How to Prevent Flat Feet in Pregnancy – by San Francisco Podiatrist
Pregnancy can cause a number of different types of discomfort and foot pain. One of the more troubling problems that can occur during pregnancy is flat foot pain. While flat feet can be normal, but pain associated with flat feet is never ever normal. Women are pregnant and already have a slightly flat foot are even more at risk of developing painful flatfoot deformity during pregnancy.
Your foot has several strong ligaments and tendons that support the arch and help to maintain your normal foot structure. The spring ligament and the posterior tibial tendon are two very important arch supporting structures that can be damaged during pregnancy.
Certain pregnancy-related hormones are increased throughout your body during pregnancy. Relaxin is one of the hormones that your body produces in order to help with vaginal birth. In order to deliver a baby, it is necessary to relax the ligaments that stabilize and hold the pelvic bones together. This allows for a slight separation of the hip bones in order to allow the fetus to move through during birth.
Unfortunately, this hormone also affects other structures made of collagen, including the tendons and ligaments in the feet. This can lead to fallen arches. It is not just the ligamentous laxity that leads to fallen arches. It is really the combination of weakening of these structures combined with the normal increase in weight associated with pregnancy.
When these structures become stretched out, you can develop over-pronation of the foot. This actually further increases the stress on the foot and joint supporting structures that maintain the stability of the arch.
As the arch collapses, the foot will elongate. Many women will notice that their shoe size increases one half to one full size either during pregnancy or immediately thereafter. This elongation of the foot and collapse of the arch can also lead to a common condition called plantar fasciitis, which results in pain in the bottom of the heel. This kind of heel pain is usually worse when you get up and step out of bed.