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How to manage plantar fasciitis during pregnancy

Certain pains and discomforts need to be resolved so that you can be as comfortable as possible throughout your pregnancy.

pregnancy, health, pregnant women, pregnancy pains, pregnancy experiences, mother's health, foot pain during pregnancy, plantar fasciitis, parenting, indian express newsMassaging the foot can provide relief from plantar fasciitis. (Photo: Freepik)

By Dr Sayeeda Zain Afshan 

Pregnancy comes with a lot of physical and physiological changes in the body, that is the reason why pregnant women feel a lot of pain and discomfort. Certain pains and discomforts need to be resolved so that you can be as comfortable as possible throughout your pregnancy.

One such discomfort is foot pain which is also called as plantar fasciitis.

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Woman in feeling ache in her ankles. (Source-Freepik)

What is plantar fasciitis?

Weight gain is normal as the pregnancy progresses. This healthy weight gain modifies the stance (position of the legs while standing) to support the body. Causing pronation of the foot (flattening of the arch of the foot so that it touches the ground, causing the step to roll inwards).

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This gives an extra strain to the elastic-like structure in the bottom of the foot called Plantar fascia (which runs from heel bone to the base of toes) leading to small tears and  inflammation of the fascia. This is then diagnosed as plantar fasciitis.

How do you differentiate between plantar fasciitis and foot pain?

A person with plantar fasciitis presents with:

What can be done to relieve this plantar fasciitis pain?

Plantar fasciitis is a self-limiting condition which usually improves within one year regardless of the treatment.

The pain in the heel which develops during the pregnancy can be resolved with various mode of treatments, such as:

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How can physiotherapy help in plantar fasciitis?

As many treatment methods are contraindicated during pregnancy it is better to have expert advice before starting any treatment on your own. A physical therapist will assess your posture and guide you with certain exercises which are safe to be performed during pregnancy and go ahead with the other treatment procedures if required.

Ratio of postpartum women suffering from plantar fasciitis:

More than 2 percent of women suffer from plantar fasciitis, which is 2.5 times higher when compared to men.

What happens if plantar fasciitis is not treated?

If left untreated, plantar fasciitis can result in chronic heel and arch pain and scar tissue.

Pain may cause change in the  gait (walking pattern), which can further lead to complications in the hip, knee and ankles. The human body is a kinetic chain, which is why if one joint gets affected it is most likely for the other joint in the kinetic chain of the lower extremities to be affected too.

Hence, it is important not to ignore this condition and get it properly evaluated.

(The writer is Executive Physiotherapist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Bengaluru.)

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First published on: 25-06-2022 at 08:21:00 pm
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