I just got an update from the Houston Zoo letting me know that Neema the Masai giraffe gave birth to a healthy female calf this past Sunday, after a 14-MONTH pregnancy.
It got me thinking—when my human patients have to go through nine-month pregnancies, they already endure plenty of foot problems—can you imagine if pregnancy were five months longer and, at the end, you had to deliver a GIRAFFE? Your feet would probably be none too pleased.
Of course, that will never happen, but still, it’s a good idea to brush up on some common foot ailments experienced by pregnant women and what I, as a Houston podiatrist, can do to help alleviate the pain.
Inescapably, you will gain a significant amount of weight while carrying your baby, leading to change in your center of gravity, changing your stance and putting additional pressure on your knees and feet. These changes can lead to two potentially painful problems: flat feet (over-pronation) and swollen feet (edema.)
Pregnant women often notice that their arches flatten when they stand and their feet roll in when they walk—this is known as over over-pronation, and can cause terrible heel pain as the plantar fascia become over-worked and inflamed.
Swollen feet can occur at any point during your pregnancy, but the problem is more common in the third trimester; it occurs because extra blood Edema results from the accumulates in your body during pregnancy at the same times as your expanding belly is putting pressure on the vessels in your pelvis and legs. The combined effect slows your circulation and lets blood pool in your feet and legs, sometimes even making your feet look a little purple.
While both problems can be painful and taxing, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to wait until you have the baby to find relief for your sore feet.
If you’re having issues with over-pronation, we can fit you for orthotics that will give you additional arch support and help your foot stay in the right position when you walk.
I can also offer you the following tips to alleviate swelling in your feet: put them up whenever and wherever you can. If you know you’re going to be sitting all day, keep a little stool next to you so you can take the pressure off your feet and, of course, choose well-fitted shoes that aren’t too short or too narrow (you may need to have your feet re-measured during pregnancy as they can grow and change size during this period.) Staying active with doctor-approved exercises will also help support healthy weight gain and promote better circulation.
Just because foot pain during pregnancy is “normal” doesn’t mean you need to put up with it. If you want your feet to feel better now, instead of nine months from now, schedule an appointment with Dr. Andrew Schneider today!