This study sought to investigate plantar pressures during gait in the last 4 months of pregnancy and in the postpartum period.
Fifty-eight pregnant women with no history of foot, ankle, or knee musculoskeletal pain, no pelvic girdle pain, no neuromuscular trauma or disease, and no cardiovascular problems participated in this study.
Nine postpartum women were also selected for the study.
Anthropometric data (age, shoe size, body mass, and height) were recorded for each participant.
The length of the lower limbs (from the anterosuperior iliac spine to the medial malleolus) was determined with a tape measure in dorsal decubitus.
Each participant was invited to walk barefoot; this motor task consisted of three gait trials at their preferred speed.
Four dependent variables were analysed for six zones corresponding to medial and lateral rearfoot, medial and lateral midfoot, and medial and lateral forefoot – Peak time, P*t, Peak pressure and Area.
In the postpartum group, footprint parameters were modified compared with the pregnant group, indicating a trend toward partial return to control values, although differences persisted between the postpartum and control groups.
In pregnant women, a change in plantar pressures during gait was found compared with healthy controls.
Decreases in peak pressure, contact area, and peak time were observed for the forefoot and rearfoot.
In contrast, an increase in these parameters was demonstrated for the midfoot.
The gait strategy adopted by pregnant women seemed to be lateralisation of gait with an increased contact area of the lateral midfoot, and both reduced pressure and later peak time on the medial forefoot.
These findings could define a specific pattern of gait footprints in late pregnancy because plantar pressures had characteristics that could maintain a stable and safe gait.
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