Your feet are more complex than it may seem, with 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments in each foot. Feet support alignment, propel your body forward, absorb shock, and adjust their shape to the surface you’re walking or running on.
Proper alignment allows your feet to carry out these main functions. When the feet are too flat, they cannot properly absorb shock, forcing the hip muscles and back to step in. A high arch prevents the feet from molding their shape to the surface beneath, which affects the positioning of your glutes and may lead to tighter pelvic floor muscles. Both issues affect knee and ankle health as well.
Just about every part of the body changes during pregnancy, including your feet. Swollen feet, or edema, may occur as the result of hormonal changes, fluid retention, and pressure on the uterus. These changes often cause the arches to expand or flatten, which in turn strain the pelvic floor muscles.
Pregnancy and childbirth affect your pelvic floor in different ways. For example, pelvic floor issues may develop from carrying the weight of your baby 24/7 and pushing during childbirth in a vaginal delivery. Cesarean deliveries can also contribute to pelvic floor dysfunction. For that reason, it’s especially important to take good care of your feet during this time and minimize the potential effects of edema on the pelvic floor.