Your feet are the front-line troops when it comes to walking, running and jumping. One thing that can drastically affect a woman’s feet and even cause them to become painful is pregnancy.
Foot pain is a common issue that women experience during pregnancy. One study on types of pain pregnant women experience reports that 50% of the women surveyed experienced leg or foot pain. Treatment options like physical therapy can’t do as much good if the source of your foot pain is unknown. Fortunately, physical therapists are adept at helping women determine the source of their foot pain during pregnancy.
The top 3 sources of foot pain during pregnancy
Physical therapists are well aware of just how much the musculoskeletal system is affected when women become pregnant. They’re also aware of how much your life may be affected if you develop foot pain during pregnancy. These are some of the reasons why physical therapists are focused on helping you treat common sources of foot pain, such as:
- Fallen arches — The arch of your foot is much more important than you may realize. A normal arch is a key factor in proper foot alignment and function. However, pregnancy releases a hormone called relaxin. This hormone can cause the plantar fascia and other arch supporting structures to relax. The result can be fallen arches and plantar fascia inflammation or plantar fasciitis. You may also experience foot and heel pain when you walk and after resting your foot for a while because of these issues.
- Gait changes — Your gait is how your body moves when you walk. Increased weight and uterus expansion during pregnancy can lead to gait changes. One of the gait changes that affects the feet is called overpronation. This occurs when your foot rolls inward too much when you’re walking. Typically, people who overpronate when they walk strike the ground with the outer edge of their heel first. Then, their foot rolls inward. That might not sound too bad on its own; however, overpronation often leads to more painful issues like fallen arches and plantar fasciitis.
- Swelling — Some women feel like their entire body is swelling while they’re pregnant. That feeling has a lot of merit behind it. One area that may swell and become painful is your feet. When you become pregnant, your body starts creating more fluid than normal. Gravity naturally draws some of this extra fluid down into your ankles and feet. Hormone-related blood vessel changes may also make it harder for your body to move excess fluid out of your feet.
How can physical therapists help address foot pain during pregnancy?
Your physical therapist can use multiple techniques to help you address foot and heel pain. Some of these techniques include:
- Compression boot treatments — A thigh-high pneumatic boot is placed on both of your legs. The compression therapy boots are then pressurized in ways that can help push excess fluid out of your feet and legs.
- Active Release Techniques® — Your physical therapists can use Active Release Techniques to ease tension in your hips, legs and feet. In turn, the decrease in tension can help improve fallen arches and your gait.
Turn to SOL PT for help addressing foot pain during pregnancy
Experiencing debilitating foot pain during your pregnancy? Our SOL Physical Therapy clinics are havens for pregnant women who have foot pain. Our physical therapists can evaluate your entire lower body to pinpoint the source of your pain. They can also build you a customized PT plan designed to help manage and reduce your pain.
Contact our team today for more information on all the services we offer for pregnant women or to schedule an initial appointment to start easing your pregnancy-related pain.