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Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic

How Pregnancy Can Affect Your Feet

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Most moms-to-be wouldn’t trade the experience of carrying their growing, beautiful child for anything in the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Pregnancy causes many aches, pains, and physical changes in a woman’s body—some quite obvious, but others less so. This includes the feet and lower limbs, which can be altered (sometimes permanently) as a result of pregnancy.

Pregnant woman holding feet

First, let’s take a look at foot pain. The added weight changes your center of gravity, alters your stance and gait, and puts extra pressure on your feet and knees. Not all of those changes necessarily go away after you have your baby, either—a 2013 University of Iowa study looked at women’s feet both during the first trimester and 5 months after childbirth, and found that 60-70 percent of mothers wound up with wider, longer, and flatter feet permanently. Flatter feet are more likely to overpronate, which can lead to foot pain down the road.

Second, swelling. Edema is a common side effect of pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester. Hormonal changes cause blood volume to increase progressively throughout the term, while an expanding uterus presses on blood vessels in the legs and hips. This leads to swelling, as water is displaced and fluid leaks from the circulatory system into surrounding tissues.

Fortunately, these symptoms can be managed. Resting and elevating your feet (and maybe getting the occasional foot rub) are great ways to deal with both swelling and pain. Measure your feet regularly throughout the experience; you may find your shoe size changes temporarily (due to swelling) or permanently (through flattening).

Wear comfortable, supportive socks and shoes that are not too tight and do not pinch or restrict your toes or ankles. You’ll want a pair with plenty of shock absorption, too, and you may find that over-the-counter inserts or custom orthotics from our office help provide the extra arch support or pronation correction you need.

If you find that foot pain during pregnancy is limiting your activities, or you notice swelling that is severe or asymmetrical, contact Dr. Darren Silvester at Next Step Foot & Ankle as soon as possible. Foot pain may be common during pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. Let us evaluate your condition and help you remain as mobile and comfortable as possible during this time in your life. Call us toll free at 855-972-9512 for an appointment at our Pleasanton, TX office.

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