Summary of Chapter 21
There is no foot so small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.– Unknown
Melissa, a Wall Street executive, came to see me when she was expecting her second child. Though she’d only gained 22 pounds during her first pregnancy, she gained 70 pounds with her second. This time around life was more hectic. As the main breadwinner in her family she couldn’t scale back her work schedule; in fact, she still had to travel frequently and attend several business dinners each week. Besides often being on her feet for work, Melissa had to run after a toddler and was having trouble sleeping. Having exercised all her life, she now found it challenging to workout while pregnant, exhausted, and extremely busy.
When Melissa went to her OB/GYN concerned about her swollen, aching feet, he chastised her for her weight gain and told her that her feet were the least of her worries. “You’ll never lose all that weight,” he said to her with a smirk. “You’ll be plump and large all your life.” Horrified and embarrassed, she left his office in tears.
That’s when Melissa came to me. Once she told me this story, along with a rundown of her busy life, my heart went out to her. I knew how difficult it was to be pregnant, on your feet, working, and a major financial contributor to your family. I’d been there and I wanted to help.
Beneath the extra weight she’d gained, the 38 muscles in her foot were asked to do more than ever. She had pain at the heel (which was plantar fasciitis), tremendous spreading of her arches, widening of her feet and swelling (edema) so severe that when you pressed her skin the indention would stay there for at least 20 minutes. She also got leg cramps.
Some women sail through pregnancy with basketball-sized bellies, barely gain weight anywhere else, deliver their babies with ease, and shed any extra pounds just weeks post-partum. But for most women it doesn’t work that way. Pregnancy brings many changes to our bodies that affect us literally from head-to-toe. Yes, you expect that your stomach is going swell, but your feet and lower legs can change, too. In fact, a study in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation reports that pregnancy may permanently increase the length and width of women’s feet. The researchers from the University of Iowa suggest this may be the result of the weight gained during those nine months and the fact that joints become looser at this time, too. Here are some of the things that can happen to your soles when you’re a mom-to-be.
In this chapter of My Feet Are Killing Me Dr. Levine helps you with the most prevalent pregnancy issues of the feet:
- How does pregnancy affect your feet?
- Can you be pregnant in heels?
- Flattened arches
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Toenail issues
- Foot and leg cramps
- Varicose veins
- Creating a strong core
- Real Patient Recap: The Best Revenge is Looking Good! Dr. Levine’s postpartum patient gets the last word.