HealthWatch: Shoes Designed To Ease Foot Pain For Expecting Moms

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New Life Shoes are designed to ease the pain of swelling for pregnant women. (CBS)

New Life Shoes are designed to ease the pain of swelling for pregnant women. (CBS)

CBS SF Bay (con't)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) – Many women complain of swollen and achy feet late in pregnancy, but now there is a line of footwear designed to address the needs of those mothers-to-be.

New Life Shoes are designed specifically to accommodate the changes experienced by late-term mothers.

Dr. Eugene Spector, Chief of Podiatry at California Pacific Medical Center, told CBS 5 the biggest foot problems he sees are swelling and a condition known as “over-pronation.”

“It comes mainly from a change in the center of gravity of the patient,” Spector explained. “The other issue is the relaxing hormones from being pregnant will cause the ligaments to stretch out, and the foot pronates more than it should.”

In an overly pronated foot, the heel bone angles in and the arch can flatten. Spector noted that the condition can lead to arch pain, heel pain and pain in the ball of the foot. He recommends pregnant women wear supportive shoes, shoes that breathe well and shoes that expand well.

“We start with over-the-counter supports going on to custom made orthotics (as needed),” he said.

That’s where New Life Shoes can help.

“It allows for expansion of the foot, both lengthwise and verticle-wise, so 360 degree expansion.” said Mark Connors, President of New Life Shoes. The shoes have five different layers of cushioning and support, and the layers are customizable. “You can put in or take out various pieces of the shoe to accommodate changes in the foot.”

Monica Allison, who is expecting her third child in June, likes the idea of a shoe that expands along with your foot.

“Both times my feet would swell up, and I usually have to go up a size in a shoe. I think this is a great concept. I have two young children who are very active. I want a comfortable shoe,” said Allison, who also likes the velcro strap that lets you put the shoes on with one hand.

In addition to an athletic shoe, other styles are in development, including Mary Janes and sandals. The shoes cost about $80, and they will be available on-line in mid-February.

“Wonderful idea,” said Spector, who believes the added support will help with the arch and heel pain. And, he adds, expandable shoes are particularly good, since you never really know what to expect when you’re expecting.

“Most of the people will go back down to their regular size – however, there are people who will end up with a larger foot. For women who buy a lot of shoes, that means a chance to go have a new wardrobe.”

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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