Oh baby… my feet hurt!
Women’s bodies change dramatically during pregnancy. Some women suffer from painful ankle swelling during pregnancy. Luckily, once a woman delivers, her ankles return to normal size. However, her feet can also change size and shape during pregnancy. Studies now confirm what women have known all along; the changes to her feet that occur during pregnancy can be permanent.
Researchers at the University of Iowa studied 49 pregnant women, measuring the arch height and length of their feet during and after pregnancy. They found that 60-70% of the women had longer and wider feet after delivery. The change was attributed to loosening of the joints causing the feet to flatten out. The foot change was most dramatic in a woman’s first pregnancy versus her second or third pregnancies.
Women have a higher rate of arthritis in the foot, ankles, knees and back than men. The researchers are looking to see if this change in foot length and structure contributes to the increased risk of arthritis later in the life.
Dr. Green, a podiatrist serving patients in Overland Park and Kansas City, points out that a woman’s foot doesn’t change size because the bones grow. The foot changes size because the joints loosen, resulting in a flatter arch and a slightly longer foot. These changes can lead to heel pain and arch pain; a condition called Plantar Fasciitis.
How can you avoid getting plantar fasciitis during pregnancy?
- Buy shoes in the correct size. Have your foot measured and fitted by an expert, to make sure you are wearing the appropriate size for your changing feet.
- Stretching exercises are helpful in preventing and alleviating heel and arch pain.
- Custom-molded orthotics may be helpful in maintaining your proper arch, preventing pain associated with excessive stretching of the plantar fascia.
- As much as you can, put your feet up and rest.
- At the first sign of pain, let the foot specialists at Kansas City Foot and Ankle help you stay comfortable and take steps to avoid long-term consequences.
Pregnancy is a joyous time. The doctors at Kansas City Foot and Ankle are experts in heel and arch pain relief and are here to help keep you comfortable throughout your pregnancy. Call us today for an appointment.