Many women get something called plantar fasciitis during pregnancy. This problem is characterized by pain on the bottom of your foot when you first start to use your feet after prolonged periods of disuse. The initial pain will dissipate with use but will then start to hurt again after prolonged use. An example of this is when you wake up in the morning; after not using your feet all night they hurt a lot when you first put your weight on them and then they begin to feel better as you go about your day. However, pregnant women often don’t get the same relief with use.
Plantar fasciitis is primarily caused by a fall in the medial arch, decreased joint motion in the mid foot, and/or tight calves. Pregnancy plantar fasciitis has another major component which is a hormone called relaxin. Relaxin’s job is to help loosen ligaments so that giving birth is possible. However, while you are waiting to give birth, it causes the loosening of all of the ligaments in the body and this leads to the increased likelihood of medial arch collapse. Increased weight also leads to arch collapse. Weight gain also contributes to calf tightness because it increases the amount of work they have to do. The calf muscle links to the plantar fascia, which is why your calf flexibility is important. Lastly, while the ligaments being loose provides more space for joints, this extra space can lead to joints getting stuck in the wrong place. Decreased joint mobility in the mid foot is a common cause of plantar fasciitis.
What can you do?
- See a chiropractor. Chiropractors are skilled at treating muscle, joint, and nervous system complaints without the use of drugs for pain relief. Because they don’t use medicine for pain relief they are ideal for drug free help for pregnancy pains. Also, it is good to start by seeing a health care provider because there are many different foot conditions and you want to make sure you are getting the correct care for you.
- See a massage therapist. A proper massage will break up adhesive tissue in the plantar fascia which will help with your foot discomfort. A massage therapist can also help relieve calf tightness.
- See a nutritionist. They can help control weight gain and help with your inflammatory response without the use of medication.
- Home care if you are sure it is plantar fasciitis: gently move the bottom of your foot over a frozen golf ball a couple times a day. Stretch your calves. Makes sure when you stretch your calves you are getting both your gastrocnemius muscle and your soleus muscle.