Primigravida Foot Anthropometric Effects on Foot, Posterior-Pelvic and Low Back Pain


1Harrison, K.D., 2Thomas K., 1McCrory, J.L., FASCM. 1Division of Exercise Physiology, 2Division of Physical Therapy, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV

Incidence of foot, posterior pelvic and back pain is increased during pregnancy. Furthermore, many women report changes in foot size during pregnancy; however these changes have not been thoroughly investigated. Purpose: To examine the effects of a first pregnancy on foot anthropometry and self-reported foot, posterior pelvic and low back pain. Methods: Eleven pregnant women (age: 28.7±4.2yrs height: 167.1±6.6cm) and 10 nulliparous controls matched to pre-pregnancy weight (age: 22.9±2.4yrs height: 164.8±4.6cm) participated. Following informed consent, foot length and width were assessed with an anthropometer. Arch index (AI) was assessed with an inked footprint obtained via an Aetrex Harris Mat. Arch Height Index (AHI) was measured with an Arch Height Index Measurement System. Rearfoot angle (RA) and pelvic obliquity (PO) were also assessed using digital photogrammetry and ImageJ software. Self-reported pain at the low back, hip and buttocks region, upper leg, knee, lower leg, and foot and ankle were obtained with validated VAS surveys. An ANOVA was used to compare results between groups (pregnant vs. control) and trimester (nested within pregnant group). For this prospective study, α=0.1. Results: Although mass was significantly different between groups and trimesters (Con: 61.5±8.1kg, 1st tri: 64.7±8.7kg, 2nd tri: 71.2±12.0kg, 3rd tri: 77.5±15.2kg; p=0.068), no significant differences were found in any measure of lower extremity alignment or anthropometry. Despite this, there were significant differences between groups in pain at the lower back (Con: 9.2±0.8, 1st tri: 9.0±0.8, 2nd tri: 7.7±1.9, 3rd tri: 7.5±2.1; p=0.081) and hip (Con: 8.9±1.4, 1st tri: 9.1±1.1, 2nd tri: 7.7±1.9, 3rd tri: 7.8±2.0; p=0.099), where 0 indicates worst possible pain and disability, and 10 indicates no pain or disability. Conclusions: Although no overall differences were found in lower extremity alignment, it is possible that individual biomechanical response to pregnancy is variable. Future research should investigate whether back, hip, and foot pain during pregnancy are more common in women who do experience changes in lower extremity alignment vs. those who demonstrate no changes.

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