Everything you wonder about foot problems during pregnancy, its causes, symptoms and solutions. Check our article for more.
Growing up in a large family, Claire Lane always heard her mother and aunts complain that their bodies always felt out of control during pregnancy. When the northern Michigan woman became pregnant herself for the first time, Lane couldn’t understand why they complained. “I didn’t experience morning sickness,” she recalls. “I was never exhausted. The first six months were a breeze.”
To learn about morning sickness during pregnancy : Overcoming Morning Sickness
In her seventh month, Lane began to experience pain in her feet after taking her daily walk. “My heel and the inside of my foot began to ache constantly,” she says. “Nothing seemed to help.”
As her pregnancy progressed, Lane noticed her ankles swelling. For the first time in her pregnancy, she understood how her aunts and mother felt. “I knew swollen ankles were part of pregnancy,” Lane says. “But I couldn’t believe how big my feet were. They didn’t even fit my shoes anymore.”
You can learn about pregnancy stages and get week by week pregnancy information in our website.
While most women can handle the downsides to pregnancy, many, like Lane, are concerned when foot problems occur. Swollen ankles and aching feet cause many women to seek relief. Although most foot problems are a natural part of pregnancy, expectant mothers need to take care of their feet so these problems don’t continue after their baby is born.
There are many reasons why women experience foot pain during pregnancy. After the second trimester, the female body produces a chemical called relaxin, which loosens the birth canal so the baby can pass through. Relaxin also causes ligaments throughout the body to slack. Because many ligaments are in your feet, your foot size may expand, causing even your most comfortable pumps to pinch. In most cases, your feet will return to normal after your baby is born, though some women are likely to notice a half size difference.
Relaxin and tight shoes aren’t the only cause of foot pain. During pregnancy, women carry an additional 20 to 30 pounds of weight. To support this, most women adjust their walk by tilting their pelvis forward and curving their lower spine. Because this stance changes the amount of pressure on your feet, you may experience over-pronation, a condition, also called “flat feet,” in which your arch flattens and your feet roll inward when you are walking. This agitates the fibrous tissues that run from the heel to the forefoot and can cause pain.
In addition to flat feet, many women experience edema, a condition in which the extra fluid in your body is stored in the soft tissue of your hands or feet. In the last trimester, many women notice the effects of edema at the end of the day and during the warmer months. While edema may make your ankles look abnormal, this condition is a natural part of pregnancy and subsides after delivery. If the puffiness is sudden, appears greater in one foot or occurs in your face as well as your hands and feet, however, you should contact your doctor or midwife.
Also, check our another article about foot swelling during pregnancy : Foot Swelling Problem and Solution in Pregnancy
Other problems, such as bunions and calluses, can also cause pain. If you have had problems with your feet in the past, the condition may flare up again during pregnancy. After studying karate for years, Lisa Sharp had a variety of problems with her feet. As her pregnancy progressed, her feet became sore again. “I didn’t realize how bad they were until I finally decided to start dealing with the problem,” says Sharp. Fortunately for Sharp and other women, you can do several things to keep your feet healthy and pain free.
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Rewiev Your Commitments
During pregnancy, expectant mothers are told to eat well, exercise regularly and drink plenty of water. Over time, many women let their discipline slide a bit. If you are experiencing foot pain, take a moment to reevaluate your diet and exercise. Make sure you have regular, healthy meals and avoid junk food. Follow the exercise program you discussed with your doctor and drink plenty of water to reduce swelling and help circulation.
Take a Load off Your Feet
If you are on your feet a lot, take short breaks throughout the day to sit and put your feet up. At work, find something, from a pile of books to an overturned bucket, to become a stool. If you are at home, lie on your left side while you elevate your feet to relieve the pressure on your spine.
If you spend most of your day sitting, continue to elevate your feet. To improve the circulation in your feet, get up once an hour to take a short walk. You also can stretch your feet while sitting by expanding your legs and flexing your feet. When you do this, make sure to rotate your ankles and wiggle your toes.
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Choose New Shoes for Pregnancy
If you are experiencing foot problems, do not continue to wear your old shoes. Ramiro M., an expert at a specialty foot care store in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, says many expectant mothers think they can wear the same shoe size throughout pregnancy. Few realize that they may be compounding their foot problems. “We really encourage expecting mothers to get a good fit with lots of room,” he says. “Some women are surprised when we recommend a looser fit, but we tell them they are going to need the room.”
Because each customer is different, Ramiro asks a variety of questions about his patients’ lifestyles before making a shoe recommendation. “We will probably put you in a practical, pretty casual shoe,” he says. “You want a shoe that is very supportive; one that can control shock.” When buying new shoes, Ramiro suggests going to the shoe store at the end of the day. He also encourages women to have their feet measured several times throughout their pregnancy.
But shoes aren’t the only products Ramiro recommends for expecting mothers. If you are experiencing over-pronation, he sells custom inserts to correct the problem. “Many doctors encourage women to wear compression hosiery, which helps keep the pressure from fluids down to a minimum,” he says. “They make many women feel a lot better. It can also help with varicose veins.”
In Sharp’s case, compression hosiery made all the difference. “I experienced considerable relief,” she says. “I was shocked at how small my ankles were. I could move them without even a hint of pain.”
In addition to being comfortable, you can soothe your feet. Many companies, such as Dr. Scholl’s Pedicure Essentials foot creams or Cuccio Naturale’s Milk & Honey Sea Salts Moisturizing Exfoliant, offer home care products that allow you to clean, exfoliate and moisturize your feet.
If you are far along and cannot touch your toes, get some help from your local beauty salon or day spa. Applying nail polish, acrylics or wraps is safe, says Vicki C., an expert of obstetrics and gynecology at Cleveland. In a clean and well-ventilated facility, Vicki says a pedicure can help you trim your toenails and relax.
At the a spa and salon in Grand Rapids, Mich., women have several rejuvenating options to soothe and revitalize sore feet. “Our center helps stimulate circulation as well as revitalize tired feet,” says Paula S., the pedicure professional at their spa center. “We use eucalyptus and Turkish salts to exfoliate the feet and follow that with a eucalyptus foot bath.”
Although a foot massage is included in the pedicure package, Paula never applies pressure to expectant mothers’ feet. “There are points on the foot that can cause women to have contractions,” she says. “We can rub the foot, but we really avoid applying pressure.”
Before you schedule an appointment, Paula recommends telling the spa your delivery date. “We only do massages on women over the fourth month and never in the first trimester since it’s dangerous,” she says. Nonetheless, Paula, herself a mother of two, advises expecting mothers to indulge themselves with a pedicure or a foot massage. “There’s really nothing like it.”
Along with getting new shoes, Lane treated herself to a spa-style pedicure. “I felt harried by the pain in my feet,” she says. “Just being able to relax and get a pedicure made me feel better.”
Since her son’s birth, Lane’s feet have gone back to their normal size. She still recalls how taking care of her feet helped her through the last months of her pregnancy. “Doing something about the pain made me feel like I was back in control again.”
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The names of the people mentioned in the article have been changed for security reasons and to protect privacy.