What does family planning have to do with feet? No, feet have nothing to do with birth control or fertility. So don’t go running to your podiatrist if you are having problems in that area. But, if you are pregnant or planning on getting pregnant you might want to visit us at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists to avoid pregnancy-related foot problems.
I was reminded this week, when I saw several pregnant women in the office, how important it is for pre-pregnant and pregnant women to take care of their feet. One of the young ladies I saw was 16 weeks pregnant and was referred for treatment of her fungus nails. She had this infection for quite some time before becoming pregnant, and it was getting worse. The treatment of choice for her would have been an oral anti-fungal medication. Obviously, she was not a candidate because of her pregnancy. Though her fungus toenails may have looked ugly, they were not an acute problem that needed to be addressed now without potential harm to the baby. A little pre-pregnancy planning would have allowed her to be treated and now not having to deal with those fungal-infected ugly nails.
Many common foot problems that exist such as ingrown nails, plantar fasciitis/heel pain, arch pain, bunions, warts and varicose veins, to name a few, only become worse with pregnancy. If you presently have some of these or other problems and are discussing getting pregnant, now would be the time to have them evaluated and treated.
Pregnancy places additional strain on feet as well as the legs and back especially in the later 2nd and 3rdtrimesters due to the added weight as the baby grows. Conditions such as tendinitis, arch strain and sprain, heel pain and swelling are common during pregnancy. Most of these conditions can be treated very conservatively with good supportive shoes, orthotics or foot supports, ice/heat, support hose and rest.
It is best while pregnant to avoid medication, surgery and other invasive procedures if at all possible. Discuss treatment options and outcomes with your treating physician and obstetrician.
Remember, regardless of how uncomfortable you feel and how badly your feet and legs hurt during those last weeks and days of pregnancy, rest assured, it should pass when the bouncing baby is delivered.