We are all aware pregnancy triggers a wide array of changes within the body in an exceptionally short period of time. The additional weight being carried in the torso has a direct affect on a woman’s center of gravity and causes the increased curvature in the lower back and forward tilt of the pelvis that we are all use to seeing in pregnant women. With so many changes happening at such a rapid rate it is not surprising that we see changes in the feet and ankles with pregnancy as well. The two most common changes in the feet associated with pregnancy are an increase in volume or size caused by edema (swelling) and the second is an increase in size caused by a looseness or laxity of the ligaments that support your foot.
The Hormone Relaxin
Ligament laxity is caused by a hormone called relaxin which is the same hormone that is loosening the ligaments of the birth canal and pelvis in preparation for delivery. This hormone does not target only the birthing ligaments, and has wide ranging effects throughout the body. The ligaments that hold the 26 bones of your foot can be affected, and as these ligaments loosen, the foot collapses or over-pronates.
The Effects of Pregnancy on your Feet
As the foot flattens and lengthens this puts a lot of strain on the soft tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. It is very common for women to develop plantar fasciitis during their pregnancy. The combination of weight gain with the lengthening of the foot can cause inflammation and small micro tears at the insertion of the fascia. This manifests itself as heel pain worsening in the morning or after a period of rest.
Treating Foot Pain During Pregnancy
Seeing a certified Pedorthist to assess this heel pain is crucial to maintaining comfort and mobility throughout the course of your pregnancy. A properly fit orthotic to support the collapsing arch will minimize the effects of the hormone Relaxin on the feet. A pedorthist can also guide you through specific stretches and exercise to help alleviate symptoms.
Book an appointment with Pedorthics in Motion at one of our many locations.
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