When you became pregnant, there are certain physical changes you expect. It’s no big surprise when your belly starts to become big, for example, but there are probably some other things you didn’t expect as well, like how pregnancy affects your feet!
There are several ways your feet can be affected when you are expecting, including:
- Foot size – As part of the pregnancy process, the body begins to create and circulate a hormone known as relaxin. This particular hormone helps to relax ligaments in preparation for childbirth, but it also loosens the ligaments in the feet and contributes to them widening. Additionally, the extra weight gained during pregnancy can also cause the feet to become wider.
- Swollen feet and ankles – This is technically known as edema and it’s a very common issue for pregnant women. There are several reasons for the swelling, such as an increase in fluids due to the pregnancy and greater difficulty for blood to circulate back up (when the womb starts to press against blood vessels). If your shoes start to become tight, you should pick up a bigger pair to prevent foot issues from developing.
- Muscle cramps – These are caused by tired muscles, pressure on nerves and blood vessels from the growing womb, or calcium concentration. Foot and leg cramping is most commonly experienced during the second trimester, and most often happens at night.
- Heel pain – The extra weight from your growing baby can lead to excessive stress and strain on the plantar fascia. This increases the likelihood of plantar fasciitis, which is already a common source of heel pain for adults. If you start having sharp, intense pain in the bottom of the heel, we can help.
- Fallen arches – Over the course of the pregnancy, providing increased weight and ligament laxity, it is entirely possible that you will pronate more allowing your arches to fall and your feet will become flat. This can lead to a biomechanical abnormality known as overpronation (feet rotate excessively with every step). Arch supports or orthotic devices are among the treatments that can help with this.
If these are causing foot problems during your pregnancy and you need advice or professional foot care, simply call (317) 545-0505 to request an appointment with your go-to foot doc or contact us online right now.