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Written by: Dr. Chelsea Viola, Board Certified Podiatrist

Dr. Viola was 28 weeks pregnant with her second child when she wrote this post.

*This post contains affiliate links.

 

First of all, congratulations on your pregnancy! As you prepare for the arrival of your little one, it’s essential to prioritize your physical and mental health, and that includes taking care of your feet. With pregnancy comes numerous changes in your body, and your feet are no exception. In this blog post, we’ll explore the importance of foot health during pregnancy and provide valuable tips for maintaining comfort as well as provide products that we as podiatrists recommend for use.

Understanding Pregnancy and Foot Changes:

Pregnancy hormones, increased weight, and changes in posture can have a significant impact on your feet. Your ligaments get looser throughout your entire body, including your feet. This can cause your arches to fall and your feet become flatter. Many expectant patients experience swelling, aching, and changes in shoe size. Although these changes are normal, you do not have to live in pain for 270 days! Your feet can be comfortable while you grow a tiny human. Proactive foot care can help alleviate discomfort, promote overall health, and keep you moving.

Choose the Right Footwear:

Investing in comfortable and supportive footwear is crucial during pregnancy. Opt for shoes with proper arch support and cushioning to reduce pressure on your feet. Consider shoes with a wider toe box to accommodate potential swelling. As your pregnancy progresses, you may find it necessary to update your shoe size.

How do you know if the shoe has proper support? Do the toe and heel test! Hold the sole of the shoe using both hands, one hand at the sole of the toes and the other at the sole of the heel. Push upwards with both hands and see where the shoe naturally bends with pressure. Your foot only bends at the toes when you walk, so should the shoe. If the shoe has too much give in the arch, it will bend under pressure. An arch that bends easily with just the pressure from your hands, will bend under your body weight, therefore not giving your arch the proper support. The photo below shows how a shoe should bend when pressure is applied to the toes and heel.

The same goes for over-the-counter arch supports! This is why we like firm, functional arch supports, as opposed to gel-like comfort inserts that you might find in the drug store.

Take a look below at some of the shoe and arch support brands we recommend. Keep in mind, this is not a comprehensive list, but gives you an idea as to what styles and types of shoes and inserts are the most supportive as your body changes. A podiatrist would be able to guide you further on what may work best for your feet after a comprehensive evaluation in the office.

Shoe brands we recommend:

Brooks

Asics

New Balance

Hoka

 

Over-the-counter arch support brands we recommend:

PureStride (We sell the “Physician” version of this brand in our office!)

PowerStep

Spenco

SuperFeet

Combating Swelling:

Swelling, or edema, in the feet and legs is also a common occurrence during pregnancy. As your belly grows, the veins in your groin get compressed. This makes it difficult for the veins in your feet and legs to pump the fluid up and out, so it pools in the feet simply because of gravity. Elevating your feet whenever possible combats gravity, staying hydrated, and engaging in gentle exercises like ankle circles and calf raises can help reduce swelling.

We highly recommend wearing compression socks or stockings during pregnancy. You wear them during the day and remove them at night to sleep. Compression socks or stockings may also provide relief by helping your calf muscles pump that fluid out of your feet and up your legs! Make sure to purchase the knee high type, as opposed to the ankle high type. Measure around your calf and your ankle to determine your size. We recommend brands that tout 20-30mmHg as the measure of pressure.

Compression socks we recommend:

Knee High Compression Socks

CopperFit

LEVSOX Wide Calf/Plus Size

LEVSOX

Physix

Regular Exercise:

Maintaining a consistent exercise routine is essential for overall health during pregnancy, and this includes your feet. Low-impact exercises like walking and swimming can help improve circulation, strengthen muscles, and reduce the risk of foot problems. We also understand that it’s a bit hard to maintain your walking regimen if your feet hurt – making it even more important to see us if you’re in pain!

Daily Foot Care Routine:

Incorporate a simple foot care routine into your daily self-care or hygiene practices. Gently wash and moisturize your feet, paying attention to dry or cracked areas. Trim your toenails carefully and straight across to avoid ingrown toenails. This means you may have to allow the nails to grow a little longer than usual so they clear the skin before trimming straight across. Do not dig in the corners of your nails or perform “bathroom surgery.” If you have toenail pain or notice bleeding or drainage, it’s time to see a podiatrist! With increased swelling in the feet and toes comes the increase in incidence of ingrown toenails. If you notice any redness, heat, swelling or increased pain in any area of your feet, please call us to make an appointment!

If bending to trim toenails becomes challenging, consider seeking assistance from a partner or a professional. Unfortunately, insurance companies do not cover simple trimming of toenails by a podiatrist for pregnant patients.

Seek Help From a Podiatrist:

If you experience persistent foot pain, swelling, or other issues, don’t hesitate to call us! We can offer personalized advice and treatments to address your specific needs, ensuring a comfortable and healthy pregnancy. Vale Foot and Ankle Surgery, PLLC has three convenient locations in Connecticut: Oxford, Shelton and Glastonbury, which are all under the same phone number of (203) 941-6999. Visit our website for more information at www.ValePodiatry.com.

Be Mindful of Foot Changes:

Throughout your pregnancy, pay attention to any unusual changes in your feet. Report any concerns to your healthcare provider or podiatrist promptly. Addressing issues early can prevent them from becoming more significant problems down the road.

As you navigate the incredible journey of pregnancy, remember that self-care extends to every part of your body, including your feet. Your feet deserve the best! By prioritizing your foot health, you contribute to your overall well-being and ensure a more comfortable and enjoyable pregnancy experience. Take those extra steps to care for yourself and therefore your growing baby, so you can savor the moments of this remarkable time in your life.

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