Why be passionate about feet?

I have spent over 32 years working as a Podiatrist, treating the feet of the Sunshine Coast.

Many have asked why I choose to dedicate my working life to treating feet.

Most people see feet as nothing special and take for granted the special role they play in quality of life. Only when something goes wrong do they realise how important their mobility truly is. Something as simple as a corn or an ingrown toenail can make walking uncomfortable and miserable.

In fact, most people believe that podiatrists only treat your feet and the things that directly affect them. But that is only a small part of the picture.

More importantly, feet are an integral part of the locomotion system and play a critical role in keeping you mobile. Feet that are malaligned can have detrimental effects – not only on the feet bones and ligaments, but also in the bones and ligaments of the knees, hips and lower back. Feet are important for your future mobility and quality of life.

There are many things that can adversely affect how efficiently you walk, leading to chronic musculoskeletal pain.

  • Diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Diabetes and Peripheral Vascular Disease all damage your feet and affect your ability to walk.
  • Leg, foot and back injuries often affect the efficiency of gait, leading to exacerbated pain.
  • Poor musculoskeletal alignment in people with disabilities can dramatically affect their mobility.

As you can see, there are many factors that can contribute to the way you walk and cause pain in different parts of your body. This is why I am motivated to provide better ways of improving gait and minimising pain due to inefficient gait and poor posture.

In order to improve a person’s gait a Podiatrist will often prescribe orthotics or arch supports. These work with varying degrees of success. Almost everyone believes that supporting your arch or copying the shape of your foot is the best way to improve gait. But over my career, research has clearly shown that the best results are achieved by designing orthotics that facilitate the locomotion system rather than just providing support. In the last few years, we have dramatically changed our approach to prescribing orthotics, resulting in a far better outcome to resolving chronic functional pain. Today, our devices are highly engineered and designed to influence your nervous system and optimise your gait cycle, improving your mobility. The shape of your foot only has about 30 percent impact on the actual shape whereas your neural sensitivity has over 50 percent.

Research has shown our Sensokinetic devices are up to 20 percent better at improving functional performance when compared to standard, traditionally designed orthotics and arch supports.

Progress in this area is something I am passionate about and will continue researching and developing. Success in this area has the potential to impact the quality of life for many.