The natural weight gain that is experienced during pregnancy puts a lot of extra pressure on the feet, ankles, knees and back. The constriction of blood vessels leads to excess fluid retention in the feet. Pregnancy also changes your center of gravity which can cause you to alter the way you walk. This may result in excessive pronation, which is an inward rolling of the foot and flattening of the arches. Left untreated, over pronation can lead to plantar fasciitis, bunions, heel pain and tendonitis. Additional problems with your knees, hips, and back may also occur.
The swelling, or edema, that occurs in the feet and lower legs during pregnancy is caused by decreased blood circulation that can cause the blood to pool around the feet and ankles. Water retention contributes to this swelling.
Some tips for decreasing edema include the following:
- Elevation—Take breaks often and elevate your feet above your heart. This will help your circulatory system to function more normally and reduce swelling in your feet.
- Shoes and socks—Always wear shoes that are supportive, roomy and comfortable. When shopping for shoes, go at the end of the day when your feet have fully expanded. Wear socks that aren’t too tight.
- Stay hydrated—Avoid eating foods with too much sodium and drink a variety of healthy beverages.
- Travel breaks—On long trips, take rest breaks and stretch your legs frequently to increase blood circulation.
Notify your doctor right away if you experience increased swelling in your hands and face as this may be a sign of preeclampsia which is a potentially serious rise in blood pressure. If the foot pain and swelling associated with pregnancy are slowing you down, contact your foot care specialist for relief.
The podiatrists at Foot Health Podiatry, PLLC, in New York City, NY, are experts in providing the best care for any problems you may be experiencing with your feet and ankles. Sorelis Jimenez, DPM, John W. Fletcher, DPM, and Kamilla Danilova, DPM and the rest of the staff at Foot Health Podiatry, PLLC, are happy to help with any questions or concerns you may have. Check out our Ask The Doctor page for answers to frequently asked questions, and never hesitate to give us a call to talk or make an appointment at 212-845-9991.