“Now I’m pregnant, but what is causing me to have foot pain?” Pregnancy triggers several different changes in a woman’s body. Due to the natural weight gain during pregnancy, a woman’s center of gravity is completely altered. This change in the center of gravity forces you to stand differently, adding pressure to the knees and feet.
Two of the most common foot problems are over-pronation (flat feet) and edema (swelling). It can start with mild symptoms but can lead to much more severe pain at the heel, arch, or the ball of the foot. Let’s discuss these topics further.
Flat Feet: Over-pronation is a flattening of the arch of the foot. This area flattens out when weight is applied and the feet turn inward. The plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue running down the arch, becomes inflamed due to the excess weight gained in pregnancy which can be uncomfortable and sometimes very painful. If you are dealing with flat feet, contact us soon for several options for remedies and treatments that will help!
Edema/Swelling: When you are in your later stages of pregnancy, it is common to notice swelling towards the end of the day. A growing uterus & natural weight gain puts pressure on the veins and prevents the blood circulation from being ideal. Unsupportive shoes and standing on your feet for long periods of time can exacerbate the swelling. Lucky for you, there are many ways you can reduce the amount of swelling you are noticing. Drink plenty of water and stay cool and hydrated. If you can avoid standing on your feet for long periods of time, this can help a lot! Take regular walks and when you are able to rest, elevate your feet. Make sure your shoes and socks aren’t too tight. It’s important to have the best circulation possible in order to help avoid swelling. Podiatrists are able to help provide ways to manage the swelling as well! Call today. If your face or hands are swelling, contact your primary care physician right away.
Treatment and Prevention
There are effective ways to treat both over-pronation and edema during pregnancy.
Over-Pronation can be treated conservatively with custom orthotics. In our office, we can take a digital scan of your feet to detect pressure points, and have a pair of custom inserts made for you. Proper fitting footwear, such as athletic shoes, are also very important in treating over-pronation and your custom inserts fit easily in this type of shoe. Your best bet is to wear comfortable footwear that provides extra support and shock absorption.
It is important to treat over-pronation for pain relief but also to prevent other foot conditions from developing such as Plantar Fasciitis, Heel Spurs, Metatarsalgia, Posterior-Tibial Tendinitis and/or Bunions. Custom inserts can help these issues as well.
The number one thing you can do with your feet while you are pregnant is to elevate them! Prop them up and elevate them just above your heart level for best results. This increases blood flow which is good for your whole body. When you have good circulation, your heart is able to deliver oxygen to every place in the body. Try to elevate your feet for at least 15 minutes, a few different times a day. Remember to drink plenty of fluids and eat a healthy diet as well.
(Swelling is normally similar in both feet. If swelling is not symmetrical in both feet, this may be a sign of a vascular problem and a primary care doctor should be contacted immediately.)
At Howard County Foot and Ankle, we treat everything from warts and ingrown toenails to flatfeet and heel pain. Many people come to us for diabetic foot care or simply because they have foot pain or ankle pain and don’t know the cause of it. We handle emergencies such as fractures and infections as well. Dr. Bui performs a wide variety of surgeries and specializes in reconstructive surgery of the foot and ankle. You won’t find a better foot doctor than our highly skilled and highly qualified, Dr. Christina Bui! Call or email us to ask any questions you might have. We would love to be your go-to Podiatrist!