Are you Pregnant or thinking about getting Pregnant?
Pregnancy is an exciting time for any woman and there are many bodily changes that take place. While morning sickness, fatigue, and back pain are complaints frequently heard during this time, one tends to forget that leg and foot problems are just as common, especially as time goes on.
Over the 40 or so weeks of pregnancy, several changes take place in the body’s hormonal system. Some of the changes are visible, especially as the baby begins to grow, and your maternal weight begins to increase. The pressure from the weight increase causes the musculoskeletal system to undergo a series of adjustments involving ligaments, joints and muscles.
This ultimately impacts your posture, which can result in painful hips, knees and ankles – and of course you can end up with very sore feet.
If you suspect or know that you have flat feet, then before becoming pregnant or while pregnant, make a point to come in for a foot and ankle examination. Get an early assessment and early treatment if necessary to avoid later problems during your pregnancy and beyond.
Foot problems during Pregnancy
Raised hormone levels result in water retention, which makes you feel bloated and manifests itself as swollen, painful feet. Squeezing your feet into regular size footwear is almost impossible, and very uncomfortable. It is not unusual for an expectant mom to go up at least ½ a size in shoes.
As you shop for shoes for your new foot size, opt for something more comfortable than high heels or tight-fitting boots. Your feet need the extra support in the arch to support added weight and should be comfortable. Shoes at this time without proper arch support may contribute to a falling arch. Tight shoes may also result in painful calluses, cracked heels, and very sore feet.
There is a pregnancy hormone known as relaxin, whose primary function is to loosen the ligaments of the birth canal and pelvis in preparation for delivery. Relaxin has an effect on ligaments throughout the body, and so it also loosens the ligaments that support your feet. This can result in dropped arches and contribute to problems directly up the kinetic chain including sprained ankles, knee pain, hip pain and low back pain.
This can happen over a period of months as the hormone levels build up, with it eventually becoming severe and painful towards the end of your pregnancy. It is important to note, the level of ligamentous laxity varies greatly among women.
You may find it difficult to get around when pregnant and because of this, you may twist and turn in an attempt to balance your weight. The resultant stress could further flatten your arches and cause unnecessary pain.
Tips to Reduce Foot Swelling and Pain-Free During Pregnancy:
(1) Support your feet. Wear proper fitting shoes and choose footwear that offers good arch and ankle support.
(2) Exercise. The more you move, the more you will encourage the blood flow out of the feet and legs and into the rest of your body. This helps to reduce swelling.
(3) Ice. When your feet swell, prop them up and apply an ice pack to ease pain and reduce swelling.
(4) Standing. The longer you are on your feet, the more your feet will swell. If possible, limit the time spent standing to keep the swelling down.
(5) Get relief from custom orthotics. Our orthotics are a custom made insert that is inserted into your shoe and used to treat various conditions of the foot and ankle. It realigns the problematic foot joints caused by stress and pressure. It is ideal for supporting relaxed foot arch ligaments during pregnancy that contribute to fallen arches and preventing arch collapse and related conditions up the kinetic chain by keeping your foot in proper alignment.
Does The Chicago Chiropractor offer other non-drug solutions in addition to custom orthotics for pregnant mothers?
During the course of a woman’s pregnancy, it is not uncommon for there to be changes in the alignment of their pelvis. That can reduce the volume of space that is available for fetal development, a problem known as uterine constraint. It can also make it difficult for the baby to move into an optimal birthing position. Chiropractic care can improve a woman’s pelvic balance, which can help make pregnancy easier.
At The Chicago chiropractor, Dr. St Jean utilizes a whole-body approach to pregnancy by treating not just your bones and joints, but also your muscles and soft tissues as well as your nervous system and brain. He accomplishes this by combining Brain Based Therapy, Chiropractic Manipulation, Therapeutic Exercise and Soft Tissue into a comprehensive treatment session aimed to enhance the health and wellness of your pregnancy.