The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Secrets To Maintaining Feet of Power During Pregnancy

Posted by on Monday, May 25th, 2015

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A few post-pregnancy aches and pains will be inevitable, but one thing’s for sure: you want to be back on your feet as quickly as possible! You’ll likely be running up and down stairs to do the laundry multiple times a week and put the baby in for a nap, not to mention you’ll be antsy to take your little one out in the stroller as soon as you can. The stress on a woman’s feet during pregnancy is oft-overlooked, but should be a top concern if you want to stay mobile. Our NYC podiatrists will help you understand some of the foot changes during pregnancy and how to cope with common pregnancy foot complications.

pregnancy foot
Foot changes are among the “wackiest pregnancy symptoms.” Image Source: WhatToExpect.com

What Happens To The Feet During Pregnancy?

As you may have heard, sometimes the stretched-out ligaments of the feet can permanently change one’s shoe size! One study found that 60-70% of women had longer feet and shorter arches following pregnancy. According to Bret Ribotsky, president of the American College of Foot and Ankle Orthopedics and Medicine: “The same hormones that are released to relax the pelvic area also loosen the ligaments in the foot. In addition, the increased body weight of pregnancy lowers the arches, further adding to the foot’s length and width.”

Edema

A good 75 percent of pregnancy women experience foot swelling at some point during their pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. At The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine, we’ve had pregnant patients tell us they feel as though their feet feel like “swelled up sausages” or “filled water balloons that are about to pop!”

Your weight gain adds pressure to the feet, which contributes to edema (swelling). Fluid retention occurs naturally, as your body distributes more water to the tissues to facilitate fetal development. When the uterus expands, the vena cava that carries blood from your lower limbs back to the heart experiences greater pressure and slowed bloodflow, which also allows more fluid to seep out into the tissues. Symptoms are worsened by summer temperatures, being on your feet all day, and carrying multiples.

To reduce foot edema, NYC podiatrists recommend:

– Drinking at least 10 cups of water a day, which makes the body less likely to hang onto extra water and flushes out excess sodium.

– Eating a well-balanced diet low in salt.

– Kicking your feet up to relax as often as possible, with your feet propped on pillows, above the heart.

– Sleeping on your left side to improve circulation in your lower extremities.

– Avoiding long periods of sitting or standing — or at least taking frequent breaks.

– Wearing comfortable shoes that do not constrict the feet.

– Putting on a pair of maternity support stockings in the morning to improve circulation.

– Soaking your feet in an Epsom Salt bath in the evenings.

– Seeking laser pain relief therapy from a podiatrist to reduce aches and pains.

Overpronation & plantar fasciitis

Another common issue that arises during pregnancy is the tendency of the arch to flatten, causing the foot to roll inward while walking or standing. This phenomena is caused by the hormone relaxin, which causes the pelvic ligaments to loosen in preparation to birth — but also causes every other ligament in the body to loosen a bit as well! The dense band of tissue connecting the heel and forefoot, the plantar fascia, especially becomes strained and inflamed. Plantar fasciitis can make simple tasks like walking terribly uncomfortable — especially during those first few steps out of bed in the morning.

Treatments include:

– Stretching and strengthening the calf muscles each day.

– Staying fit and active by walking, swimming or recumbent biking.

– Wearing comfortable, supportive athletic shoes with ample arch support and shock absorption.

– Asking your podiatrist about laser pain relief or fitting you with orthotic shoe inserts that add customized support to all footwear.

Get Help For Aching Pregnancy Feet in New York City

The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine is your one-stop-shop for all your pregnancy-related foot woes. We are fully equipped to diagnose and treat any type of foot and ankle disorder that may arise. For your convenience, we offer two facilities — one in Manhattan, and one in Westchester, NY. We offer advanced pain relief treatments, including pro-athlete-caliber physical therapy, 3-D orthotics scanning, MLS pain laser, platelet rich plasma injection therapy, and extracorporeal shockwave therapy. Contact us to schedule your appointment with our board-certified podiatrists today.

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.