Foot orthotics for pregnancy are now taking a stage approach, with one designed to be worn in the first stages of pregnancy, and another…
Pregnancy comes with a number of physical changes. The belly grows bigger to make room for the growing fetus, breasts enlarge to prepare for breastfeeding, and the expecting mother’s skin can develop a “glow” due to increased circulation and the presence of pregnancy hormones that prompt the release of extra oil. There are also changes in the feet during pregnancy that, in some cases, can lead to discomfort or pain, and new foot orthotics for pregnancy options aim to help.
Custom foot orthotics for pregnancy
Although it may seem that regular foot orthotics could provide the arch support needed during pregnancy, the issue with this approach is that the expecting mother’s body is constantly changing. So, an orthotic that provides the right level of support today won’t necessarily provide the support needed the following day, week, or month.
This is why some foot orthotic providers are taking a stage approach with their products. They supply one orthotic designed to be worn in the first stages of pregnancy, for instance, with another orthotic intended to provide the support the foot needs closer to delivery. Some companies even provide a third orthotic to be used post-delivery to help accommodate the more lasting changes to the feet.
Custom maternity orthotics help a couple of different ways. The first is increasing the foot’s arch. This can reduce musculoskeletal misalignments as the foot has the support needed to maintain its structure and function, thereby also reducing aches and pains. The second potential benefit is by distributing the pregnant woman’s weight more evenly across the feet.
Custom maternity orthotics could even help resolve the effects of more weight being placed on one foot over the other. Since each orthotic would be individually created for the right and left foot, it would provide the support that specific foot needs for proper structure and function.
Pregnancy and the feet
One foot-related change that pregnant women may notice is that their feet are swollen, making it difficult or uncomfortable to fit into shoes. The University of Michigan Health reports that this can be caused by normal fluid buildup, adding that foot pain and achiness during pregnancy may also occur due to greater laxity within the ligaments.
The actual structure of the foot might change as well, sometimes permanently. A 2014 study published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation followed 49 women from the first trimester of pregnancy until 19 weeks after delivery. During the course of this time, both the arch height and rigidity index decreased significantly while foot length increased, though the permanent reduction of arch height appeared to be the most significant. Authors attributed these changes to increases in weight and laxity, further suggesting that this could account for the greater risk of musculoskeletal disorders for women.
A 2016 study in Foot & Ankle Specialist adds that as pregnancy advances, women also tend to bear more weight on one foot than the other. This is in addition to the feet progressively pronating as pregnancy progresses from one stage to the next.
While there may not be much that can be done about increased laxity in the ligaments and reducing sodium intake might be helpful to reducing swelling, some companies are tackling pregnancy’s impact on the foot’s arch. And they’re doing it with custom foot orthotics.
Additional tips for greater foot health during pregnancy
In addition to suggesting that pregnant patients use foot orthotics to better accommodate their changing bodies, chiropractic providers can offer other remedies for promoting foot health both before and after delivery.
This includes wearing compression stockings and regularly elevating the feet to help reduce swelling, as well as taking the time to stretch regularly throughout the day to increase circulation if sitting for long periods of time.
Changing footwear can also be beneficial to accommodate increases in both foot width and length. Trying to force the feet into shoes that are too narrow or small can reduce circulation, resulting in increases in discomfort and pain. Wearing shoes that fit well during pregnancy helps avoid these issues, providing more comfort during this time of constant physical change.
For more on foot orthotics for pregnancy options and other foot orthotic needs go to chiroeco.com/products/product-category/orthotics.