When I was pregnant for the second time, I experienced a lot of pain in my feet. When I asked a lot of my friends who have babies, many of them told me that they had experienced similar pains in their feet. My husband recommended that I go see a podiatrist (foot doctor) in order to see if there is anything that he could do to cut down on my foot pain. It’s hard enough to keep up with a three-year-old when your feet don’t feel swollen!
My podiatrist told me that there are two common causes for foot pain during pregnancy: over-pronation and edema. Unfortunately, toward the end of my pregnancy, I was suffering with both.
Over-pronation is a fancy way of saying “flat feet.” My doctor told me that the extra weight I put on was causing my feet to flatten and roll inward while I was walking. This was putting strain on my plantar fascia, the band of tissue that run from my heel to the front of my foot.
My doctor told me that I could cut down on the pain that was being caused by over-pronation by using orthotic inserts in my shoes. Orthotic inserts are designed to give arch support that can help cut down on over-pronation. My podiatrist offered to make me a custom orthotic to help with foot and back pain.
However, after telling him that the price was an issue for me, he suggested that I try a ready-made orthotic. I ended up picking up some orthotic inserts from a whole sale store by my house in Westlake Village. In my research I discovered that there are actually several brands of ready-made orthotics on the market at different price points. I recommend doing your own research and finding the insert that seems best to you.
At first, I didn’t notice a difference in my pain. But a couple weeks after trying the inserts, I actually started feeling better. That doesn’t surprise me since the packaging warned me of a break-in period. I’m not sure if custom orthotics are the best orthotics for pregnancy or not since I didn’t buy them, but I will say that I’m happy with the results of using my over-the-counter orthotics.
The second problem I was having had to do with my edema. Pregnancy made me retain extra water; my circulation slowed down and extra blood traveled to my legs and feet. I didn’t really start noticing the swelling until later in my pregnancy, when my feet started to feel really clunky and turned a gross shade of purple-blue.
My podiatrist made me take extra time out of each day to elevate my feet. He also told me to walk on my treadmill every day at a slow pace while wearing my orthotic inserts in my running shoes. He said the exercise would help increase circulation and reduce my swelling. He also told me to avoid salty foods because they can make it easier to retain water (I found this kind of hard since I have a salty cracker fixation!)
Finally, my doctor made me get my foot measured again. It turned out that my feet had grown an entire size. I had to get a few new pairs of shoes (hey, I’ll take any excuse I can to go shoe shopping). It is super important to make sure that you wear shoes that fit when you’re pregnant. Shoes that are too small can cut off your circulation, cause pain and put you in danger of losing balance and falling down (the last thing you want to think about when you have a baby “on board.”)
If you’re suffering from maternity foot pain, I recommend you see a podiatrist like I did. Or at very least: consider trying an orthotic insert, get your feet measured regularly and avoid salt!