Category Archives: Specialist Treatment

Winter is coming!

By | Specialist Treatment, Sports Podiatry | No Comments

The snow season is upon us.  Snowboarding and skiing  place  significant  demands on  the lower limbs so adequate strength and correct boot fit are essential  for a great season.

Get your boots right for the optimum comfort and performance in balance, edge control and power.

Pain or difficulty on a particular maneuver on the snow can be an indication that your boots are not ideal.

A good place to start is an assessment of your overall biomechanics including lower limb structure and function.  A proper assessment by one of our podiatrists Rohan Coull, who understands the specific movements and forces placed on the body during these activities will allow him to assess your posture and strength. He  will be able to prescribe an exercise/stretching regime tailored to your needs and possibly inserts, orthotics or boot modifications to assist in getting you pain free and back on the slopes in no time.

Rohan Coull can perform the same tests and assessments we use on national team ski races and snow-borders that help them to perform at their best. Rohan has lived in the snow, run the Mt Buller Foot Clinic, taught the Masterfit Boot Fitting program and has three boys who have been on Australian Alpine Teams.

Arthritis and Your Feet

By | General Foot Care, Specialist Treatment | No Comments

Arthritis is an inflammatory condition that can affect any joint in the body. There are many forms of arthritis and the more common forms include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is common in older people and results from general wear and tear of the joints over time. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition where the body ‘attacks itself’ causing the joints to break down.

Arthritis can lead to pain and stiffness of the joints and in severe cases can prevent participation in daily activities or even impact on walking.

Symptoms of arthritis include:

  • Pain and swelling of the joints
  • Presence of redness or inflammation around the joints
  • Tenderness when pressure is applied to the joint
  • Increased pain and stiffness in the morning or after long periods of rest
  • Difficulty walking due to the symptoms listed above

Currently there is no cure for arthritis however there are many treatment options available to slow the progression of the disease and to minimize the pain and discomfort allowing individuals to continue on with their daily lives.

Treatment for arthritis in the foot and lower limb can include:

  • Weight loss to minimize stress placed on the joints
  • Modification of activities to lower impact activities such as cycling or swimming
  • Supportive and correctly fitting footwear
  • Orthotics

Your Podiatrist will carefully assess the severity of the condition and can recommend appropriate footwear. This can allow problem joints more room, reducing the risk of other injuries such as blisters, corns and callouses that can be caused by shoes rubbing on swollen areas.

Orthotics can also be specially made to provide your feet with extra support and to give you more stability, making it easier to get around. There are also exercises you can do to help keep the joint moving, which will help relieve the stiffness and pain you may be experiencing. These treatments can greatly improve the quality of life, general comfort and mobility for a patient suffering with arthritis.

Sever’s Disease

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Heel pain in kids is one of the more common pathologies seen in the clinic. There are many different causes of heel pain in kids. Such as Heel stress fractures, bursitis, tendinopathy yet Sever’s Disease is by far the most common.

Sever’s Disease is not actually a disease; it is in fact “growing pains” in the heel. It is usually seen between the ages 8-14, and is more common in boys than girls. It is caused by inflammation of the growth plate in in the heel. It usually occurs during a growth spurt and is exacerbated by activity and generally settles with rest. Sports that involve a lot of running, jumping and sprinting tend to make the pain worse. Pain can be experienced during and/or after periods of activity and can last for some days after.

It is important to get an early and accurate diagnosis of the source of your child’s heel pain as there are many different causes. Once diagnosed, early treatment will, in most cases settle the pain quickly. Treatment is varied depending on severity of pain, child’s age, activity levels and sports played. Treatment can include:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Footwear changes
  • Exercise variation
  • Inserts of various types of shoes

Sever’s is a tricky injury as it can continue to cause pain and problems in your child as they grow. Having the tools to be able to manage their pain until their foot stops growing, and thus the pain settles, is very important.

Orthotics at Melbourne Foot Clinic

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The foot is home to numerous bones, muscles and ligaments which are designed to perform a variety of complex functions. Feet should be able to absorb shock, facilitate balance and carry you through your day. Without the right support and alignment people often experience pain. When this is the case you may need the help of an orthotic or insole to balance everything out again.

Our team of podiatrists are experts in providing orthotic therapy to all age groups and activity levels. We often use orthotics in the treatment of ‘flat feet’, plantar fasciitis and arch, ankle, shin and knee pain.

There are many different types of orthotics available at our clinic from “off the shelf” to custom foot orthotics and your podiatrist will discuss with you is the best fit for your feet and activity level.

