Pregnancy is an exciting time especially for first time moms, but pregnancy also has its ups and downs and can be especially difficult when the new mom-to-be begins to experience morning sickness or many of the other physical changes that tend to occur as their pregnancy progresses. While it is true that each pregnancy is different, many women experience weight change, stretch marks, and swollen ankles along with an assortment of other ailments. If you begin to experience a sudden onset of heel pain for example, it could be the result of a condition called plantar fasciitis. The good news is that you don’t have to suffer with the pain and discomfort that is associated with heel pain during or after your pregnancy.
Weight Gain & Foot Pain During First, Second & Third Trimester
As your pregnancy progresses it is both healthy and normal to gain weight. Weight gain can cause the arches of your feet to flatten and roll (pronate) inward as you walk. This places an addition strain on your foot which can overload your planter fascia ligament. Why is pregnancy so closely linked to the development of plantar fasciitis? Weight gain associated with pregnancy often progresses at an accelerated rate becoming more dramatic as your pregnancy date gets closer. The increased strain on your arches causes small tears to appear in the plantar fascia causing both pain and inflammation. If this condition is left untreated it can progress into sharp calcium deposits (bone spurs) that will become imbedded into the fatty pad of the heel when you walk causing increased levels of pain.
Signs & Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis Tears During Pregnancy
It is perfectly normal for your feet to get tired during the course of your pregnancy. As a general rule the soreness will often resolve itself within a day or so. While it is also normal to experience foot pain, especially if your pregnancy is almost at full term, pay attention to pain that remains after a day two, is worse in the morning, or is concentrated at the heel. Pain associated with plantar fasciitis will often dissipate and improve as your ligaments loosen up during the day with normal levels of activity. One of the biggest complaints associated with plantar fasciitis is stiffness and pain in the bottom of the heel or the bottom mid-foot area. The pain will gradually develop and intensify over time and typically affects one foot although it can affect both feet. Sufferers describe the pain as a dull or burning ache on the bottom of the foot which radiates outward from the heel. Others describe the pain as being sudden and sharp. Many sufferers of plantar fasciitis complain that the pain is worse in the morning when they get out of bed and take their first few steps or if they stand and walk after sitting or lying down for a period of time. If left untreated heel spurs can continue to be a source of pain and discomfort even after you have lost the baby weight gained during pregnancy.
How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis at Home
Consult with your Belmont Anderson Podiatry Specialist to schedule your consultation, diagnosis and comprehensive treatment program. To diagnose plantar fasciitis, your podiatrist will ask questions about your current symptoms and your past health. He or she will also conduct a physical exam of your feet that includes watching you stand and walk. Some of the things that you can do at home include:
• Putting your feet up and taking the time to relax.
• Avoid standing for long periods of time. Standing actually places more pressure on your arches than the motion associated with walking.
• Ask your partner to massage your feet. Not only can massage reduce pain, it can also contribute to long-term healing.
• Avoid wearing high heels. Instead wear a pair of flat shoes that have plenty of toe room along with heel and arch support.
• Consult with your Belmont Anderson Podiatry professional regarding specially fitted orthotic shoe inserts specifically designed to alleviate plantar fasciitis. Research shows that orthotics can reduce the pain associated with plantar fasciitis by as much as 90%!
• Consult with your obstetrician to learn simple and effective heel stretching techniques to lessen the pain associated with plantar fasciitis.
Plantar Fasciitis Treatment
Often, plantar fasciitis can be cured with simple treatments such as those listed above. However, there are some people who do not respond positively with these at home treatments. Corticosteroid injections, shockwave therapy and surgery may be required. Contact the knowledgeable experts at Belmont Anderson Podiatry today to schedule your appointment to begin treating the symptoms, pain and discomfort associated with plantar fasciitis.