Its spring, and baby bumps are everywhere. Five of my friends are pregnant, and I’m glowing just thinking of them. My pregnant friend recently reminded me of some of the not-so-joyful aspects of having a bun in the oven when she emailed me for advice. She was experiencing plantar fasciitis, inflammation of the ligament that supports the arch of the foot. She couldn’t exercise without discomfort, and she longed for her daily walks with her beloved dog.
In pregnancy, rapid weight gain can incite plantar fasciitis. Fortunately, there are many non-invasive treatments for plantar fasciitis that are safe for mom and baby.
Wearing a supportive shoe is paramount, and including an arch support may offer more biomechanical control and cushioning. Stretching exercises for the calf muscles will reduce the stress and strain on the plantar fascia. Patients find massage soothing and ice is helpful in reducing inflammation. Topical analgesics, such as Biofreeze, can relieve pain while avoiding pharmaceuticals.
Another common foot and ankle issue in pregnancy is swelling. In addition to retaining extra fluid, weight from the growing uterus compresses lower extremity veins, impeding their function of returning blood to the heart. While this usually goes away when baby arrives, it can be incredibly uncomfortable. Elevating the feet and wearing compression stockings help to control edema. Physical activity, including walking, reduces swelling by activating the leg muscles, which act as pumps on the deep veins.
Women often notice their feet changing size or shape after a pregnancy. The rapid increase in weight combined with ligamentous laxity (loose ligaments) can cause widening or elongation of the foot. Postpartum mamas might find that their favorite shoes no longer fit, or are no longer comfortable because their arches may have collapsed a little. Getting measured by a knowledgeable salesperson is the best place to start.
As a mom, I know how important it is to keep the feet in tip-top shape. Keeping up with little ones is a job in itself. If you’re experiencing discomfort, or want to learn more about your foot condition, visit one of our friendly Seattle podiatrists for a consult.
You can reach us at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City at 206-368-7000.