Healing my sole
21st May 2013
I can’t remember what sparked my love of shoes. Maybe it was my mum’s influence – when I was young, she had a pair to match every outfit. I stopped growing when I was just 11 and at only 5ft 1in (and a half!), heels became a necessity. I soon fell in love.
I’ve never counted, but I think I have about 150 pairs of heels, flats, boots and trainers. I realise some of you may disapprove but we all have our vices and one of mine is collecting shoes. When I presented Newsround, I used to get a lot of comments about choice of footwear so I started keeping my twitter followers updated using the hastag #shoecam. While I’m not a huge fan of shopping, I never get bored of browsing for shoes.
But this week, shopping for footwear has taken quite a turn. This is because I’ve been on the hunt for orthotics. Here's why: I’m 19 weeks pregnant. While I was lucky enough to escape severe bouts of morning sickness in my first trimester, I started feeling some pelvic pain in my second trimester. Every medical professional I mentioned it to put it down to the usual growing pains a woman can experience during pregnancy.
While I have never been pregnant before, this pain certainly didn’t feel normal. During one evening of agony, I started doing some research on the internet and realised my symptoms (groin pain, lower back pain, difficulty rolling over in bed, sciatica type pain, waddling, knee pain and tightness in the upper back) matched those caused by Pelvic Girdle Pain or Symphysis Pubis Dysfunciton.
It is a condition which causes pain in one or more joints of the pelvis. It is most commonly associated with pregnancy (I’m told 1 in 5 suffer from it), but can also occur women who are not pregnant and men too, sometimes as a result of injury or trauma. The pain is usually made worse by separating your legs, going up or down stairs or moving around in bed.
The next day, I went to see my GP and told him I suspected I was suffering with Pelvic Girdle Pain. He seemed familiar with the condition and told me to go and see my midwife to obtain a physiotherapy referral. While I waited for my NHS physiotherapy appointment, I decided to visit an osteopath who knew how to treat PGP/SPD – I didn’t want to deal with another month of agony without getting some professional advice. Having eased up on going to the gym and practising yoga and pilates, I was also very frustrated about not knowing how much exercise I should be doing.
As soon as the osteopath looked at my posture, she noticed I was more flat footed on my right side, setting off a chain reaction up my body. My flatter right foot was causing my right knee to role in further than my left, which in turn was causing the right side of my pelvis to tilt. I’ve always known I’m flat-footed but it had never caused me any problems before. The effect of pregnancy hormones relaxing and softening my ligaments meant I couldn’t ignore my flat feet any longer.
After some manual therapy, the osteopath advised to me start wearing some orthotic insoles (foot supports) inside my shoes to help even out my flat feet. She also advised me about what type of exercise I could do, said I should try wearing a maternity support belt and most importantly, told me to listen to my body. While there is no hard and fast cure for PGP/SPD, I’m so pleased there are things I can do to try to improve my symptoms.
After purchasing my new insoles, I took the liberty of trying out my own style of therapy – buying a new pair of shoes. These cute wedges are perfect for dashing around the World Triathlon Series circuit and Wimbledon this summer while still helping me reach the dizzy heights of an athlete! Buying them has certainly been uplifting – both mentally and physically!