Friday, 21 November 2014

Maintaining Foot Health during Pregnancy

The extra weight and hormonal changes that women have to bear during pregnancy can be tough. Apart from a swollen belly, what will make it more difficult are swollen feet and legs that some women experience during this phase. With an increased stress on the feet due to the extra weight, pregnancy can often make it an uphill task to walk around. Unless steps are taken to maintain foot health, a phase that should be spent in a joyous mood can become a disappointing chore.


Most pregnant woman pay more attention to the aesthetic look of their shoes rather than considering how comfortable they are to wear and move around in. In their quest to keep up with recent fashion and celebrity trends, many even make choices that are risky for their foot health. Choosing unsupportive shoes such as ballet pumps, high heels, Ugg boots and flip flops is a total no-no for pregnant women, say experienced podiatrists.

During pregnancy, ligaments and muscles stretch and soften. This makes your feet increasingly prone to ligament and ankle strains. When you wear high heels, your posture is altered and your calf muscles are shortened, which will put increased pressure on your knees and back. Due to extra weight gain, your joints are already under strain and you shouldn’t make the situation worse by wearing high heels. Apart from causing several leg, foot and back problems, high heels can even increase chances of a fall.

When choosing your shoes for daily wear, you should avoid Ugg boots, flip flops and ballet pumps too as they don’t give your feet the necessary support.


Wearing supportive, comfortable footwear is the primary step in pregnancy to ensure foot heath. Foot doctors suggest choosing shoes with laces, a strap or Velcro to ensure that they fit comfortably and stay firmly on your foot. However, you should not buy shoes with tricky straps that are difficult to fasten. This is especially applicable when you are in the final trimester of your pregnancy.
Footwear with small heel height (ideally of 3 cm) can shift your weight a bit to the front of your feet, which in turn can lessen discomfort. Supportive shoes that have a firm heel, supportive arch and extra shock absorption are good choices in pregnancy.

Rather than selecting tight, pointed shoes, you should invest in square shaped or rounded ones that have a spacious toe box to offer you a comfortable fit.

During the day, your feet tend to swell. They are at their largest in the late afternoon. This is the ideal time to buy shoes. You should make sure that a 1 cm gap exists between your shoe’s edge and your longest toe.

Whether you are sitting or lying, maintain the correct posture. For instance, refrain from crossing your ankles or legs when sitting.

Perform some simple exercises to reduce swelling and discomfort. To improve circulation and avoid cramps, you can rotate your ankles for 10 counts, first in the clockwise and then in an anticlockwise direction. While lying on your back, pedaling to imitate riding a bicycle can help strengthen leg muscles and reduce swelling in the feet. Daily calf and leg stretches can also help. It’s best to consult your podiatrist to find which exercises or poses are safe and beneficial to do before your start your pregnancy fitness routine.

Foot health in pregnancy is often neglected. Starting from simple foot and back pain to more serious diseases like over-pronation and plantar fasciitis may occur due to this negligence and lack of awareness. Foot doctors suggest consulting a podiatrist and adhere to the advice given, for maintaining foot health and enjoying pregnancy.