Pregnancy has a huge impact on your whole body. During pregnancy, your body has to deal with a lot of major changes – hormonal changes, increased blood flow and weight gain. Gaining weight during pregnancy is normal but it can take its toll on your body and change the shape and size of your feet as well.
A medical study in 2013 concluded that pregnancy can permanently change the size and arch height of a woman's feet. A University of Iowa study published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation showed that during pregnancy the arch of the foot flattens out, thereby affecting the woman's shoe size.
Pregnancy causes a range of complications for the lower extremities. The weight gain experienced during pregnancy places an enormous amount of unexpected pressure on the feet. It’s common for pregnant women to suffer from foot pain, swelling, leg cramps, bunions and varicose veins. In addition to weight gain, stretched ligaments in the feet and ankles cause stability problems and flat feet.
Tips for Reducing Foot Problems During Pregnancy
- Wear supportive shoes or custom orthotics to alleviate the pressure on the midfoot and heel. Depending on the structure of your foot, over the counter orthotic inserts may help too.
- Stay hydrated. Swelling becomes worse when dehydrated. Avoid salt and drink more water.
- Watch your caloric intake. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Get regular light exercise like walking to boost circulation and reduce swelling and cramping.
- Elevate your feet to prevent fluids from pooling in your lower limbs. Foot massage is great during this time too!
- If swelling becomes a big problem during pregnancy you may need to have your feet measured several times throughout your pregnancy. They may change sizes and so will your shoe size! Remember that you have a foot size and not a shoe size!
- Wear compression stockings to prevent varicose veins issues and to alleviate the swelling and discomfort from edema.
- See a podiatrist if foot issues occur to prevent chronic issues from developing.
Above all, don’t ignore the problem. If you’re pregnant and struggling with foot pain, contact our office at (937)435-7477. Our purpose is to make sure your feet remain healthy pre-delivery and post-delivery. If you aren't pregnant and have a foot or ankle condition that concerns you, we are here for you too!