Foot Problems in Pregnancy
Pregnancy triggers many different changes in a woman’s body and can cause common complaints throughout pregnancy, including foot pain. Due to the natural weight gain during pregnancy, a mother’s centre of gravity is altered. This causes a new weight-bearing stance and added pressure on the knees and feet.
Two of the most common foot problems experienced by expectant mothers are over-pronation and oedema. These problems can lead to pain at the heel, arch, or the ball of the foot. Many women may also experience leg cramping and varicose veins due to weight gain.
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What are the Causes of Foot Problems in Pregnancy?
Over-pronation and oedema (swelling of the feet and ankles) are very common foot problems experienced during pregnancy.
Over-Pronation, also referred to as flat feet, is caused when a person’s arch flattens out upon weight bearing and their feet roll inward when walking. This can create extreme stress or inflammation on the plantar fascia, the fibrous band of tissue that runs from the heel to the forefoot. Over-pronation can make walking very painful and can increase strain on the feet, calves, knees and back. Over-pronation is the added pressure on the body as a result of weight gain.
Oedema, also referred to as swelling in the feet, normally occurs in the latter part of pregnancy. Oedema results from the extra blood accumulated during pregnancy.
Treatment and Prevention of Foot Problems in Pregnancy
There are effective ways to treat both over-pronation and oedema during pregnancy.
Over-Pronation can be treated conservatively with orthotic insoles, designed with appropriate arch support and rear-foot realignment to correct the over-pronation. Proper fitting footwear is also very important, so choose comfortable footwear that provides extra support and shock absorption. It is important to treat over-pronation for pain relief, but also to prevent further foot conditions from developing such as Plantar Fasciitis, Heel Spurs, Metatarsalgia, Tendonitis and Bunions.
Oedema in the feet and ankles can be minimised by elevating your feet as often as possible. When sitting for long periods of time, place a small stool by your feet to elevate them. Make sure you wear proper fitting footwear.
Exercise regularly to promote overall health; walking is the best exercise. Drink plenty of water to keep the body hydrated. This helps the body retain less fluid.