When making custom foot orthotics, we take over 40 minutes performing a full biomechanical and gait assessment, before taking a plaster impression of your feet. This enables us to design the most appropriate device for your needs. There are many different materials and styles of orthotic that can be used to make your orthotic as “hard” or “soft” to provide the best level of comfort for your feet. There are also many different styles that can be tailored to fit in various styles of shoes.

At our clinic we have the ability to make adjustments and additions to your orthotics on-site. At your fitting appointment, we make sure your orthotic fit properly and are providing the support your feet require.

During the process we work with our patients to develop detailed rehabilitation programs and stretching regimes to best facilitate your feet function. Our podiatrists have an extensive knowledge of footwear appropriate for your orthotics that are not only functional but also fashionable.

After your orthotics have been issued we schedule a review appointment in 4-8 weeks to ensure that your feet are now functioning as expected, you are comfortable wearing your orthotics and answer any questions you may have.

If you have any questions or you would like to make an appointment please contact our clinic on (03) 9890 2212 or alternatively make an appointment online.

School Shoes – The Perfect Fit

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School Shoes are an important fit to get right as kids can take up to 16,000 steps day.

Things to look for in a good school shoe are:

  • Leather upper and quality stitching to provide good durability
  • Rubber sole to increase shock absorption and durability
  • Leather lining to allow for breathability
  • Shock absorbing midsole to protect the foot during high impact activity
  • Flexible forefoot to allow for adequate bending (required by the foot when walking)

It is important to remember that just because a shoe goes on without protest doesn’t make it a good fit. Get shoes correctly fitted by shoe specialists.

It is also important not to buy school shoes too big to allow ‘growing room’ as an incorrect fit can lead to tripping and injuries, especially if the child is running around. Having said that a small amount of growing room doesn’t hurt especially if an insole is added and this can usually be fitted into the shoe at the shoe shop when purchasing.

Don’t forget that if you have any queries or concerns come and visit one of our podiatrists to have your child’s feet assessed. Early detection and treatment for childhood foot conditions can go a long way in reducing functional problems later in life.

Heel Pain

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Heel pain in adults is one of the most commonly presenting complaints to our podiatrists, with the most common cause being plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a ligament that connects the heel to the ball of the foot. Under normal circumstances, your plantar fascia acts like a shock-absorbing bowstring, supporting the arch in your foot however if tension becomes too high, damage may occur. It can affect one or both heels and usually occurs without a history of trauma.

Pain is usually felt on the underside of the heel, and can present as a stabbing pain. Pain is often most intense with the first steps of the day or after rest.  Once your foot limbers up, the pain of plantar fasciitis normally decreases, but it may return after long periods of standing or after getting up from a seated position.

Factors that may increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis can include:
Age: common between the ages of 40 to 60
Certain types of exercise: those that place a lot of stress on your heel (e.g. dancing and running)
Poor foot mechanics: being flat footed, having a high arch or even an abnormal walking pattern can  place extra strain on the plantar fascia
Weight: overweight individuals have extra pressures going through the fascia
Occupation: those that have you standing or walking around for long periods

Initial treatment often includes gentle stretching of the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia, weight loss, taping for arch support and the possible prescription of heel lifts. Care should also be taken by the patient to wear supportive and stable shoes; open-back shoes, sandals, thongs, and flat shoes should be avoided.

Long term treatment can include the use of orthotics, night splints, exercise and stretching regimes. For more persistent cases cortisone injections or surgery may advised.

Diabetes Management

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Diabetes is an increasingly common issue in our society with more than 100,000 Australians having developed the condition in the last year. Diabetes can affect both the blood and the nerves and the most common complications involve the eyes, kidneys and feet.

Over time diabetic individuals can become neuropathic and loose feeling in their feet. This can be problematic as they are often unaware of pressure points, rubbing and foreign objects (such as stones in their shoes) which if left unattended can cause lesions in the skin. With inadequate blood flow to the region these can develop into ulcers. Regular care and foot checks are vital for maintaining foot health.

Some tips for caring for your feet at home include:

  • Check feet each day for redness, swelling and heat (these may be signs of infection)
  • If you have trouble seeing your feet use a mirror on the floor to check the soles of your feet
  • Use your hands to feel your feet to check for anything abnormal
  • Make sure you wash and dry your feet properly on a regular basis
  • If excess moisture occurs between toes you can use methylated spirits to dry the feet
  • Check your shoes for foreign objects or wear and tear before putting them on

Foot problems can be avoided if you take care of your feet and act quickly when you have a problem. Get your feet checked at least once a year by a doctor or podiatrist to detect problems early and help prevent complications.