Are Thongs Bad for your Feet?

Depending on your age or where you live, you might know them as flip flops, jandals, BBs, pluggers, or thongs.

Whatever you call them, one of the most common questions we hear in our podiatry clinic is:  “Are thongs bad for your feet?”

Australians Love Their Thongs!

Here in Australia, our climate means that we appreciate convenience, coolness, breathability, and comfort, in our clothing and footwear choices.

Add to that our casual lifestyle and love of the beach, and you can see why thongs could almost be part of our national costume!

are thongs bad for your feet

But is our love of thongs actually doing us harm?

Common Problems with Thongs

Some people have trouble tolerating thongs over long distances or periods of time. This is usually because their calves are tight and shorter than normal, or they have less flexibility in their lower back. This is not the fault of the thongs, rather, it’s the individual’s unique anatomy.

We often see clients at our podiatry clinic, complaining of sore feet after taking a couple of weeks’ holiday. They may even blame it on their thongs, saying things like:

  • “The feeling between my toes makes me feel ill”;
  • “I had to claw with my toes to grip my thongs”;
  • “I think I alter my walking pattern in thongs, maybe that’s why my feet are sore?”.

In fact, the culprit is not so much wearing thongs, but rather, the sudden change in footwear.

In the working world, we tend to wear more supportive shoes such as steel cap boots and lace ups, t-bar or mary jane styles.

However when we are on holidays, we suddenly switch to thongs – and our muscles, ligaments and tendons are not conditioned to this completely different style of footwear. Our feet have to work harder when we walk in thongs, which can lead to muscle strain and pain.

Should I Wear Thongs?

Wearing thongs comes down to things such as your individual:

  • Fitness;
  • Lifestyle, and activities – wear enclosed shoes, with cushioned soles, and preferably lace ups that have been scientifically proven to give you the most support, if you are planning a big day of walking, for example;
  • Health – some diabetics have little to no feeling in their toes and feet, so we recommend closed in footwear to protect them from injury;
  • Mobility and flexibility;
  • Lower limb mechanics;
  • And of course, personal style choices.

Today’s Thongs

In days gone by, thongs were just flat pieces of rubber with straps – even now, if you can bend your thong in half in your hand, more than likely it is not doing much for your feet.

Are thongs bad for your feet? Like so many things in life, moderation is key. If you wear thongs a lot, make sure they are good quality ones. Look for a sturdier make, and for features such as molded arch contours, or a cup in the heel to stabilise and support.

At Trevor Lane Podiatry, we understand that wearing thongs is part and parcel of our great Aussie Aussie lifestyle, so we stock Orthaheel thongs for men, women and children, as well as Vionic Beach.

And here’s a little secret – you don’t have to be afraid to mention thongs at our podiatry clinic – because our podiatrists wear them sometimes too!

3 Surprising Reasons to See a Podiatrist

A podiatrist is a health professional concerned with treating ailments of the feet and lower limbs (although some still refer to them by the outdated term, chiropodist – which is still in common use in the UK).

reasons to see a podiatrist

Both “podiatrist” and “chiropodist” come from the Greek word “pod” – meaning “foot” – which forms the basis of our English words tripod, podium and antipodes, etc.

It comes as no surprise then that if you have problems with your feet – eg an ingrown toenail, corns and calluses, or a sprained ankle – a trip to your local podiatry clinic is a good idea.

However, you may be surprised by these three more unusual reasons to see a podiatrist:

1 – Back Problems

Our bodies are made up of a complex network of bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc. No one body part works in isolation; which is why if you suffer from back pain, a podiatrist – somebody who can diagnose and treat conditions affecting your feet – may be able to help.

If you are experiencing lower back pain, it could be that there is a problem with the structure and function of your feet – which is causing you to walk in a particular way, resulting in additional stress on your back.

As we age, years of poor biomechanics in our feet begin to take their toll and although we may never have had a problem before, all of a sudden we are plagued by backaches.

Conversely, if you are suffering from pain and discomfort in your feet, the culprit could very well be a problem in your back! The connective nature of the body means that you are experiencing what is known as “referred pain” – a problem with your back, is causing the symptoms in your feet.

2 – Diabetes

What does the level of glucose in your blood have to do with your feet? And how could a podiatrist possibly help?

When your body has problems with producing and maintaining your glucose levels, it can affect your feet in the following ways:

  • Diabetes can damage delicate nerve endings, causing reduced sensation in the feet. Have you ever had a blister develop when wearing a new pair of shoes? Ouch! A person with diabetes however, may not actually feel or even notice the blister. Although this sounds like a good thing, it can be dangerous especially when combined with the second side effect of diabetes, which is …
  • Reduced blood flow to the extremities. This means that a blister on your foot will take a lot longer to heal, increasing the risk of infection and serious problems.

For these two reasons,  your doctor will refer you to see a local podiatrist if you are diagnosed with diabetes.

3 – Before you take up running or a new sport

Yes, podiatrists treat injuries and ailments of the feet and lower limbs. Why would you see one before any damage is done?

It all comes back to that old proverb, “prevention is better than cure”.

Running and some sports (eg netball, football) place an incredible amount of force on the feet and lower limbs – a hard surface, speed, and sudden changes in movement and direction can all take their toll.

With 52 bones in your feet, 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles – you can see why there is a lot of potential for damage!

Your podiatrist can give you information and advice – from choosing the best running shoes for your needs, to warm up exercises – to help you reduce your risk of injury.

Although problems with your toes, feet and ankles are the most common reasons to see a podiatrist, this article details some of the more unexpected ones.

At our Redlands podiatry clinic, we treat each patient as a whole person, rather than just a foot! Call for an appointment on 3207 4736 or book a Redlands podiatrist online now.

