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    Foot Pain During Pregnancy: Your Guide to Reasons and Remedies

    Pregnancy Journey

    Foot Pain During Pregnancy: Your Guide to Reasons and Remedies

    Updated on 3 April 2024

    Pregnancy is a journey where an expecting mother learns to eat, care and walk for two. As you grow a life within, you carry the extra weight of a baby and the responsibilities that come with it. It’s no wonder why you may experience foot pain during pregnancy. But don’t worry, this article will help you understand the causes and cures for feet pain during pregnancy.

    Is it normal to experience foot pain during early pregnancy?

    As you step into the shoes of an expecting mother, it’s not uncommon to experience foot pain even early in the pregnancy. This happens because of the hormonal changes happening in your body during pregnancy. Certain pregnancy hormones cause the ligaments, joints and tendons to relax, which can bring about changes in the arch of your foot and lead to foot pain in the early stages of pregnancy.

    What are the reasons for feet pain during pregnancy?

    Besides feeling pain in your feet during the early pregnancy, you may also experience it throughout your pregnancy. Some of the causes include:

    1. Weight gain

    One of the most obvious reasons for foot ache is the additional weight gain during pregnancy. As you progress to the second and third trimester of pregnancy, you and your baby gain weight which puts extra pressure on your feet and causes them to ache.

    2. Hormonal changes

    As mentioned before, a lot of hormonal changes take place inside a pregnant woman’s body. Pregnancy hormones like relaxin can cause the ligaments, joints and tendons in your feet to loosen up, leading to discomfort and pain in the feet.

    3. Water retention (edema)

    You may also experience water retention during pregnancy, which leads to edema or swelling in the legs and feet. Because of the fluid retention, your ankles and feet may hurt and appear swollen.

    4. Flat feet

    Pregnancy can also lead to overpronation or flattening of the feet due to additional weight and pressure. This can also be one of the reasons for foot pain during pregnancy.

    5. Postural changes

    During pregnancy your centre of gravity shifts, which causes changes in your posture, gait and walking style. As your feet adapt to these changes and bear the additional weight, they may experience pain and discomfort.

    6. Improper shoes

    If you stick to your pre-pregnancy shoes despite the feet size going up or wear uncomfortable shoes, you may develop bunions and pain in the ball of the feet. Squeezing your swollen feet in shoes that lack cushioning or support can also add to the pain.

    You may also like: Swelling During Pregnancy: Causes & Warning Signs & Symptoms

    How to relieve foot pain during pregnancy?

    There are many reasons that may contribute to your pain, but there are just as many solutions to alleviate your pain as well. Some ways to relieve foot pain during pregnancy include:

    1. Upgrade your shoe collection

    As you make changes to your maternity wardrobe, it’s also a good time to upgrade your shoe collection. It’s not uncommon for pregnant women to change shoe sizes several times during pregnancy, so ensure that your shoes are of the right size. Ditch those stilettoes and strappy heels for some time and invest in a few pairs of comfortable shoes and sandals with proper arch support and cushioning.

    2. Elevate your feet

    Elevating your feet while resting can help bring back the blood flow to your feet and legs and help alleviate the discomfort, swelling and pain. You can use a footrest to elevate your feet while sitting for long hours and prop them against the wall or arch of the bed to elevate them while lying down.

    3. Indulge in foot massages

    There’s nothing a relaxing massage can’t cure. So, when your feet start to ache, get a gentle foot massage. You can also use an Ayurvedic pain relief oil to massage your feet as it can help alleviate the pain and enhance the experience.

    4. Engage in foot exercises

    Practicing regular foot exercises like ankle circles or toe stretches can also improve blood circulation in your legs and feet, relieve tension and enhance flexibility. This, in turn, will help reduce the pain in your feet and ankles.

