How Physical Therapy and Proper Footwear can help correct post-partum pain and the dreaded Plantar Fasciitis.
By Melissa Baudo Marchetti, PT, DPT, SCS, MTC
Pregnancy places high demand on the musculoskeletal system and can be very traumatic for some women leaving them with myofascial pain, internal pelvic pain, nerve pain, diastasis recti (a gapping in the abdominal muscles), weakness in the core from a C-section, neck and shoulder pain from holding baby, and in my case Plantar Fasciitis.
In December, after a five-year journey to motherhood, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Prior to my pregnancy, I was a jogger and participated in high-intensity interval training 2-3 times per week, which also incorporated running and sprinting. As the baby started to grow, I dealt with low back pain, right hip pain and nerve pain that went down my right leg, making it difficult to even walk some days. Since giving birth, some of that pain persisted with the constant bending, lifting and holding the baby. In my attempt to get outside, burn some calories to help lose some baby weight, and firm up those mushy muscles, I started walking in my neighborhood for one hour per day while pushing the stroller. Well, all my professional training as a Physical Therapist (PT) went out the window…I didn’t warm up or cool down with stretching like I tell all my patients and my foam roller was getting dusty…I just went out walking my hilly neighborhood pushing a stroller and a baby and BAM…I had heel pain. I woke up one morning, put my left foot down as I got out of bed and could barely stand on my heel. The dreaded Plantar Fasciitis. I hobbled around the house. I started self-treating with stretching, massage, and ice, which didn’t really help much.
As a PT, I have treated Plantar Fasciitis for over 15 years, so I knew exactly what I needed to do:
1) I would seek care from my fellow PT at One on One Physical Therapy, and 2) pick up a new pair of running shoes from Big Peach Running Co. so my feet would be properly supported again.
Physical Therapy has evolved so much in the last two decades. Gone are the days of just watching someone do a series of exercises they can do at home and counting off the repetitions. PTs are trained in advanced skills like Triggerpoint Dry Needling to treat musculoskeletal pain. Dry Needling, while a little uncomfortable, is highly effective and can rid the body of pain in as little as one treatment. PTs are also trained in various methods of manual therapy such as spinal and joint mobilization and soft tissue mobilization, which compliment the dry needling to restore normal joint and tissue mobility so you can move pain-free again.
So, I had now become the patient. I had one of my colleagues perform dry needling to my back, lower leg and foot, which helped dramatically. The muscles in the foot originate in the lower leg and calf, so to optimally treat Plantar Fasciitis, the muscles of the lower leg, calf, AND the muscles in the foot ALL need to be treated. The next morning I was able to put at least 50% weight on my foot. I performed specific stretching and tennis ball compression to the muscles of my lower leg. I complimented my treatment with a full body massage with one of our amazing massage therapists at the clinic. Within one week, I was back on the road walking without heel pain. Gone are the days that you have to struggle with Plantar Fasciitis for months and years. PTs have powerful tools to treat this condition and many more with just a few sessions.
Pregnancy puts pressure on your vascular system, which caused a lot of swelling in my feet. My feet hurt a lot so I pretty much lived in my running shoes, which caused a lot of excessive wear. The staff at Big Peach Running Co. are so knowledgeable and professional. They listen to each individual and analyze gait and foot strike on the treadmill to ensure an optimal shoe fit. I am happy to say I am back on the road with the baby and a new pair of running shoes!
Whatever you are struggling with post-baby, even if your children are now grown, there is still help available. PTs are experts in musculoskeletal and myofascial pain. We incorporate a comprehensive and functional approach to get you pain-free and restore your normal movement. The professionals at Big Peach Running Co. are experts in shoe wear. So, before you take those anti-inflammatory medications or just think you have to deal with the pains you are feeling, contact your local PT and visit your local Big Peach Running Co. Motherhood is hard enough, so let us help you get your body back so you feel great again!
Dr. Baudo Marchetti is a Board Certified Sports Clinical Specialist at One on One Physical Therapy, a multidisciplinary private practice in Atlanta. She teaches a Sports Physical Therapy course and assists in teaching orthopedics within the Division of Physical Therapy at Emory University. She has a whole new perspective on post-partum care after the birth of her son.
Learn more by visiting One On One Physical Therapy or email Dr. Baudo Marchetti at Melissa@onetherapy.com or call 770-500-3848.