How to Prevent Flat Feet in Pregnancy - by San Francisco Podiatrist
Pregnancy can cause a number of different types of discomfort and foot pain. One of the more troubling problems that can occur during pregnancy is flat foot pain. While flat feet can be normal, but pain associated with flat feet is never ever normal. Women are pregnant and already have a slightly flat foot are even more at risk of developing painful flatfoot deformity during pregnancy.
Your foot has several strong ligaments and tendons that support the arch and help to maintain your normal foot structure. The spring ligament and the posterior tibial tendon are two very important arch supporting structures that can be damaged during pregnancy.
Certain pregnancy-related hormones are increased throughout your body during pregnancy. Relaxin is one of the hormones that your body produces in order to help with vaginal birth. In order to deliver a baby, it is necessary to relax the ligaments that stabilize and hold the pelvic bones together. This allows for a slight separation of the hip bones in order to allow the fetus to move through during birth.
Unfortunately, this hormone also affects other structures made of collagen, including the tendons and ligaments in the feet. This can lead to fallen arches. It is not just the ligamentous laxity that leads to fallen arches. It is really the combination of weakening of these structures combined with the normal increase in weight associated with pregnancy.
When these structures become stretched out, you can develop over-pronation of the foot. This actually further increases the stress on the foot and joint supporting structures that maintain the stability of the arch.
As the arch collapses, the foot will elongate. Many women will notice that their shoe size increases one half to one full size either during pregnancy or immediately thereafter. This elongation of the foot and collapse of the arch can also lead to a common condition called plantar fasciitis, which results in pain in the bottom of the heel. This kind of heel pain is usually worse when you get up and step out of bed.
To prevent flat feet while you are pregnant, make sure you wear good supporting shoes. You should also try to avoid standing for long periods of time or walking barefoot, if possible. Make sure you take a break whenever your feet began to feel tired. Elevating the feet can also make them feel better by decreasing swelling in the feet and ankles.
Over-the-counter arch support and custom orthotics are extremely helpful in stabilizing the foot. By holding your foot in a better position, the bones will do more of the work and reduce the stress on the tendons and ligaments that can become stretched out. If you notice any of these types of changes in your feet, you should see a podiatrist in order to discuss custom orthotics before you get permanent damage.
You certainly have enough to think about when pregnant. You shouldn’t have to deal with worries about foot pain or collapses of the arch. Prevention and early treatment are essential to keeping your feet healthy during pregnancy.
Dr. Christopher Segler is an San Francisco Podiatrist who offers house call appointments to help pregnant women get relief from foot pain. If you are pregnant and would like to find out what might be causing your foot pain, call (415) 308-0388.