Podiatry For Prenatal Foot Swelling

Swelling feet and hands are a common, yet irritating, problem many women experience during pregnancy. Swelling is caused by a myriad of factors, but there is one place you can go for professional help and relief: a podiatrist's office. Podiatry during pregnancy is worth looking into if you have foot discomfort. Read on for more information about what causes foot pain during pregnancy and what a podiatrist from a clinic like Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle can do to help.

Swelling Occurs Due to Stress from Every Angle

Pregnancy alters nearly everything about a woman's body – its shape, the way it functions, and even the way the brain works. All these changes can seem to settle in your feet and cause pain and swelling. It's important to recognize which types of stress affect the feet the most. These include:

  • Increased hormones (cause ligaments to relax and make it more difficult to support extra weight)
  • Increased weight
  • Increased blood flow
  • Changes in balance and gait
  • Feet become flatter and roll inward (to accommodate weight gain and balance)

Once Swelling Occurs, Pain Begins to Spread

Pain that starts in the feet can easily spread to the rest of your legs. If you wait long enough before seeking help, your feet and legs can also become inflamed and other symptoms develop. You'll notice pain spreading upwards through your body as you adjust the way you walk in an attempt to take pressure off your feet. Increased symptoms include:

  • Calf muscles become tense and sore easily
  • Cramping in calves and thighs
  • An increase in back pain

Without Treatment, Other Foot Conditions Develop

If left untreated, other foot conditions can develop which increase your discomfort and make it more difficult to keep active and healthy throughout pregnancy. These conditions also affect your ability to work, prepare your baby's nursery, and even rest (at this point, pain continues even when you relax your legs). Conditions you can avoid through podiatry include:

What Podiatry Does to Alleviate Foot Conditions

Podiatry can help prevent worse conditions from developing. Not only will your feet be evaluated but your lifestyle during pregnancy, as well. Your podiatrist will take into consideration your prenatal experience so far and look for ways to alleviate foot discomfort. As this happens, you will notice that leg and back pain are also lessened. Steps in your treatment plan should include:

  • Getting fitted for orthotics to keep arches firm, strengthen ligaments, and support added weight
  • Helping your body adjust to its new center of balance
  • Improving your balance and gait for weight bearing
  • Recommending a reliable brand of compression socks to decrease swelling
  • Giving advice on stretches and exercises that help reduce swelling and water retention

Allow Your OB/GYN and Podiatrist to Work Together

Always discuss your pain symptoms with your OB/GYN as well as your podiatrist. Swelling in the legs and feet can be an uncomfortable and harmless symptom of pregnancy, or an uncomfortable and harmful condition. Have your OB/GYN check you for preeclampsia (a condition which weakens your nervous system and decreases oxygen flow to your baby). Preeclampsia is a threat to both you and your infant. Your OB/GYN needs to monitor it carefully. You will likely be put on bedrest for the duration of your pregnancy. However, your podiatrist can still offer suggestions to combat swelling and provide pain relief. Keep both physicians informed of treatments prescribed, how well they are working for you, and any changes in symptoms you experience.

Seeing a podiatrist during pregnancy can greatly improve your pregnancy experience. You know the lifestyle you want to live in both the pre- and postnatal stages of pregnancy, and a podiatrist can help you maintain that lifestyle despite setbacks such as pain and swelling in the feet. Your podiatrist and OB/GYN should both be involved in your care at this time.