Alex Adam Podiatry > Blog > Feet Swelling and Leg Pain During Pregnancy?

Feet Swelling and Leg Pain During Pregnancy?

A guide to combat foot pain.

No two pregnancies are exactly alike, even if you’ve been through the process before. And sometimes your body’s response to the demands of growing a new life trickle down to affect your feet and legs. One complaint that many of us have is muscle cramps at night and swelling during the day. So how do you cope if you find your feet swelling and experience leg pain during pregnancy? And when is it time to get evaluated by a professional?

AMA podiatry have a simple guide to help.

Pregnancy Foot swelling and Leg pain

When you are pregnant, you don’t wish to visit your doctor more than necessary. But if you begin to experience any foot or leg issues, we would advise a visit to your podiatrist.

Swelling of the feet

Sometimes, benign swelling of the feet may just be a sign of fluid retention, which can be alleviated by regularly drinking more water and eating better.

Itchy Feet

Mild itching is common in pregnancy because of the increased blood supply to the skin. Mild itching is usually nothing to worry about, but if the itching becomes severe it can be a sign of a liver condition called ‘obstetriccholestasis’, or ‘intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy’. We strongly recommend contacting your doctor.

Leg cramping

A leg muscle cramp is a sustained muscle spasm. There are many causes of leg muscle cramps. The pain from muscle cramps can range from mild to incapacitating. Massaging and stretching may provide relief of muscle cramps.

It is often helped by stretching, walking, a potassium-rich diet, and supplementation with calcium. Muscle cramps usually are a temporary nuisance and typically resolve on their own without treatment. When muscle cramps continually recur, it is time to seek an evaluation by a health-care professional.

Still, there are some methods you can use to deal with leg cramps and foot pain at home.

Middle of-the-night-leg cramps

You are settled finally! after a long day, and then next you are having stabbing muscle cramps. We all have had muscle cramp before, but they increase in frequency during pregnancy. Usually due to a combination of the following:

  • weight gain
  • pressure on nerves
  • changes in blood flow

In addition, using diuretics and having a deficiency in calcium, potassium, or magnesium can make night leg cramps more likely. These cramps can also occur in the arches of your feet, particularly if you’ve been wearing flat flip flops or sandals frequently.

You can often prevent leg cramps by performing calf stretches against the wall before hopping into bed, taking a prenatal vitamin, drinking 10 glasses of water per day, exercising regularly, eating leafy greens, and wearing supportive footwear during the day.

Some people find leg cramp relief with heat—a warm shower or microwavable pad will help, also stretching and walking may offer relief.

Plantar Fasciitis/Over pronation, Common issue during Pregnancy

Plantar fasciitis is a stretching and/or tearing of the thick band of soft tissue that runs across the arch of your foot to the toes. The plantar fascia supports the foot and enables heel-to-toe walking motions. Unfortunately, the fast weight gain of pregnancy can cause this tissue to become inflamed. Increases in relaxin hormone stretch the tissues that flatten the foot—sometimes permanently. Exercising and wearing flimsy shoes can worsen the sharp heel pain. Many women report the worst pain after sitting for a while or with those first few steps in the morning.

Treatment & Prevention

With over-pronation and plantar fasciitis there are effective ways to treat this issue during pregnancy. As a first step over pronation can be conservatively treated with a comfortable shoe with good arch support, although many people require a custom orthotic. This type of orthotic is designed with better arch support and a medial rearfoot posting to stabilize the over pronation of the foot. It is important during and after pregnancy to treat the above issues for pain relief and long-term foot health.

At AMA Podiatry we can provide a full assessment of your feet health during pregnancy and provide you with advice and treatment if required.

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