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 05 Jan, 2018

Most Americans will have walked 75,000 miles by the time they turn 50 years of age according to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). Is it little wonder, then, that foot pain affects daily activities- walking, exercising or standing for long periods of time- of a majority of Americans?

 

APMA offers advice for keeping feet healthy in common winter scenarios:

Winter is skiing and snowboarding season, activities enjoyed by nearly 10 million Americans, according to the National Ski Areas Association. Never ski or snowboard in footwear other than ski boots specifically designed for that purpose. Make sure your boots fit properly; you should be able to wiggle your toes, but the boot should immobilize your heel, instep and ball of your foot. You can use orthotics (foot devices that go inside shoes) to help control the foot’s movement inside ski boots or ice skates.

Committed runners don’t need to let the cold stop them. A variety of warm, lightweight, moisture-wicking active wear available at most running or sporting goods stores helps ensure runners stay warm and dry in bitter temperatures. However, some runners may compensate for icy conditions by altering how their foot strikes the ground. Instead of changing your footstrike pattern, shorten your stride to help maintain stability. And remember, it’s more important than ever to stretch before your run. Cold weather can make you less flexible in winter than you are in summer, so it is important to warm muscles before running.

Boots are must-have footwear in winter climates, especially when dealing with precipitation. Between the waterproof material of the boots and the warm socks you wear to keep toes toasty, you may find your feet sweat a lot. Damp, sweaty feet can chill more easily and are more susceptible to bacterial infections. To keep feet clean and dry, consider using foot powder inside socks and incorporating extra foot baths into your foot-care regimen this winter.

Be size smart. It may be tempting to buy pricey specialty footwear (like winter boots or ski boots) for children in a slightly larger size, thinking they’ll be able to get two seasons of wear out of them. But unlike coats that children can grow into, footwear needs to fit properly right away. Properly fitted skates and boots can help prevent blisters, chafing and ankle or foot injuries. Likewise, if socks are too small, they can force toes to bunch together and that friction can cause painful blisters or corns.

 

Finally- and although this one seems like it should go without saying, it bears spelling out- do not try to tip-toe through winter snow, ice and temperatures in summer footwear.

 

MORE THAN ONE NEWS SHOE ACROSS THE COUNTRY HAS AIRED IMAGES OF PEOPLE IN SNEAKERS, SANDALS AND EVEN FLIP-FLOPS DURING OUR CURRENT SEVERE COLD SNAP. EXPOSING FEET TO EXTREME TEMPERATURES MEANS RISKING FROSTBITE AND INJURY. CHOOSE WINTER FOOTWEAR THAT WILL KEEP YOUR FEET WARM, DRY AND WELL-SUPPORTED.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 14 Dec, 2017

Women’s winter boots with high, spiked heels and narrow, pointed toes may seem like the epitome of haute couture but these boots can make feet and ankles unstable on snow and ice covered surfaces.

Falls from high-heeled winter boots can lead to a number of injuries depending on how you lose your balance. If your ankles roll inward or outward, they can break. If your ankles twist, ligaments can be stretched or torn, causing an ankle sprain. Slipping or falling in high-heeled boots can also cause broken toe, metatarsal and heel bones.

Shop for a low-heeled boot this winter and be sure to scuff the soles of new boots or buy adhesive rubber soles to provide greater traction.

No matter what style of boot you decide to wear this season, if you suffer a fall in Cincinnati or Southwest Ohio, call my office for prompt evaluation and treatment and follow the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) protocol:

REST. Stay off the injured foot since walking can cause further damage.

ICE. To reduce swelling and pain, apply a bag of ice over a thin towel to the affected area. Do not put ice directly against the skin. Use ice for 20 minutes and then wait at least 40 minutes before icing again.

COMPRESSION. An elastic wrap (Coban) should be used to control swelling.

ELEVATION. Keep the foot elevated to reduce the swelling. Your foot should be even with or slightly above the level of your heart.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 22 Nov, 2017

1.       If the shoe fits, wear it. When hitting the dance floor or shopping malls this holiday season, do not compromise comfort and safety when choosing the right shoes to wear. Narrow shoes, overly high-heeled ones or shoes not often worn, such as dress shoes, can irritate feet and lead to blisters, calluses, swelling and even severe ankle injuries. Select a shoe that has a low heel and fits your foot in length, depth and width while you are standing.

2.       Do not overindulge in holiday cheer.   Did you know your feet can feel the effects of too much holiday cheer? Certain foods and beverages high in purines, such as shellfish, red meat, red wine and beer can trigger extremely painful gout attacks, a condition in which uric acid accumulates and crystallizes in and around your joints. The big toe is most often affected first since the toe is the coolest part of the body, and uric acid is sensitive to temperature change.

3.       Be safety - conscious about pedicures. Nail salons can be a breeding ground for bacteria, including MRSA. To reduce your risk of infection during a pedicure, choose a salon that follows proper sanitation practices and is licensed by the state. Also, consider purchasing your own pedicure instruments to bring along to your appointment.

4.       Watch for ice and snow . Holiday winter wonderlands can be beautiful but also dangerous. Use caution when traveling outdoors and watch for patches of ice or snow along your trail. The ankle joint can be more vulnerable to serious injury from falling on ice. If you experience a fall, take a break from activities until you can be seen in my office. Use RICE therapy (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) to help reduce pain and control swelling at the site of the injury.

5.       Protect your feet from cold temperatures . Wear insulated, water-resistant boots and moisture-wicking socks to prevent frostbite, chilblains-an inflammation of the small blood vessels in the hands or feet when they are exposed to cold air- or other cold weather-related injuries to the feet and toes.

6.       Listen to your feet . Inspect your feet regularly for any evidence of ingrown toenails, swelling, blisters, dry skin or calluses. If you notice any pain, swelling or signs of problems, call my wonderful office staff to make an appointment to see me.

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