Pregnancy is full of changes for your body. Some are obvious—the growing belly, the weight gain, the morning sickness—while others are less so. One issue that many women don’t consider before they become pregnant is foot pain. It’s more common and debilitating than you might realize.
Swelling Belly, Swelling Feet
Foot pain and pregnancy often go hand in hand. Your feet are your foundation and support your whole body. They absorb pressure from your weight as well as the shock from hitting the ground. Your feet are designed to handle the strain under normal circumstances. Body changes during pregnancy, however, can add to the stress on your lower limbs. This causes a variety of aches and pains.
It’s Just Your Hormones
Your body releases a number of hormones during those nine months. Some of them cause your body to retain fluid. This can lead to uncomfortable edema, or swelling, in your lower limbs. The fluid often collects in your feet and ankles because of gravity, making your feet ache. Natural weight gain doesn’t help the discomfort, either. Added weight will change your center of gravity and increases the pressure on your lower limbs. This can strain both your legs and your feet, and even contribute to varicose veins. The pain can make it difficult to wear your regular shoes or spend much time standing or walking around.
Another hormone your body produces loosens the ligaments in your hips to prepare for labor. Unfortunately, this relaxes the ligaments in other areas of your body as well, including the feet. The loosened ligaments combined with added pressure can flatten your arches. This makes you more prone to overpronation, a hurting midfoot, and heel pain.
Regaining Your Comfort
Pregnancy may be hard on your lower limbs, but you don’t have to resign yourself to sitting around while you wait nine months for your new little one to arrive. In fact, you shouldn’t do that—you need your body, lower limbs included, to stay healthy and strong. Taking care of your foot pain can reduce your symptoms and help you stay mobile during this time. Dr. Noah Levine will evaluate your lower limbs and check for abnormal symptoms that may signal more serious issues. Once our staff has a clearer understanding of the issues in your feet and legs, we can help you establish a treatment plan that matches your needs.
Remedies You Can Do at Home
Elevate and ice your feet periodically throughout the day. This helps discourage and even decrease swelling in your lower limbs. Alternate that resting with mild to moderate exercise to improve your circulation. Ankle rotations, regular walks, and other low-impact activities help increase the blood flow to your lower limbs, which reduces cramping and helps with edema. Though it may seem counterintuitive, drink plenty of water every day. Dehydration actually worsens swelling, so staying hydrated will reduce your symptoms.
Make sure your shoes are appropriate for your lower limbs, too. Feet often expand a half or even a whole shoe size during this time, which can make wearing your normal footwear uncomfortable. Make sure you choose models that fit correctly and have plenty of cushioning and support through your arch and heel, especially if your feet are flattening out. You may need orthotics to accommodate overpronation or heel pain.
If you’re expecting a bundle of joy but are struggling with foot pain, know you are not alone and there is help. You can take steps to stay mobile and comfortable while pregnant. Let Absolute Foot Care Specialists help you stay on your feet and healthy. Call (702) 839-2010 or use our website to reach us for an appointment.