When does a pregnant runner need custom orthotics? Well, that’s what we’re talking about today on the Doc On The Run Podcast.
But the truth is, if you have some podiatrist who needs orthotics, they’re going to tell you anybody who has feet, but not everybody needs custom orthotics. But there is a reason your doctor might recommend them to you particularly if you’re an athlete, like a runner, and you happen to be pregnant.
When you get pregnant, of course, you have lots of hormones going through your systems that can make you more emotional and can make you hungry, and they cause ligamentous laxity. Those hormones that cause laxity are there to obviously make things more flexible so that you can actually deliver the baby.
The pubic symphysis, for example, the ligament that actually connects your hip bones together in the front actually has to relax and widen and specific hormones that you have in your system. allow that to happen.
The reason that’s a problem if you’re a runner is that you have rapid weight gain and if you’re predisposed to certain problems, then that additional relaxation in your foot can actually accentuate those problems and even cause deformities that persist later after the pregnancy is over with.
For example, if you happen to have bunion deformities and your first metatarsal bone has a tendency to drift over a little bit, well, when you gain more weight, you have more pressure and there’s more relaxation in those ligaments, they can stretch out. If you have a tendency for flat feet, the spring ligament on the bottom of your arch that actually holds up your arch can stretch out. So can the Posterior Tibial Tendon.
All of these things are made of collagen the same as that ligament that holds your hip bones together and if they stretch out, you can wind up with flatter feet or bigger bunions after you deliver the baby and you’re trying to get back to running. So, sometimes the doctor will actually say, “Okay, well, you know, you’re at risk for getting these problems and if we have some custom orthotics that support your foot, hold you in a corrected position and prevent those ligaments from stretching out, you might be able to prevent those problems.”
We also know that for some reason, if you have a second pregnancy, you’re actually more at risk of having that happen than you are during the first pregnancy. And if your doctor recommends custom orthotics for you, you might only need them during that period. But we know that if you have that relaxation when things solidify afterwards, if you’re held in a corrected position, you’re more likely to retain a more normal foot shape and you might not even need the custom orthotics later at all.
But hopefully this helps you understand a little bit about why your doctor might have recommended custom orthotics for you and if so, you can decide whether or not to be it would something you want to try to prevent any of the problems that can happen during pregnancy and persist afterward.
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