If you’ve discovered you have fallen arches following pregnancy, you’re not alone. A new study appearing in the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation concluded that fallen arches are essentially a given following pregnancy. While your first pregnancy might produce the most drastic changes in arch height and solidity, each subsequent birth will have an impact on arches. Women (who already face higher risks for musculoskeletal disorders) should know the facts about postpartum foot conditions in order to avoid discomfort and reduced mobility.
Seeing the Proof
Researchers noticed a slackness in the arches while women were carrying children. This softening leads to the eventual reduction in the height of arches, which are in essence tendons grouping together for support. Once the height and slope disappears, you are said to be flat-footed (no longer a reference to a police officer known for pounding the pavement). Foot pain and joint pain can result, meaning you will find yourself searching for relief following pregnancy, a time typically difficult enough to handle.
There Are Solutions
Finding yourself with fallen arches following childbirth is not the end of the world. Though research aimed at reducing the amount of height lost during pregnancy is being conducted, the best approach now is reacting to the damage at hand. Your podiatrist will be able to affirm if you indeed have fallen arches. Once the condition is confirmed, podiatrists could recommend whether any treatment is necessary. Treatments may include exercises, physical therapy, medication or mechanical support. If these treatments do not work, surgery is a possibility that may be explored.
A Study of Great Relevance
The research team behind this study clearly wanted to highlight health issues women face following pregnancy. Getting back into a sound physical condition is an important part of the recovery process. Ask your podiatrist how to approach this issue of fallen arches, which almost definitely will come into play. Whether orthotic devices do the trick or another remedy is suggested, you are bound to feel better and be able to approach your activities with your full strength behind you. After all, with youngsters soon to be on the loose at home, you’ll need to be chasing after them at your fastest foot speed!
Source: SegalNA, Boyer ER, Teran-Yengle P, GlassNA,HillstromHJ, Yack HJ: Pregnancy leads to lasting changes in foot structure. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2012;91:00Y00.