While pregnancy is one of the happiest moments in a woman’s life, it also brings with it a set of daily challenges and health complications. Pain in foot and leg in pregnancy is one of them, foot care is an important aspect of pregnancy care – but unfortunately in India not much attention is paid to this aspect of health.
As she puts on weight through the process of pregnancy, there is additional stress and pressure on her lower body. There are other changes too – shift in centre of gravity, increase in hormonal flows – many of which result in foot pain and swelling.
1. Flat Feet or Over-pronation
Excess weight may cause the flattening of the arch of the feet, resulting in calf and back pain. The inflammation of the fibrous tissue of the plantar fascia may cause tremendous heel pain while Metatarsalgia could cause pain on the ball of the feet. Proper supportive insoles or foot wear may solve many of these problems. Custom Insoles or foot orthotics are specially designed devices, recommended by foot experts or podiatrists, that provide additional foot and ankle support during pregnancy.
2. Swelling of the Feet
Swelling of the feet or oedema may affect many women in the last trimester of their pregnancy. According to some estimates, pregnant women can put up to 10kg extra weight simply due to blood or fluid build-up. The fluid tends to gravitate to the feet, especially if they aren’t in much use – for example when a person is sitting for long periods. So light exercising, walking, stretching of the feet – all of these may avoid feet swelling.
3. Foot Pain and Cramps during Pregnancy
Hormonal changes may also cause foot pain and cramps. Light movement, gentle massage are some common tricks to manage such pain or cramps. A technique that works well is to grasp the affected foot and massage the foot arch with light pressure of the thumbs. Pushing the toes out is also a good technique for reducing pain and cramps.
Improve Foot Care during Pregnancy
- Rather than shoes with pointed toes, wear rounded or square-toed shoes. This is to accommodate foot swelling.
- Do not wear high heels – opt for flat heels
- Wear custom insoles that provide additional shock absorption
- Get regular foot massages
- Moisturise the feet daily to keep it well hydrated and avoid cracks
- Wear surgical stockings, if needed, to improve blood flow
- Do some gentle exercise of the legs to keep them active and avoid fluid build up