While you await your little bundle of joy, you may find that your pregnancy is delivering foot problems you hadn’t expected. At Long Island Foot & Ankle Group, PC, we want to help our patients know what to expect for your feet when you’re expecting:
Growing Feet—you may find that more than your belly is expanding during pregnancy. Your feet may grow and swell too! There are a couple of reasons for this. First, your body tends to have a lot of excess fluids in conjunction with the environment needed for your baby to grow. Due to gravity, it’s normal for excess fluid to end up in your feet and ankles. Put your feet up regularly and stay hydrated to flush excess fluid from the body. In addition to fluid build-up, your body releases a hormone, relaxin, which does just what its name suggests. It relaxes the ligaments in your body. While this is helpful in the pelvic area to allow the baby an easier passage out of your body, for your feet it means spreading and an increase in size. This can cause foot pain and even ingrown toenails if you don’t allow your shoe size to grow to keep pace with your feet.
Getting Tripped Up—the ligament-relaxing hormones also affect your ankles, making them less stable. This along with your growing abdomen and changing center of gravity can increase the risk of trips and falls which can result in ankle sprains or other injuries. Wear low-heeled, comfortable shoes and pay extra attention to where you’re walking. Look for objects in your path and changing pavement heights.
Arch Enemies—the extra weight gained during pregnancy can increase your risk for arch and heel pain, in the same way it does for people who are overweight for other reasons. The strain from excess weight can flatten the arch, and this inflames the long band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot known as the plantar fascia. Pain that ranges from dull to stabbing in the bottom of the heel and the arch can develop. This pain may be worse after you’ve been sitting for a long time or when you first step out of bed in the morning. Shoes with good arch support and stretching exercises may help.
The good news is that our foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight or Dr. Marzana Mleczko can help minimize symptoms and increase the comfort and health of your feet during pregnancy. Make an appointment at our Valley Stream or Lake Success office by calling: (516) 825-4070 or (516) 327-0074.