Our Colac Podiatrist looks at the most common issues pregnant women face with their feet.
Pregnancy causes many changes to virtually all body systems and our feet are no exception. Thankfully no foot issues are dangerous for your baby but having sore feet can be a burden when you’re potentially already feeling uncomfortable.
Here are some of the most common issues we see in the clinic for expecting mothers;
Plantar Heel Pain
There are a couple of factors at play here. Firstly, let’s digress… during pregnancy the female body releases more of a hormone called relaxin which helps connective tissue stretch. This is a really important function in assisting the joints around the pelvis to stretch to help give birth. But, (there’s always a but), relaxin isn’t selective and the joints in the feet are also subject to increased movement. Combine this with carrying extra weight and there’s immediately more demand placed on the plantar fascia which can lead to overload and pain.
To help manage this we suggest using well cushioned footwear (like runners) around the house and for your mundane jobs, also try to avoid going barefoot! In resistant or particularly painful cases the use a custom foot orthotic may be indicated.
A corn, or heloma dura, is a small skin lesion caused by increased pressure and friction in a pin point area. Commonly they present under the ‘balls’ of the feet (metatarsal heads) or between the toes. Given in pregnancy there is weight gain and potentially a change to usual footwear habits it’s more likely for forefoot corns to present.
Luckily there’s a very simple solution for treating corns. We simply painlessly remove them via use of a scalpel and then recommend well cushioned shoes with padding around the corn site.
Swollen Legs (Oedema)
The average adult has 5kg of circulating blood, by the end of pregnancy there is as much as 7.5kg of blood. A massive increase that is required to grow your little bundle of joy! With this extra fluid combined with the inability to remain as active as one would normally be it’s easy to understand how and why our lower legs accumulate oedema.
Post pregnancy the body’s physiology will filter out the excess fluid via the vascular and lymphatic systems so it’s highly unlikely to have any long term consequences. However, during pregnancy try and maintain regular gentle exercise like walking or swimming to assist the natural mechanisms of your venous and lymphatic system to help minimise any ill effects of swollen legs. Also we advise to avoid staying seated or standing for long periods of the day. If you do have a desk job try and get up every 15 minutes for a walk around the office or a set of heel raises!