Pregnancy triggers many different changes in a woman’s body
Many pregnant women complain of swollen feet and foot pain. Due to the natural weight gain during pregnancy, a woman’s centre of gravity is completely altered. This causes a new weight-bearing stance from the lower back to the front of the body and added pressure to the knees and feet.
In the later stages of pregnancy, a woman may turn her feet out for stability. This puts undue stress on the tendons, muscles and ligaments of the foot, which can cause pain or mechanical problems such as bunions, tendonitis, ingrown toenails and other inflammatory conditions.
A pregnant woman’s foot can also swell or enlarge anywhere from one to two sizes, causing discomfort. Swelling is normally similar in both feet. If swelling is not symmetrical in both feet, this may be a sign of a vascular problem and a doctor should be contacted immediately.
Prevention is better than cure
- There are many preventative measures that women can minimise discomfort. These include:
- Having feet measured several times throughout pregnancy as they will probably change size and this will affect the size of the footwear required
- Choosing comfortable footwear that provides extra support and shock absorption
- Wearing proper fitting footwear that doesn’t constrict circulation
- Exercise regularly followed by a cool down and stretching
- Eating a well-balanced diet, drinking plenty of water and avoiding foods high in salt that can cause fluid retention
- Elevating the feet as often as possible
- Wearing seamless socks that do not constrict circulation
- If driving for a long period of time, take regular breaks to stretch legs and to promote circulation
When to see a Podiatrist
If you are uncomfortable or are suffering from foot pain, a Podiatrist will examine your feet and if necessary:
- Evaluate and treat associated foot problems
- Prescribe support hose
- Prescribe orthotics
Podiatrists have an important role to play in preventing and managing foot problems. Prompt action is important. Problems which are left without assessment or treatment may result in major health risks.