Pregnancy and Foot Changes
Expectant mothers have plenty of changes to look forward to. Welcoming a brand new baby into your life is busy, tiring, and full of its own adjustments and challenges. Before the baby even arrives, though, your body goes through its own series of changes. Some, like your stomach expanding, are obvious. Others, like those in your feet and ankles, may not be quite as visible to others but are uncomfortable enough for you. Sore and swollen feet are common complaints during pregnancy.
All expectant mothers gain a few pounds. This baby weight is appropriate—important, even—for pregnancy; however, like any weight gain, it can strain your lower limbs. It adds force to your feet every time you stand or take a step. Over time, the increased pressure can lead to overuse injuries and stretched out tissues. Your swelling belly also changes your center of gravity, shifting how pressure is placed and distributed through your feet and ankles. At the same time this is happening, your body is making and releasing a hormone that relaxes your ligaments so that your hips can expand. The hormone doesn’t just affect the hips, though. In your feet, this often means a slight flattening of the arch and elongating of the foot. Your feet can increase up to a full shoe size during pregnancy.
Increased hormones also cause an increase in your fluid retention. More water stays in your tissues. Because of gravity, however, that fluid tends to displace downward and collect in your lower limbs, where it can be uncomfortable. This swelling is called edema. All of these symptoms together add up to sore feet for expectant mothers.
The best way to relieve the soreness in your lower limbs is to use conservative treatments to reduce the pressure in the feet and ankles. Shoe changes, orthotics, exercises, and other techniques have all been helpful for many expectant mothers with painful and swollen feet. Dr. Joel W. Brook and Dr. David R. Northcutt can help you determine the best path forward for relief, as well as check for signs of serious conditions like pre-eclampsia that may display symptoms in the lower limbs first.
Since your feet are dealing with extra pressure and possibly expanding, appropriate support and cushioning are important. You may need to change your shoes to fit your feet better. Footwear with low heels and sufficient padding through the sole and arch area help absorb some of the strain while supporting your foot structures. You may need custom orthotics to add an extra layer of protection. Larger shoes help you avoid any tightness or cramping that may result from expanding feet.
Icing and elevating your lower limbs can offer significant relief from swelling. Both discourage the fluid from pooling. Compression socks may help as well. Though it may seem counterintuitive, drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, which can worsen swelling. Exercise to improve your circulation also helps. Activating your muscles no only strengthens your feet, it also helps work some of the fluid out of your tissues.
Sore, swollen feet and pregnancy may often go hand in hand, but you don’t have to settle for uncomfortable lower limbs as your due date nears. With a little care, you can support your body and reduce your pain. If you're in the market for a little extra pampering, learn more about our medical pedicure services called MediCureNow! For discomfort in your feet or ankles, contact Dallas Podiatry Works for an appointment or more information about relief. Fill out the online contact form or call either of our two locations: (972) 566-7474 for our Dallas office; (972) 943-3323 for our office in Plano.