Along with back pain, foot problems are among the most common complaints for women during pregnancy. As a woman gains weight throughout her pregnancy, there is a constant shift in her centre of gravity. The position of the baby impacts on the relative position of the lower back. Naturally, a pregnant woman’s weight balance will shift from the back to the front.
For some pregnant women, a significant increase in the production of hormones can cause further issues. Hormones cause the ligaments of the feet to loosen which, combined with the added weight gain, results in the feet lengthening and arches flattening. It is no wonder, then, that pregnant women tend to turn out their feet in order to gain better stability.
As turned-out feet is an unnatural stance for the woman, she may experience a number of conditions affecting the mechanics of the feet. Tendons, ligaments, and muscles are forced to work much harder. The majority of pregnant women will, therefore, experience some sort of inflammatory condition as a result. Some of the most common conditions experienced by pregnant women are bunions, painful arches, tendonitis, and ingrown toenails.
In worst case scenarios, a woman’s feet can double in size due to swelling. The legs are also prone to swelling, resulting in a reduced ability to walk long distances. Many pregnant women can develop varicose veins during pregnancy. This is largely a result of the baby putting pressure on the inferior vena cava as it grows throughout the pregnancy.
Reducing Foot Pain and Discomfort
The type of shoes you wore before your pregnancy are not likely to give you the support you need. Purchase shoes that are comfortable, and expect to change your shoes as your pregnancy progresses, if you experience further changes in the size and shape of your feet. As the shape of your arches will change during your pregnancy, it is important to use arch supports to relieve the strain.
Stretching helps your ligaments, tendons, and muscles adapt to the additional pressure put on the feet and legs during your pregnancy. You will also experience better circulation with daily stretching exercises. Each woman’s experience is different, so you should consider supervised exercise as opposed to going it alone.
Can a Podiatrist Help?
Absolutely. A podiatrist can carry out a physical exam of your feet and legs. With a podiatrist’s recommendations, you can develop an exercise regime that is tailored to your needs. Support hose can help relieve the pressure on your legs and feet. However, support hose prescribed by a podiatrist are much better than those purchased over the counter.
Many pregnant women greatly benefit from custom orthotics. This branch of medicine focuses on devices that provide support for limbs and joints. Your podiatrist can provide you with suitable devices to provide support for a number of pregnancy-related conditions. As there are a multitude of foot conditions that can arise during pregnancy, a podiatrist is best placed to provide you with the treatments that you need.
Step By Step can provide you with scheduled checkups throughout your pregnancy. Based on our evaluations, we can recommend and provide treatments to help reduce the impact of your pregnancy on your feet, legs, and lower back. Unfortunately, many women continue to experience problems with their feet after a pregnancy has ended. Step By Step can provide treatment to restore the natural mechanics of your feet.
If you are pregnant or planning on having a baby, contact Step By Step so we can provide you with excellence in pregnancy foot care.