Every year we gather together to celebrate our mothers. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today. But do you know what they really went through to bring you into the world? Do you know what their feet went through? Foot pain is an often-ignored side effect of pregnancy. The natural weight gain of pregnancy throws off your center of gravity, resulting in an altered stance and added pressure to the feet and knees. Common problems experienced by pregnant women include edema and over-pronation.
“Overpronation, also referred to as flat feet, is caused when a person’s arch flattens out upon weight bearing and their feet roll inward when walking. This can create extreme stress or inflammation on the plantar fascia, the fibrous band of tissue that runs from the heel to the forefoot. Overpronation can make walking very painful and can increase strain on the feet, claves, and/or back.” (http://goo.gl/4ZOS6M)
How do you know if you are beginning to overpronate? Start by looking at the shoes you wear most. If you see excessive wear on the inside edge of your forefoot (under your big toe) and heel, then you are an overpronator. You can also take a pair of shoes you have been wearing regularly and set them on the table with the heels facing you. If the heels tilt inward, then you are an overpronator. The most obvious sign would be pain. The worse your pronation the more pain you will experience in the feet, knees, hips, and even all the way up to your back, shoulders, and neck. If overpronation is left untreated, it can lead to plantar fasciitis and bunions among other injuries. Along with everything else moms deal with during pregnancy, why would you resign yourself to that pain too?
What do I do if I think I am overpronating? First, make an appointment with your podiatrist. They will be able to tell you for certain how sever your pronation is and what the best course of action is. One of the easiest ways to support your feet from over-pronation is by wearing orthotics. They can be pre-made over the counter orthotics or a custom set molded by your podiatrist. Your doctor may also suggest a motion control shoe to help support your ankles and correct your overpronation.
The other common problem that mothers face is edema, or swelling in the feet. This usually occurs in the later months of pregnancy. First of all, your body retains more fluid during pregnancy. Secondly, the enlarged uterus puts pressure on the blood vessels, which delays return of blood to the heart. Almost all women will experience this to some degree during their pregnancy, but it’s important to keep a close on it so that you know if it’s just normal swelling or something more serious.
How would you know if your swelling is beyond the normal level? Look for uneven swelling. If one foot or leg is much larger than the other it can indicate a blood clot. Headaches that won’t go away, chest pain, or trouble breathing are all signs of a more serious condition. There are many ways to minimize swelling. Keep your feet elevated often. If you are sitting, prop them up on a box or stool to lift them. Don’t cross your legs either. Your footwear is also very important. Wear seamless socks and get your feet measured often. It is common for feet to change several sizes during the course of pregnancy. Don’t wear your shoes if they are too tight; go get a bigger pair. It may mean only wearing them for a month, but it will increase comfort, decrease swelling, and prevent your swollen feet from developing other problems. Keep up with the exercise also. Regularly walking or swimming will keep up blood flow and help avoid swelling.
Remember to thank your mother this upcoming Mother’s Day. Not just for raising you, teaching you, and giving you all her love, but also for putting up with all these feet problems just to bring you into the world. Have a Happy Mother’s Day!