There are a number of changes that occur to the body during pregnancy including the foot and ankle.
Three changes that occur include:
- Weight gain during pregnancy. This can place more pressure on the feet.
- Changes in the way weight is distributed. Weight is transferred more lower and forward, that is, the center of gravity changes. That means that there is more pressure on the arch and ball of the foot. Arch pain becomes more common during the last 3 months of pregnancy and up to a couple of months after delivery.
- The hormone, relaxin, is responsible for softening ligaments in the pelvis so that the pelvic bones can spread apart and form the birth canal. Relaxin also circulates throughout the body, softening other ligaments including those that support the foot. It is not uncommon to gain ½ to one full shoe size due to stretching of the ligaments in the arch of the foot. That stretching or spreading process can also create heel and arch pain. Relaxin levels may remain elevated for a couple of months after pregnancy.
Dr. Ed Davis, a podiatrist in San Antonio, recommends the following measures that can be taken to minimize the effects of pregnancy on the feet:
- Consider avoiding being “barefoot and pregnant.” Obtain a good pair of support sandals or clogs. Some common brands include, Dansko clogs, Birkenstock sandals, NAOT sandals. There are many similar products out there.
- Control excessive swelling of the legs with elevation, support hose or even massage. Occasionally, we will prescribe devices called “intermittent compression” units if swelling is excessive.
- Maintain a modest level of low impact exercise based on what your obstetrician deems safe.
- Walking is ideal but walk with well supportive shoegear, avoiding flimsy athletic shoes.
- The effects on the feet from weight and hormonal changes can be minimized with use of supportive devices for the feet, foot orthotics.
If you are experiencing foot pain during your pregnancy, contact Dr. Ed Davis, South Texas Podiatrist. His office is conveniently located in the Stone Oak area of San Antonio, Texas.