Pregnancy has a huge impact on the body causing weight gain and hormonal changes. Numerous foot problems such as swelling, cramps and biomechanical changes to foot posture can happen during pregnancy (Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrist, SOCAP).
Our team of expert podiatrists have seen many pregnant patients at our clinics to help with footcare advice and treatment throughout your pregnancy. Here one of our podiatrists provides information on the key foot health issues experienced by pregnant patients and gives tips on how to manage and prevent them.
Swollen legs and feet
During pregnancy, increased pressure on the veins in the pelvis caused by increased pressure by the uterus results in slower return of blood to the heart. Blood vessels in the toes are some of the smallest vessels within the body, and due to this increased pressure, fluid can leak from the veins into the legs and feet causing swelling (SOCAP).
Tip- raise your feet and legs whenever you can at rest. Gentle exercises such as walking, and ankle rotation exercises can help increase circulation and reduce swelling. Suitable footwear that is wide fitting and has a thick outer sole to provide shock absorption and support for the foot and ankle is advised.
Due to the extra weight gained during pregnancy and the increase laxation of ligaments,, changes to the foot posture can lead to a reduction in arch height which may contribute to pain in the foot, knee or hips (Seagal et al 2013).
Tip- footwear such as a running shoe will provide support to the foot. If pain persists it is advised to book a consultation with a podiatrist who can assess footwear and offer an orthotic to further support foot posture.
As pregnancy progresses it can be it more difficult to reach your feet to cut your nails, this may lead to ingrown toenails.
Tip- ask a family member to help with nail care by cutting nails straight and not too short. See advice from a podiatrist if nails do become ingrown. Conservative management of ingrown toenails are advised rather than nail surgery due to local anaesthetic being a contraindication to pregnancy.
Verruca’s are a wart like virus found on the bottom of the foot. Often, they can be asymptomatic, however sometimes verruca’s can cause pain and discomfort.
Tip- if the verruca is not painful, leave well alone and try to prevent cross contamination as much as possible by cleaning and drying the affected foot with a different towel and washing hands after touching that area. If the verruca is painful, contact a podiatrist for advice as over the counter medication is not advised during pregnancy.