September 13, 2013

Pregnancy foot pain

Over the years as a podiatrist at The Podiatry Practice and The Ingrown Toenail Centre, we’ve encountered many women who arrive with pregnancy foot pain. Although having a baby is a lovely thing, it often does not-so-lovely things to your feet which can cause great discomfort.

pregnancy and foot pain

Pregnancy and foot pain

The most common podiatric complaints include heel pain, forefoot pain, bunion pain, leg pain and knee pain. Additionally swollen feet and legs that cramp regularly can cause great discomfort. Skin problems can occur, leading to an increase in callus around the heels and plantar forefeet and also ingrown toenails.

Pregnancy foot pain

As the pregnancy progresses weight gain causes changes to the centre of gravity which changes and increases altered loading patterns occurring in the foot. This often places more strain on all the soft tissue and increases the risk of foot and leg pain. Increases in blood volume and sometimes fluid levels, contributes to foot and leg oedema which increases the likelihood of cramps and fitting issues with footwear. This can also contribute to skin and nail conditions such as ingrown toenails and callus. Hormonal changes also play a big part in pregnancy and the increases of relaxin and progesterone can cause flattening of the feet and torsional changes in the legs. A lot of women report that their feet are permanently bigger following pregnancy.

So what can you do about this?

If you have pregnancy foot pain, a consultation with a podiatrist will confirm what the issue is. Often over the support shoes or over-the-counter orthotics are helpful in pregnancy. If you currently use custom orthoses, an adjustment to your devices may be necessary. Choosing comfortable supportive shoes is very important. If in a hot climate, try to avoid walking barefoot and use a sandal or thong with an arch support (eg Birkenstocks). The use of a pregnancy support stocking may be necessary and can give great relief. Skin and nail changes really do need to be treated by a professional and a consultation is a must.
The podiatrists at The Podiatry Practice and The Ingrown Toenail Centre are trained to assess and treat your pregnancy foot pain. We also stock a wide range of products that can be very helpful in keeping you pain free during your pregnancy.

Elouise Carmichael
Podiatrist

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