Foot pain is a common complaint in pregnancy due to changes in your centre of gravity and the weight gain that naturally happens during this time. Additionally, your ligaments soften in late pregnancy as your body prepares for labour. This makes your feet spread out and feel less supported. The extra pressure on your feet can often lead to oedema and fallen arches. Here's an overview of these two conditions:
Oedema, more commonly referred to as swelling of the feet, is caused by changes to your circulation during pregnancy. Altered hormone levels cause the walls of your blood vessels to relax, so they don't operate as efficiently as they usually do. This leads to sluggish circulation and fluid pools in the tissues of your feet and lower legs.
If you experience oedema you should try to reduce the swelling and promote better circulation to prevent varicose veins developing. Oedema can be treated at home by elevating your feet above your heart for a few minutes several times a day, which will encourage the fluid to flow out of your feet and legs. You should also avoid wearing shoes that are tight or socks with seams as these can further constrict your circulation. Additionally, if you have to sit or drive for long periods of the day, take regular breaks and walk around for a few minutes. Walking causes the muscles in your legs to contract, which can improve blood flow through your veins.
The extra pressure on the supporting structures of your feet can cause your arches to collapse and your feet to roll inwards. This can lead to changes in how your feet meet the ground when you walk and cause inflammation along the band of tissue on your sole that connects your heel to the front of your foot. When this occurs, you'll experience heel pain and your feet will ache after even a short walk.
A podiatrist can treat fallen arches by measuring your feet for custom-made orthotic insoles. These insoles slip into your shoes and are shaped to give your feet some additional support and lift your arches. They can also be made to redistribute your weight across your feet, which will take pressure off the joints and muscles in your feet and enable any inflammation to settle down. Your podiatrist can also give you advice on choosing supportive, well-fitting footwear during pregnancy and show you how to do some simple exercises to prevent your feet from becoming stiff.
If you're concerned about the impact of pregnancy on the health of your feet, schedule an appointment with your podiatrist at a place like Dapto Podiatry Clinic for a thorough assessment.Share