Everyone living on this planet knows the importance of their feet in their everyday lives. However, very few care for them. According to multiple surveys in the US, more than 73% people, both men and women, report having at least one foot infection or problem in their entire lives. And what’s worse? Women having a foot disease or infection during pregnancy, and today, we are going to discuss just that!
What can happen to my feet during pregnancy?
As we know that pregnant women have a hard time walking and performing other daily tasks because of the additional weight they have to bear. Well, due to the excess load on the feet, they often complain of having foot pain and swelling. Not only that, reports also suggest that many of them have foot infections during that time as well! Why?
Unfortunately, after a survey was conducted, the results concluded that only 3% of people, with most of them being women, wear sandals or other open shoes. When women are bearing a child, their feet tend to get more sensitive, meaning they are more vulnerable to diseases and infections, and perspire and sweat more. The excess moisture from the sweat leads to fungal infections, which are not only painful, but can also restrict movement. So, the next question arises.
How to keep your feet healthy during pregnancy?
I’m glad you asked! There are many factors involved in keeping your feet healthy, and in this extensive guide, we are going to go into detail for each one of them! You need to keep in mind that there are many foot problems that can occur during pregnancy, and can be controlled by avoiding certain stuff like pointed shoe boxes, high heels, etc. So, here are some of good tips that can help your feet in staying healthy during the time of your life!
1. Perform strengthening exercises
Since the weight of the baby contributes to the weakness and sensitivity of the feet, starting foot strengthening exercises can prepare your feet beforehand of the extra weight you are going to accumulate in the next months. Here are some exercises that can increase the strength of your feet:
- Sit on a chair with your bare feet, and slowly move away each of the toe from the other, without curling or extending them. This will increase the flexibility of each individual toe.
- Place your feet flat on the toe, and lift yourself up with only your toes. Repeat this up to 10 times a day, as this will contribute to the strength of your foot and toes.
2. Buy bigger shoes and socks
This may sound weird at first, but as the months pass, you’ll get why I am saying this. As the child grows inside the mother’s womb, the mother also gains some weight and her hands and feet tend to get bigger. Buying them before that happens will decrease the chances of swelling that happens by wearing shorter socks and shoes.
Also, be sure to buy thinner socks to allow easy extra breathability for your feet so that they won’t get super-sweaty, especially the heels. Comfy and lightweight shoes are also a good choice as many women prefer wearing low profile shoes for more flexibility as opposed to cushioned shoes worn by athletes which contribute to extra weight.
3. Stay active
This one is not only a tip, but also a necessity as staying active leads to more use of the feet. If you lie around all day or just watch T.V. in the bedroom, your feet will get numb, which means a lot of trouble for women that are pregnant. In addition to staying active, you should also exercise twice a day as this will increase the overall flow of blood in your body, so don’t sit too often and keep yourself from lying down for prolonged periods of time, unless you are sleeping or if it is absolutely necessary.
4. Avoid foot swelling
According to many doctors, swelling is many times a part of pregnancy, so no need to worry if you have done everything above and still have it. Below are some tips to reduce the amount of it though:
- Put your feet up for as long as you want. This will lift the weight that your feet has been bearing for hours, and is a good way to give your feet some rest.
- Whenever you are sleeping, lie on your left side as it will get your baby of the main vein called the vena cava. I won’t get into the details, but it is a vein that pulls blood from all over the body, so it will reduce the swelling to a large extent.
5. Say no to narrow toe boxes and high heels!
Whether you like it or not, heels are dangerous for your feet, so avoid wearing heels of any size as they will leave more weight on your heels, and you are more vulnerable to under-heel injuries like athletes foot. Also, don’t wear shoes with tapered toe boxes. I’ll tell you a method to finding the perfect shoe for you. Put your foot on the shoe you are going to buy. If it is pointier, don’t buy it. Always wear shoes that are the most similar to your original foot, as they will allow your feet to stay the way they are, as opposed to getting cramped up and susceptible to swelling, sensitivity and other things. To prove the above statements, an Orthopedic Foot Surgeon, Dr. Dan Hoopes, said that:
“Your feet will feel different and will not fit any shoes you have that are tight. This is because the hormones which are causing the ligaments to relax in the pelvis are also affecting the foot architecture. Your foot will need more space, especially in the area of the toes. It might go back after the baby is born, but it might be your new normal. Look for shoes that either have no toe box (no shoes, flip-flops, slippers) or a “foot-shaped” toe box”
Although these problems sound like they are inevitable, with proper treatment and prevention, you can go through the period with no pain whatsoever! If you found these tips helpful, be sure to share this article with other pregnant friends and family so that they may benefit as well!
Lisa Miller is the founder and editor in chief at FootCareSource.com, a foot health blog dedicated to provide trusted advice and information about foot health, foot wear and foot friendly lifestyle choices. Check out her blog to find more about Lisa and her work.