I’m Pregnant and My Ankles Hurt, What Can I Do?

Lately I have been getting a lot of questions from patients regarding their ankles during pregnancy. They complain of pain and not being able to walk with comfort for any extended period of time. While the body changes during pregnancy, it can affect the joints of the ankles and feet.

Most of us know the many changes the body goes through during pregnancy. Putting on weight, chances in complexion, and hormonal changes are just a few. But what about back aches, leg and ankle pain? These are the most common complaints. A lot of the pain is from the shift of your stance while carrying the baby that will affect the hips, knees ankles and feet. The hormonal changes relax the leg and foot muscles and they tend to get lax or loose and cause many problems.

Here are some tips to help prevent ankle pain during pregnancy:

  • High heels should be avoided while pregnant. With the muscles loose heels can cause major injuries to the ankles and arches. If you must wear a heel, try a wedge style that is enclosed and not more than 2 inches. Pregnant women should generally wear comfortable footwear that is made of leather with some stability.Orthotics can help control how loose the muscles get and will prevent a lot of the discomfort you have. Discuss orthotics with your podiatrist.
  • Most foot and ankle pain from pregnancy tends to start at week 28-29 but this is not a hard and fast rule. Pain can occur before or after.
  • Flip flops and sandals offer no support and can make your symptoms worse. They make take the pressure off but will not help in the long run and cause more swelling.
  • Avoid standing for long periods of time. Putting the pressure on the lower extremity for long periods of time will cause pain especially at night.
  • Swelling is the most common complaint and will happen. With this in mind elevation of the feet will help. Elevation above the heart is preferable.
  • Soaking in warm water with Epsom salts will help ease the discomfort and is a natural remedy.
  • Sleeping on the left side of your body tends to help circulation and improve the discomfort.
  • After walking, massage the feet with any good skin lotion from behind the toes to above the ankles and repeat this motion for 5 minutes per foot. This tends to push excess fluid out of the feet. Always push fluid up toward and above the ankles.
  • Change positions frequently during the day. Sitting or standing in the same position for more than 30 minutes at a time will cause more ankle and arch pain.
  • Watch the amount of salt in your diet. Dont cut it out totally but cutting back will help you swell less and make you much more comfortable.
  • If available a whirlpool bath with warm water will promote better circulation and help alleviate the discomfort.
  • I dont recommend use of ice while pregnant and the skin changes that occur make it more prone to getting burns from ice.

If ankle pain is severe seek help from your podiatrist. He or she may advise some physical therapy, show you how to bandage the feet to prevent swelling and add stability and may prescribe compression hose to not only decrease the swelling but improve the circulation.

If you are suffering Dr. Bowman can help. Feel free to contact him at 713-467-8886 or online.

Category: Foot Pain

Tags: Foot Pain During Pregnancy, Pregnant Feet, Swollen Feet