You're several months pregnant and the thought of adding a new addition to your family brings you great joy. To make sure things go smoothly with your pregnancy and the health of your baby you've made sure to take your prenatal vitamins, eat right, and go to your doctor on a regular basis.
Even with all that you know you're going to gain weight and experience other body changes due to changing hormones. And unfortunately along with weight gain comes the potential for developing several foot conditions.
It's important to be aware of these foot conditions so you know how to deal with them if they arise.
Flat Feet and Plantar Fasciitis
One of the most common foot problems for pregnant women are collapsing arches and flat feet. These are a direct result of weight gain and looser ligaments. For every pound of body weight you gain an additional three pounds of force are added to your feet when you walk. That extra force can cause your feet to flatten out and with it a condition called plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the fascia on the underside of the foot stretches beyond its capacity, causing micro-tears, inflammation, and pain in your heel.
If you're experiencing heel pain, make sure you're wearing a supportive shoe. You can test your current shoes or any new shoes you plan to purchase. In addition, replace your insoles with an over-the-counter insert like Powersteps. These inserts can help support your foot and prevent it from collapsing further. If you have more severe pain, you'll need to come in for a foot evaluation so the doctor can determine the best ways to treat it. Very likely you'll need custom foot orthotics, a stretching program, and something to reduce the inflammation that will not affect the baby such as icing or Biofreeze, which is a topical medication.
Swelling of the feet and ankles is another common problem for pregnant women. Your body produces 50% more blood and body fluids to meet the needs of the baby. In addition to retaining extra fluid, weight from the growing uterus compresses lower extremity veins, inhibiting the return of blood back to the heart. Other factors that can play a role in swelling are: spending a long time on your feet, a diet high in sodium and too low in potassium, high caffeine consumption, and hot environments.
To reduce swollen feet and ankles ask for an accommodation at work if you usually spend a lot of time on your feet. Make sure to drink plenty of water, cut your coffee and tea consumption, talk to your doctor about appropriate intake of salt and potassium rich foods in your diet, and incorporate low impact exercise into your routine. Wider shoes with a roomier toe box can help accommodate the swelling. Compression stockings can help reduce swelling.
In addition to collapsing arches, you may experience an increase in the length and width of your feet due to hormonal changes. Tight fitting shoes and socks and difficulty with trimming toenails can increase your risk for ingrown toenails.
Purchasing shoes with a wide toe box that fit can help reduce your risk.
Falls and Sprained Ankles
Your center of gravity changes when your pregnant making it harder to maintain stability when you walk. Looser ligaments can add to that instability. More foot support is necessary to prevent trips and falls and possible sprained ankles. Avoid wearing high heeled shoes during this time since they'll only add to your unsteadiness
Cracked heels occur more frequently during pregnancy due to increase in weight and changes in posture. The heels tend to expand which leads to cracks if the skin becomes too dry. Using an intensive moisturizer made for feet or gel socks can prevent heels from cracking.
Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.
Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.