Post-Pregnancy Foot Pain

Most people believe that once a baby is born, a mother’s body quickly returns to its former self, minus a few extra pounds. However, as it takes 9 months to grow a baby, it often takes just as long, or longer, for a woman’s body to take on its “new normal”.

One symptom I often see is sore feet postpartum. My patients often complain of aching, painful feet first thing in the morning or after sitting for long periods of time. As most women tend to gain anywhere between 20-50 pounds during their pregnancy, one of the areas most likely to be affected by the relatively rapid weight loss is the feet.

Three of the most common foot problems for new moms is swollen feet, fallen arches and numbness and tingling. Surprisingly, many women often go up half- to one whole shoe size after their pregnancy — and the change is permanent. This is due to progesterone, a hormone that stretches the ligaments throughout the body while the baby is growing during pregnancy, allowing for extra space in the womb for the baby to grow. Interestingly, it’s not contained to the pelvis, but affects other parts of the body as well, including the feet.

Progesterone can stretch the foot ligaments so much that the arches fall. Should you suspect you have fallen arches, Toronto podiatrist Chris Hastings can create custom orthotics designed specially for your post-pregnancy feet. The orthotics will help minimize foot pain, and also keep you comfortable throughout the day, and raising a newborn means many hours on your feet, often bouncing and rocking your child to sleep.

Numbness or tingling in the feet might occur during pregnancy as the veins around the pelvis were constricted, limiting blood flow to the lower extremities. During pregnancy, this would have caused loss of sensation in the feet, or feet easily “falling asleep”. Often times, it can take up to a year postpartum for the blood flow to return to normal. If you are experiencing excessive tingling postpartum, contact Toronto podiatrist Chris Hasting for treatment. It is especially important that you visit a foot clinic if you are diabetic or had gestational diabetes. A podiatrist’s help will be crucial in ensuring good foot health.