When you are pregnant, your whole body goes through many changes; why should your feet be left out?! At Edmond/Norman Foot & Ankle Care, we want our patients to be aware of how feet are affected by pregnancy and how to best care for them. There are three areas of concern:
Hormonal Changes—during pregnancy, the body releases a hormone known as relaxin. This hormone helps ligaments to become loose in preparation for the body to give birth. The affect on your feet, however, of loosening ligaments means ankles that give way more readily, increasing the chances of sprains and strains. Pregnant women should wear low heels and shoes that have good ankle support to minimize the risk of ankle sprains. The relaxed ligaments are also what give the impression that feet get bigger during pregnancy. Indeed, buying shoes in a larger size may be necessary to accommodate the foot in the last trimester.
Excess Weight—the extra weight gain of pregnancy changes your center of gravity and affects balance. Preventing falls is another reason for low-heeled sturdy shoes. The additional weight also puts excess pressure on your feet, particularly on your arches. Many pregnant women experience symptoms of flat feet: feet turn in more, which causes pain in the arches and also over stretches the plantar fascia resulting in pain and inflammation in the heel.
Swelling—as the uterus grows, it puts pressure on the veins that bring blood back from your feet and legs. This can result in swollen feet and ankles from the excess blood pooling in those areas and slowing circulation. This swelling can be quite painful and make walking or standing for long periods of time difficult. You can help reduce the discomfort by putting your feet up regularly, drinking plenty of fluids and making sure that your socks are not tight as this will further restrict circulation and increase swelling. In some cases, excessive swelling in the feet (as well as the hands and face) is a sign of a serious medical condition known as preeclampsia which requires a doctor’s treatment.
If you are pregnant and experiencing problems with your feet, contact either our Edmond or Norman office. Our board certified podiatrist, Dr. A. Bil Buksh will be able to suggest ways to increase your comfort level and maintain the good health of your feet during your pregnancy.