    5. Try to stay active

    Besides engaging in foot stretches and exercises, you should also remain active throughout your pregnancy until advised otherwise by your doctor. Walking, Yoga and swimming are some safe exercises that you can practice during pregnancy to improve your blood circulation and reduce foot and body aches.

    6. Apply ice packs

    For instant relief from pain, you can also apply cold compress or ice packs on your feet and ankles as they help to numb the pain and reduce swelling. Alternatively, soaking the feet in ice water may also provide some relief.

    7. Increase your fluid intake

    To prevent foot pain from arising due to water retention, you should increase your fluid or water intake. Try to drink at least 12-15 glasses of water to stay hydrated throughout the day and reduce swelling in the feet.

    8. Take care of your feet

    You should also practice proper foot care by trimming your nails regularly, keeping the feet clean and dry and not wearing tight or restrictive footwear. If you like to apply nail paints (provided you can still reach your toes!), then make sure to use a nail paint free from harmful chemicals.

    You may also like: Leg Swelling in Pregnancy

    Steps for foot massage during pregnancy to alleviate your pain

    Foot massage pregnancy can be a great way to relax your tense muscles, improve circulation and relieve your foot pain. Assuming you’ve received a green light from your gynecologist, here are some steps to follow for a safe and relaxing foot massage session during pregnancy:

    1. Set up the environment

    First, find a comfortable place where you can sit and relax uninterrupted. You can use some cushions or pillows to support your back and feet. Gather all the supplies you’ll need such as a massage oil and a soft towel or wipes to remove the excess oil after the massage.

    2. Start with gentle stretches

    Before beginning the massage, it’s recommended to stretch your legs and feet gently. This will help warm up the muscles. You can either flex and point your toes or rotate your ankles in circular motions.

    3. Apply an oil or lotion

    Make sure to choose a natural or Ayurvedic massage oil that’s safe for use during pregnancy like the Mylo Ayurvedic Pain Relief Oil, which is enriched with natural pain relievers like ginger, garlic, neem oil and camphor. Then, warm the oil and pour a small amount onto your palms. Apply it all over your feet or the pain points.

    4. Gently massage the feet

    Then, begin the massage with light strokes using your fingertips and thumbs. You can start at the toes and work your way to the heels and ankles in circular motions. You can apply some extra pressure to the pressure points like the arch, heel and ball of the foot.

    5. Use kneading and rolling motions

    You can also make use of your palms or thumbs to knead the muscles of your feet in circular, rolling motions. Alternatively, you can make use of a tennis ball or massage roller to roll your foot back and forth on it. This can help relieve the tension in the soles.

    6. Finish with relaxing strokes

    Spend at least a few minutes on each foot to ensure you have covered all the areas. Finally, finish the massage with light, soothing strokes to relax the muscles. You may also put your feet on a cushion or pillow and keep them elevated for a few minutes. Before getting up, make sure to wipe off the excess oil.

    Final Thoughts

    As your feet walk for two in this journey, it’s normal to experience foot pain during pregnancy. With some precautions and extra care, you can easily manage and alleviate the pain and tension in your feet. However, if the pain persists or becomes unmanageable, it might be best to consult your gynecologist or a specialist to identify the root cause and suggest appropriate treatment. Until then, wobble your way to the due date!

    References

    1. Varol T, Göker A, Cezayirli E, Özgür S, Tuç Yücel A. (2017). Relation between foot pain and plantar pressure in pregnancy. Turk J Med Sci.

    2. Gianakos AL, Abdelmoneim A, Kerkhoffs GM, DiGiovanni CW. (2022). The Pregnant Patient - Why Do My Feet Hurt? J Foot Ankle Surg.

    3. Letompa S, Khanyile L, Mathivha T, Purbhoo M. (2023). Foot health status in pregnant women. Foot (Edinb).

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    Written by

    Anupama Chadha

    Anupama Chadha, born and raised in Delhi is a content writer who has written extensively for industries such as HR, Healthcare, Finance, Retail and Tech.

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