Hopefully you already knew that the nine months were going to be physical demanding, but we could understand not expecting foot issues during your pregnancy. In all likelihood, you are fairly preoccupied with everything that comes with the birth of a child, but let’s take a moment to examine how pregnancy affects your feet.
Foot Issues during Pregnancy
There are a couple of issues and areas of concern that are more prevalent than others when it comes to our pregnant patients. These include edema, overpronation, and footwear, any of which can cause or contribute to difficulties in the feet during the nine months. We are inclined to feel as though you are already managing a lot, but learning about these areas can allow you know your options for dealing with them and preventing issues.
It is rather common for the ankles and feet of pregnant women to swell and cause discomfort or even pain. When this happens, it is a sign that fluids are pooling down in the lower extremities. This doesn’t mean that your body is necessarily producing a lot of excessive fluids, but rather that it has become displaced.
In addition, the enlarged uterus contributes to slowing down circulation in the lower body. It places pressure on the vessels responsible for carrying blood to and from the feet, ankles, and legs, which contributes to the swollen condition.
Some of the ways to fight back against edema include elevating your legs (when possible), drinking extra water and fluids, and exercise, particularly aquatic activities.
Obviously, you are carrying additional weight, and this can affect your feet by causing the arches to flatten. In turn, the flat feet affect pronation – the natural inwards rolling motion feet use during the ground phase of steps. A normal pronation is roughly a fifteen percent roll, but flatten arches lead to overpronation, which can cause alignment issues and pain all the way to the lower back.
During this nine-month period, you may benefit from additional arch support. This can be found either from inserts bought at the store or orthotic devices provided by our office. We can help you determine which will work best for you.
Importance of Footwear in Pregnancy
Whether pregnant or not, shoes that fit well are essential for preventing an array of foot and ankle issues. During this time, however, you can expect to undergo changes in your shoe size. This can even happen several times!
As soon as you notice that your footwear has become rather tight, it is time to have your feet measured at a shoe store and find pairs that fit the current size. Be sure to find pairs that are not too small or excessively tight. You should be able to freely wiggle your toes. Also, pick out ones that have ample arch support and cushioning.
Exercises for Pregnant Women
Too many people have the misconception that exercise is a bad idea for pregnant women. This is simply not true and reasonable amounts of exercise—approximately half an hour on most days—will provide benefits for mother and child. Exercise improves circulation, which is essential in nourishing both your body and your baby’s. It is also proven to reduce the risk of leg cramps and foot issues during pregnancy.
That said, we do not advocate certain exercises, but you will receive ample benefit from aquatic activities, walking, and even stretching. When it comes to aquatic activities, these exercises do not place harsh stress on joints and the water pressure can alleviate edema.
Professional Care for Pregnancy Foot Problems
Pregnancy can already be hard on the body, but there is no need to make it more difficult! Simply contact Richardson Podiatry Associates for the first-class foot care you deserve. Dr. Gene Reister and our staff are ready to help with an array of techniques to relieve pain and provide the comfort you need during this time.