percent of the women’s feet became wider and longer; between 2 and 10 mm. They also noted that the arch of many of their feet flatted out.

The study’s authors believe this is all possible due to the extra weight and joint laxity that takes place during pregnancy.

However, there appeared to be no alterations in foot pressure. Also, additional pregnancies didn't seem to further changes in foot structure either during the study.

Neil Segal, M.D., UI associate professor of orthopedics and rehabilitation, said she was definitive that pregnancy does lead to permanent changes in the feet.

As noted in, Segal remarked, "We know that women, and especially women who have had children, are disproportionately affected by musculoskeletal disorders. It is possible that these foot changes that occur during pregnancy may help explain why, in comparison with men, women are at higher risk for pain or arthritis in their feet, knees, hips and spines."

The study was published in the March issue of the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

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