Pregnancy can lead to complications throughout your body, and your feet are no exception. During pregnancy, you can develop a variety of foot problems, including plantar fasciitis. Here are three things you need to know about plantar fasciitis.
What is plantar fasciitis?
Your plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that connects your heel bones to your toe bones. This tissue is very important: not only does it hold up the arches in your feet, it also acts like a spring and helps you propel yourself forwards when you walk or run.
Plantar fasciitis is the disorder that occurs when this important tissue develops tears or starts to break down. Inflammation in the tissue can also play a role.
What are the signs?
If you develop plantar fasciitis, you'll feel pain on the underside of your foot, along your arch. You may also feel pain in your heel, where the plantar fascia connects to the heel bone.
How does pregnancy cause plantar fasciitis?
Pregnancy puts a lot of stress on your feet. Gaining weight quickly puts extra pressure on your feet, which can strain your plantar fascia. Pregnancy can also lead to changes in your gait (walking style) which can change the way your foot functions and damage the plantar fascia.
Your hormones also play a role in the development of plantar fasciitis. When you're pregnant, your body makes relaxin, a hormone that relaxes the ligaments in your pelvis. This hormone also affects other ligaments in your body, like your plantar fascia. Your relaxed plantar fascia can then become damaged.
How is it treated?
Usually, plantar fasciitis that is caused by pregnancy goes away after you have your baby, but not always. In the meantime, your podiatrist can offer many treatments to help you manage the symptoms. Your podiatrist may recommend taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, but if you don't want to take them during your pregnancy, other treatments are available.
Therapies such as physical therapy may help your symptoms. During physical therapy, you will learn how to stretch your plantar fascia as well as how to strengthen the muscles in your lower legs that help to stabilize your heels. In addition to physical therapy, your podiatrist may tell you to wear a splint to stretch the arch of your foot while you sleep.
Orthotics (shoe inserts) can also be helpful. Orthotics work by evenly disturbing pressure along the bottoms of your feet to take the strain off your plantar fascia.
If you're pregnant and suffering from foot pain, you may have plantar fasciitis and should see a podiatrist like North Hill Foot & Ankle Clinic foot injuries.