Swollen feet and leg cramps are common side effects of pregnancy that tend to get worse with increasing weight gain. Now scientists at Brno’s Masaryk University have developed a line of shoes that alleviate these symptoms and prevent chronic joint problems.
Hormone changes and extra weight distributed in one part of the body during pregnancy place a burden not just on one’s back but also on one’s feet. According to experts at the Faculty of Sports of Brno’s Masaryk University, pregnancy hormones loosen the tissues holding the joints in the foot in place, which together with increasing weight puts excessive pressure on the arch, resulting in cramps, swelling and foot pain. They recently developed a line of shoes addressing this problem. The shoes contain inserts that provide natural arch support and in later stages of pregnancy hold the arch in its proper position preventing these problems from developing. The shoes have been tested on 30 pregnant women with excellent results. Kateřina Kolářová is one of the mums who tested them during her second pregnancy.
“I didn’t have these shoes during my first pregnancy and the discomfort was considerable. But in my second pregnancy my feet were no longer swollen and there was no sign of the leg cramps that I previously suffered. So I’m really happy with these shoes.”
The shoes are already on the market in a limited number and one pair costs around 1,500 crowns. Further tests are now being conducted on 100 women in the late stages of pregnancy at the request of the biggest Czech health insurance company VZP which says that with medical proof that they really work it is ready to cover the cost of these shoes for pregnant women.
Martin Zvonař, who headed the development project at the Faculty of Sports says it will not be hard to prove the benefits.
“Stimulating the arch and giving it natural support is extremely important during pregnancy because it prevents damage, prevents the arches from collapsing and apart from alleviating the pain and discomfort during pregnancy, the body snaps back to normal much faster after the birth, when the body’s hormones change and have a firming effect.”
Although these shoes were designed specifically for the needs of pregnant women, Martin Zvonař says that they should benefit overweight people as well. The team wants to take its findings further and produce a special line of shoes for people with diabetes.