WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR FEET DURING PREGNANCY

  • By Ruth Ann Cooper
  • 21 Feb, 2017

Pregnancy is a joyous time in a woman's life and her body will go through many changes, including changes to her feet. That is why a pregnant woman must take care of her foot health a bit differently. 

It’s amazing how a body changes during pregnancy. For instance, did you know that a pregnant woman’s feet become wider and longer because her ligaments become easily stretched to prepare for childbirth? The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) shares common pregnancy symptoms along with tips and tricks to keep feet healthy until you finally meet your little one.

 EDEMA

Edema, or swelling, can be caused by the excess blood and fluid your body produces for pregnancy and from the baby compressing the blood vessels. Edema in the feet and ankles can make it uncomfortable to perform simple tasks such as walking and standing. How can you limit swelling and keep your feet feeling good throughout your pregnancy?

  • Wear supportive shoes, orthotics and compression stockings. Comfortable footwear and the right orthotics offer much-needed arch support and help distribute weight more evenly, while compression stockings can help with the swelling.
  • Exercise. The more active you are, the more your blood flows out of your feet and ankles and into the rest of your body. Is painful swelling already making exercise difficult? Try exercises that don’t put as much stress on your feet, like elliptical training.
  • Reduce your intake of salt and drink more water. Small changes in your diet can make significant improvements. Salt can cause your body to retain excess fluids, while drinking more water can flush out excess fluids.
  •  Elevate your feet. Pregnancy can be tiring and you’ve earned some rest and relaxation. When you’re taking a break, try elevating your feet, as well. This can help reduce swelling.
  •  Know your limits. No one knows your body better than you know your body. Trust your instincts and when you feel you might be over extending yourself, stop and take it easy.

 OVER PRONATION

Pronation is the normal flexible motion and flattening of the arch of the foot that allows it to adapt to ground surfaces and absorb shock in the normal walking pattern. Over pronation, common in pregnancy, occurs when the increased weight of carrying your baby stresses the feet and flattens the arches, causing the feet to roll in. Over pronation can stretch the tissues lining the bottom of your feet, also known as the plantar fascia. When the plantar fascia is stretched, it can cause painful inflammation called plantar fasciitis. Over pronation and plantar fasciitis result in pain in the foot and heel. How can you reduce the pain?

Dr. Ruth Ann Cooper

By Ruth Ann Cooper 22 May, 2017

What lies hidden in the grass, dirt or sand can definitely wreak havoc on bare feet. From nails, shards of glass, slivers of wood, pieces of seashell at the beach, thorns from trees and plants or sometimes discarded toothpicks, each can puncture the skin of the foot and cause serious injury. Even after the object has been completely removed from the foot, any dirt or bacteria pushed into the wound from the puncture can lead to an infection, painful scarring or even a cyst. Any puncture wounds should be promptly treated in my office within 24 hours.

Besides hidden dangers, “everyday childhood injuries” can also interrupt a summer break. Protect your children’s feet from traumatic injuries, such as bicycle injuries and lawn mower accidents, by making sure they wear sturdy shoes while riding a bike or when cutting the grass.

Do not discount sunburn on the feet. Protect your children’s feet from the sun’s harmful rays by applying sunscreen to the tops and bottoms of their feet. Feet, like shoulders, burn faster than the rest of the body since they are most perpendicular to the sun’s rays. Not only is sunburn of the feet painful, it can also cause skin cancers that often go unnoticed until they become very serious.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 20 Apr, 2017

Competitive youth sports often require many athletes to transition from winter activities to spring activities without considering the increased risk of incurring a foot or ankle injury. Moving from indoor to outdoor playing surfaces with varying impact can stress a young athlete’s feet and ankles. Going from sport to sport without allowing time for muscles and bones to rest can cause overuse injuries.

If your child plans to participate in a sport this spring after playing through the winter sports season, follow these six tips:

  1.       Get a preseason health and wellness checkup. A medical evaluation before the season begins can help identify any health concerns that could possibly lead to injury.

2.       Take it slow. Ask the coach to gradually increase children’s playing time during practice to avoid pushing them full throttle. Your child’s feet and ankles need to become accustomed to the activity level required for a sport.

3.       Wear proper, broken-in shoes.   Different sports require different shoe gear. Wearing the appropriate, well-fitting, broken-in athletic shoes can eliminate heel and toe discomfort.

4.       Check your child’s technique. Watch for any changes in your child’s form or technique. Ask the coach to notify you if your child is placing more weight on wide side of his/her body or limping.

5.       Insist on open communication if your child has pain. Express to your child athlete that s/he should inform you and the coach of any pain or discomfort as soon as it occurs. Overuse injuries, such as Achilles tendonitis and shin splints, can be subtle and develop over time.

6.       If an injury occurs, remember RICE. An injured foot or ankle can often be healed with rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). If your child complains of foot or ankle pain, s/he should take a break from playing and allow time for recovery.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 06 Apr, 2017

This painful condition results from inflammation of the tissue band (the plantar fascia) that extends from the heel to the toes. Repetitive activities, such as a new exercise routine or walking on a daily basis, can put stress on the ligaments in the foot, leading to inflammation and pain.

The good news is heel pain can often be relieved using conservative methods, but it must be treated early.

 Heel pain can become chronic and debilitating if not properly treated.

I can help you find relief with therapies, such as:

  •  Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Stretching exercises
  • Orthotic devices
  •  Physical therapy
  • Footwear modifications
  •  Activity limitations
  • MLS Laser Therapy
  • Extra Corporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)

 Although most patients with plantar fasciitis respond to nonsurgical treatment, some require surgery. If you continue to have heel pain with non-surgical treatment, we can discuss your surgical options.

Heel pain should not stop you from enjoying the beauty of Spring. Make an appointment with my office if you are experiencing heel pain so my staff and I can help you resume a healthy and active lifestyle.

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