WOMEN’S FOOT HEALTH PART III:
An Article Written by Yen-Chii Wong
Podiatrist – New Step Podiatry
Over four articles we will explore women’s health considerations in podiatry. We will discuss foot changes during pregnancy in this article, considerations for a female athlete here, bone health for women here and foot changes during menopause here. Click on the links to access these articles.
Foot Changes in Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a time where plenty of changes are happening in the body. Let’s take a look at a few changes you may notice in your feet.
– Feet can get longer, wider, and overall larger. People may find they need more length, width, and depth in their shoe to accommodate this. Widening of the foot is partially due to an ankle bone called the talus shifting downwards from increased weight being put on the feet.
– Joints can become more mobile, and ligaments can become looser due to increased production of the relaxin hormone. The main function of this hormone is to relax the pelvic area and cervix to prepare for childbirth, but it also increases joint mobility at around 6-12 weeks. An increase in joint mobility can lead to arches appearing more flattened, which can contribute to the foot looking wider.
– The foot’s centre of pressure shifts towards the heel resulting in altered balance and proprioception (knowing where your foot is in space). This can lead to increased risk of falls and injuries like ankle sprains.
Segal, N. A., Boyer, E. R., Teran-Yengle, P., Glass, N. A., Hillstrom, H. J., & Yack, H. J. (2013). Pregnancy leads to lasting changes in foot structure. American journal of physical medicine & rehabilitation, 92(3), 232–240. https://doi.org/10.1097/PHM.0b013e31827443a9
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