We should care about our feet our whole life. Future mothers, who should pay even more attention to it, do not place very big meaning to it. But which problems can you face during increased weight? And how should mothers take care of their feet? Some pregnant women gain more than twenty kilograms during their pregnancy. And when the mother already gained the weight, what would we recommend her concerning the feet? How should the daily treatment of the feet look like? You can find answers to these questions in this article.
CHANGES IN THE PERIOD OF PREGNANCY
During pregnancy the levels of certain hormones go up in the blood, it causes higher elasticity of the soft tissues (ligaments, muscles, tendons and joint capsules). This process is very important for proportional change in the area of the pelvis and chest during the pregnancy. Growing baby in mother’s belly has a sufficient space for their healthy development. Thanks to increased flexibility of the ligaments the joints in the area of the pelvis, hips and ribs will loosen up. At the same time the increased flexibility of the pelvic floor is for easier birth of the baby.
On the other hand this increased elasticity has also negative effect. Hormones do not affect only the characteristics of the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints in the area of the trunk, but the increased flexibility of the joint capsules in the whole body of the mother. Growing weight not only of the baby, then creates big pressure on the smaller joints of the feet, in which the joint capsules are loosened up, which can result in flat feet.
Collapsed foot arch is not painful from the start. The mother can only feel „discomfort” in the feet, tiredness, sometimes tingling, or that the ground is pushing against the feet, especially during longer standing with a barefoot on a hard surface (for example while standing on a hard floor during cooking). If the collapsed foot arch won’t be treated, it can lead to further worsening of the condition, which is already painful. For example, while waking up in the morning from the bed, it will take a short while till the leg will be fully mobile. During longer standing (on the bus stop, in a line in store), the pressure or pain in the foot will force you to change posture on the spot…
At the same time as the baby is along with uterus gradually growing, the big blood vessels that are leading blood from the legs back to the heart are being pressed on. Lower blood circulation in the blood vessels leads to formation of swellings in legs. One of the symptoms can be for example worn out socks on the edge around heels. Another symptom can be tingling, tickling in the calf and thigh, or a visible formation of varicose veins, alternatively they can be painful, you can feel burning sensation, tingling etc…, it occurs most commonly in the area behind the knee socket or inner side of the thighs.
Exercising and stimulation of the foot
Collapsed transverse and longitudinal foot arch can be prevented by regular „exercising” of the muscles on the soles of the feet and muscles in the calf area. Each mother surely knows how simple it is to stretch toes as far as possible and then bend them as close as possible toward the body, circling in the ankles, or when lying down on your back, you can do cycling moves with your legs…
There is a big amount of such rhythmical exercises when you switch the activity of one leg with the other. At the same time it is ideal to stimulate the foot with “brushing”, walking on pebbles, lentils, etc., switching cold and warm water or walking on varying terrains only in socks (hard pavement, warm floating floor, soft carpet; in summer you can walk on a sand, grass). It is important, for the nerve receptors to get as much quality impulses as possible. That will lead to stimulation of the muscles, ligaments and tendons in the area of the feet.
Prevention of the venous insufficiency
As a very good prevention of venous insufficiency we recommend lymphatic drainage, either mechanical or manual. Consult this option with your doctor first, there may be some contraindication, such as liver, heart or kidney diseases. Another good prevention against varicose veins is swift walking at a pace 6 km/ph.
If you already observe swellings in your legs, or widening of the veins, we recommend to buy compression pantyhose (they are offered with wider hips and waist for pregnant mothers in medical supply stores).
Reflexive massage of the foot sole relieves tension in the feet during long standing and overloaded ligaments and tendons in the feet. It is about stimulating reflexive zones, where individual parts of the foot respond for the function of specific organs. For example, the toe area responds with eyes, ears, head and cervical spine. Little bit lower on the toes you can stimulate chest organs, heart, lungs. Bunion on the other hands is in a zone responding to the transition between the thoracic and cervical area. Client with bunion can suffer from migraines or blocked cervical spine.
During a reflexive massage it is best for the mothers to be relaxed, at peace and to just enjoy the care they are receiving. Mothers can also learn the massage of the feet by themselves, but the effect of the relaxation won't be the same. It is not recommended for pregnant women to massage the area of the outer and inner ankle, where are the zones for sexual organs and uterus.
Published: Burda, magazine Bettynka, 2012
Author: Mgr. Iva Bílková, FYZIOklinika fyzioterapie Ltd, Prague, Czech Republic