Pregnancy And Foot Pain
It is common for women to suffer foot pain during pregnancy, especially during the later stages of pregnancy. Some of the reasons why women develop foot pain during pregnancy include:
- Any biomechanical anomalies an individual may have are exaggerated during pregnancy. This is through the increase in body weight, shift in their center of gravity with growing tummy size, and generalized ligamentous laxity.
- The hormone progesterone runs rampant while pregnant. This hormone helps with the loosening of ligaments in preparation for birth. It may have an impact systemically throughout the whole body, including the feet, not just the pelvis or birth canal.
Pregnancy Related Laxity Of The Feet
Ligamentous laxity to the feet associated with pregnancy may:
- Make the feet swollen
- Change the size and shape of the feet
- And can weaken foot muscles
Common Areas Of Foot Pain During Pregnancy
Foot pain during pregnancy is frequently diagnosed as:
Metatarsalgia – Which is a term referring to generalized foot pain in forefoot region. Where the pain is of vague description with no anatomic structure identified as the specific cause. Inserts called ‘Foot Angels’ are a functional addition that can be added to the inside of your shoe. An inset that can help to provide support, cushioning and improve the functioning of the forefoot. Foot Angles are specific designed for use in ballet flats and heels, and can help reduce metatarsalgia.
Plantar Fasciitis – Women who are pregnant often experience bouts of plantar fasciitis, particularly during late pregnancy. Plantar fasciitis causes pain in the bottom of the heel area and sometimes into the arch of the foot. The plantar fascia is a thin, web-like connective tissue that connects the heel to the front of your foot. It helps support the arch of your foot and functionally importantly for weight bearing activities. The weight gain, centre of gravity distribution changes, and laxity of supportive foot ligaments can all play a role in the development of plantar fascia pain during late pregnancy.
Footwear For Pregnant Women
Due to body changes during and after pregnancy, I recommend:
- When exercising or day to day wear in colder seasons try to wear a supportive, cushioned running shoe. Ideally one that has been professionally fitted. Getting fitted ensures the best function and support specific to your foot. There are plenty of stores around Sydney that do this for you such as the Runners Shop in Clovelly). Otherwise you could consult your local podiatrist for their professional advice. They can help with shoe prescription as well as offer their opinion regarding the relevance for the use of orthotics / insoles for your footwear.
- For going out, dress shoes with a small, wide heel such as “wedges” are acceptable for short periods of time.
- For casual wear in summer, during the hotter months finding something suitable can be a challenge. Especially if you have a grossly swollen feet. The wearing of a supportive, cushioned thong such as “fitflops” rather than “Havaiana’s” can work nicely. Fitflops give space for your hot swollen feet, allowing them to breath whilst providing some arch support.
Easing Foot Pain During Pregnancy
Frequently any foot pain experienced during pregnancy will subside once you give birth. Footwear changes and relative rest although beneficial, often can only help so much. Hence as a result some pregnant women will seek professional advice from a health practitioner such as a podiatrist, or physiotherapist. Managing foot pain when pregnant may be more challenging but doesn’t begin and end with simply shoe changes. So if you have pregnancy related foot pain then book in with one of our team members.
Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products mentioned. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific advice or assistance on Foot Pain During Pregnancy should consult her midwife, obstetrician, general practitioner, physiotherapist or otherwise appropriately skilled practitioner.