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Pregnancy and Your Feet

Pregnancy and Foot Pain

There is no question that being pregnant brings with it changes physical and emotional changes. It’s quite common for pregnant women to pregnancy feet experience not only general body aches and pains but also pain and swelling in the feet as well. In this article, we are going to discuss a few of the most common foot and ankle problems a pregnant woman experiences that causes her to see a podiatrist. Most foot problems occurring during pregnancy usually show up during the second and third trimesters when weight and fluid retention are at their highest, but can certainly occur anytime during pregnancy.

One of the most common foot problems that occur during pregnancy is swelling of the feet. This is known as edema and slight swelling during pregnancy is a completely normal finding during pregnancy and usually subsides shortly after giving birth. As mentioned, foot and ankle swelling is most noticeable in the second and third trimester and usually worsens late in the evening. Women will notice  that their shoes and socks become tight and they may feel a heaviness in the legs. This swelling will usually go down significantly at night after sleeping. Signs of concern that may be abnormal is if their is increased swelling or a warmer temperature in one leg significantly more than other. In these circumstances, a blood clot or possible infection need to be ruled out by your podiatrist or family doctor.

Another foot problem that is extremely common during pregnancy is heel pain, better known as plantar fasciitis. This painful condition develops when the ligament that supports the bottom of the foot, which is called the plantar fascia,  becomes strained and inflamed due to the increased sudden weight gain. It is important to perform calf and foot stretching exercises to keep this ligament stretched out to decrease the amount of strain on this ligament. This can be accomplished when sitting by extending your leg completely straight and lifting your foot toward your leg. If you feel a stretching in your calf area, you are doing it correctly. This should be done several times a day to keep the ligament limber.

The final foot problem we will discuss that is quite prevalent during pregnancy is ingrown toenails. Pregnancy induced swelling in the feet causes shoes and socks to become tight and squeezes the skin around the nail causing it to become inflamed. During the second trimester, it a good idea to purchase or wear shoes that have soft leather uppers to accommodate the increased swelling that occurs during pregnancy. 

Foot Doctor’s Tips for Pregnant Feet

There are several recommendations available to help minimize and alleviate foot pain and swelling during pregnancy. Most are aimed at decreasing swelling in the feet since this is the most common symptom podiatrists see in pregnant patients.

  • Take 15-30 minute breaks spread throughout the day to rest and elevate your legs and feet. If possible, remove your shoes and elevate the legs and feet above the heart to about eye level when sitting.
  • Wear shoes that are soft but supportive and consider wearing a shoe size larger than normal in the second and third trimesters. This allows a little extra toe wiggle room for swelling feet.
  • Wear soft socks that do not constrict circulation in the leg or put pressure on the toes and toenails.
  • Exercise or walk regularly to promote ciriculation in the legs and feet. This not only decreases swelling but also decreases the occurrence of blood clots in the legs
  • As already mentioned, to prevent arch and heel pain, stretch the calves several times daily and wear a good supportive shoe when walking.

The information provided in this article is not meant to be medical advice and is for educational purposes only. If you would like to learn more about topics related to podiatry, feel free to contact Family Foot & Ankle Centers by clicking here or calling 972-597-4132 to reach our Waxahachie office, 903-872-9910 to reach our Corsicana office, or 972-875-3668 to reach our Ennis office.