Treatment for foot pain during pregnancy is often overlooked as other medical problems are prioritised. Yet most pregnant women experience foot pain for prolonged periods
throughout pregnancy and the discomfort can be significantly debilitating in an already stressful period of life.
The following five podiatric complications are common during pregnancy and should be included in the overall pregnancy support plan.
1. Weight gain can have a biomechanical impact on the feet as the centre of gravity shifts throughout pregnancy. Weight gain can cause or exacerbate metatarsalgia, bursitis and neuroma, along with corns and calluses. Patients should be advised to avoid wearing high heels or any shoes without adequate support.
2. Production of the hormone relaxin during pregnancy will relax ligaments of the feet and ankles as well as of the cervix. This can cause instability and discomfort through overuse of the muscles in the foot for supplemental support and may lead to long-term, irreversible changes to the feet.
3. Increased force to knees and ankles can cause injury and pain. Added force on the feet combined with biomechanical changes cause over pronation and can result in irreparable arch collapse. Arch height is usually reduced during pregnancy and will become worse with future pregnancies.
4. Oedema is common in the feet and, as well as causing discomfort, may result in problems getting into their usual shoe size. Professional fitting is recommended. Patients should be advised to keep feet elevated while sitting down, to avoid crossing the legs, and to avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time. Walking is recommended to improve circulation.
5. Foot and leg cramps are common during pregnancy due to altered calcium levels, muscle fatigue and increased pressure on nerves and blood vessels. Massage and exercises are recommended to alleviate symptoms.
A podiatrist can help with the above complaints in a variety of ways, including prescription orthotics which can help to support the feet and to relieve symptoms to assist in a more comfortable pregnancy! Call us on 5504 7000 to book an appointment with Wade Ellis.
Reference: Theresa Tram Phan, 2013