By Melissa J. Lockwood, DPM, Heartland Foot and Ankle Associates
There are thousands of pregnancy books out there and quite a few touch on the foot problems a woman may experience while expecting.
Below are a few common issues that pregnant women deal with and how to combat them well before your new bundle of joy arrives.
Plantar fascitiis — During pregnancy, the ligaments in your body loosen up to accommodate for baby. This means all the ligaments, including one on the bottom of your foot. This ligament, called the plantar fascia, is easily strained and can cause heel pain (especially first thing in the morning). We treat this problem all the time, and the most important thing you can do is passively stretch the area anytime you may go from a sitting to standing position. That will help keep both the ligament and the Achilles tendon (which also attaches to your heel bone and can get very tight) nice and stretched out throughout the day! We recommend the Ultraflexx and stretching splints to help with this problem as well. Your mechanics will change with the baby (see shoe size below!) and it is important to get conservative, healthy treatment right away so you aren’t sidelined caring for that newborn!
Swelling (Edema) — The curse of most pregnant women!
This can be especially severe during the hot summer months:
- Drink extra water — at least 100oz/day!
- If you work sitting down, take frequent walks
- If you work standing up, take frequent breaks to rest and elevate your legs
- Wear light compression hose. Ask your OB or podiatrist if these stockings are right for you
Increased shoe size — Bellies aren’t the only things “getting bigger.” It is very common for women to increase their shoe size up to one-and-a-half sizes during pregnancy. Unfortunately, we often don’t ever go back to that dainty size six! When ligaments are looser, it allows the mechanics of our bodies, and especially our feet, to change. It is critical to be evaluated when you have foot pain during pregnancy as these problems tend to not resolve after the baby is born. Custom foot orthotics are often prescribed to correct the faulty mechanics, and we even have several sandal styles that are great for expectant moms!
Foot issues during pregnancy are common — but definitely treatable!
For more information on any foot or ankle problem, contact Dr. Lockwood at Heartland Foot and Ankle Associates, 309-661-9975, or visit their website at www.HeartlandFootAndAnkle.com for more information and to request an appointment for your aching feet. Their office is located at 10 Heartland Dr., Suite B in Bloomington.