The first six to eight weeks after having a baby are full of all smiles and tears, loads of
work and sleepless nights. I can clearly recall waking up in the middle of the night to my
6-week old baby girl’s heart wrenching cry. My biggest challenge was that I couldn’t
even get from my room to my daughter’s room, total 15 steps, without severe pain in
both my feet. Really?! The only thing that crossed my mind was “well, good thing I’m a
physical therapist.” Except, I couldn’t help but imagine how many other moms where
suffering from this or other ailments post partum. This by the way, was the start of my
very long journey to recovery.
I developed a significant tendon dysfunction, also known as posterior tibialis tendonitis
combined with achilles tendonitis that was causing the arches of both my feet to collapse
and a significant amount of swelling in my heels. I acquired flat feet from prolonged
standing while barefoot and weakness in my hips, abdominals and lower back that made
matters worse. I had piercing pain with walking or any amount of weight bearing for more
than 5 minutes. Even a walk around the block or to the park seemed impossible. I knew
this was due to my pregnancy and delivery, but it didn’t make it any easier.
It was important to consider the following, I gained approximately 30 pounds during my
pregnancy and during this time the added weight caused swelling in both my feet and
ankles. This swelling, although normal, along with the hormone “relaxin”, which
increases the elasticity of ligaments in the body to prepare for labor, creates instability
throughout the ENTIRE body. It didn’t help that I had hypermobility even before my
pregnancy. After I had my baby, I had post-partum swelling from an epidural injection in
addition to the swelling that was there previously. I was then sent home to care for a
newborn and the never-ending task of feeding, changing, burping etc. It was the
equivalent of running a marathon in addition to the triathlon you just finished. Except you
can’t really train for it and you are healing and completely exhausted. I wish I could have
counted how many times I squatted just from changing positions throughout the day. It
felt like 100, at least.
After weeks and months of rest and conservative treatment including ice, taping, in
soles, new shoes, myofascial release and stabilization/strengthening exercises I am
thrilled to say that I am feeling significantly better! It is now been 6.5 months since the
onset of my pain. I think if my feet could talk they would now say, thank you and for
crying out loud…it’s about time!
This story was the driving force for this site. I will be discussing several issues that may
arise pre and post partum from a musculoskeletal perspective and how to take care of
our bodies to prevent further injury. After my own experience and talking to several
moms I’ve realized there is not sufficient reliable information regarding this topic. Join
me on this journey and learn to take control over your body. Let’s be the most mobile,
stable and strongest mothers we can be for our children and ourselves. Cheers!