What Age do your Feet Stop Growing?

People are often curious to know: At what age do your feet stop growing?

The story of how our feet grow and develop throughout our lives is quite fascinating – even if you’re not a podiatrist!

Rapid Growth in the Early Years

The long bones in our feet start to grow, and our toes start to form long before we are born – in the third or fourth month of gestation.

During the first year of life outside of the womb, our feet are primarily influenced by hereditary factors, as well as applied pressures – which is why it is important not to constrict your baby’s feet with socks, booties or shoes that are too tight or rigid.

Between birth and the age of 4, our feet double in length, with growth of up to 10mm per year. So if it feels like your child is outgrowing their shoes long before they wear out, this is why!

By the age of 10, about 90% of girls have completed the majority of their foot growth, compared to about 80% of boys. This means that even though your child may still be at primary school, they are likely already wearing “adult” sized shoes.

There are noticeable changes to foot length between 9 and 11 years of age.

As the school years are a critical time in the growth and development of feet, it is a good idea to read our guide to children’s school shoes and/or have them professionally fitted (a service we provide at our Redlands podiatry clinic, in addition to stocking a range of quality shoes).

when do your feet stop growing

When do our Feet Stop Growing?

Feet usually stop growing a few years after puberty. In girls, the “normal” age for feet to stop growing is around 14 years, while in boys, it’s around 16.

However the final closure of growth plates in the feet occurs between 18 and 20 years of age.

Although technically your feet stop growing when you are a teenager, in actual fact your feet will change size throughout adulthood.

How Feet Change During Pregnancy

A classic example is what happens to women’s feet during pregnancy, when shoe size can change as much as half a size or more. This is due to:

  • Pregnancy hormones relaxing the ligaments in the body in preparation for birth; and
  • Increased body weight, which in turn reduces the arch height, thereby increasing the foot length and width.

There may also be some fluid retention which leads to swelling.

How your Feet “Grow” in Adulthood

As you get older, your foot shape and size will continue to change even though growth has finished. This is because your feet will flatten out and elongate with age – it’s estimated that most people over the age of 40 gain half a shoe size every 10 years or so!

Weight also impacts on the size and shape of your foot. So if at the age of 20 you weighed 80 kilograms and wore a size 9 shoe, chances are slim that you will able to fit the same shoes when you are 50 years old, and weigh 100 kilograms.

It’s important not to get hung up about the actual number or size on the box, next time you need to buy shoes; instead, concentrate on finding the best fit. Not only can brands be sized differently, but as you can now see, the size and shape of your feet can fluctuate as well.

And remember – if you have any concerns about how your child’s feet are growing and developing, you can always make an online booking or call our Redlands Podiatry Clinic on 3207 4736 to make an appointment.

What is Digital Gait Analysis?

We have seen great strides (pardon the pun!) in the technology available to podiatrists over the past couple of decades.

digital gait scanner

We are all living longer and want the best possible quality of life – and modern technology can play a role in achieving this.

As part of our commitment to providing our clients with superior foot care, our Redlands podiatry clinic is equipped with the latest technology. By using a computerised gait scanner for example, we can conduct digital gait analysis to identify and prevent any potential issues, before they have a chance to negatively affect your mobility, health and wellbeing.

Digital gait analysis is particularly valuable as it can help detect potential long-term issues, which can arise due to conditions such as:

  • diabetes;
  • differences in limb length;
  • or even seemingly minor biomechanical flaws in your foot, ankle or leg.

What is a Computerised Gait Scanner?

The computerised gait scanner captures information about your gait (the way you walk) –  far more than can be seen by just observing you as you walk down a corridor.

This innovative diagnostic tool is comprised of around 4000 sensors, with a scan rate of approximately 300 frames per second, providing the podiatrist with a wealth of information that would otherwise be missed by the naked eye.

By capturing approximately one million points of data, acomputerised gait scanner allows your Redlands podiatrist to assess the actual pressure on specific areas of the sole, through each of the three stages of gait:

  • The heel strike phase;
  • Mid-stance – when your foot is directly on the floor and your body is directly above your foot; and
  • The toe off stage.

In years gone by, podiatrists had to rely on looking at the sole of your foot, and wear and tear on your footwear, to indicate any biomechanical flaws or problems.

Now, digital gait analysis can reveal any signs of overload in a particular area before it becomes a problem, and is particularly useful for a number of reasons.

digital gait analysis

Identifying Over Use Injuries

A lot of the conditions we see in our Redlands podiatry clinic are due to over use.

Over use does NOT mean that the client has done too much or too little. Rather, it may be that there is a biomechanical flaw in the way that the foot works in conjunction with the ankle, knee and back, and over time this repetitive strain, stress and excessive load takes its toll.

As a result that particular structure or affected area of the body becoming fatigued; when fatigue occurs, the chances of injury increase; and then the quality of life starts to decline.

Digital Gait Analysis for Diabetics

Digital gait analysis is just one of the ways a podiatrist can assist diagnosed diabetics, whose poor circulation and reduced nerve sensitivity can lead to a number of foot problems.

With our computerised gait scanner, your Redlands podiatrist can actually assess the loads under the various points of the sole of your foot. We know what is considered a normal load for a particular area on your foot – based on your foot size, the shoe that you’re wearing, the surfaces you’re walking on, and most importantly, your body weight.

If we diagnose overload, we can potentially prevent ulceration of the sole of the foot. Digital gait analysis allows us to detect any problems at a very early stage – long before you will even notice them – so we can prescribe an insole, orthotics, padding or shoe modification, to reduce that excessive load and prevent future complications.

We can help diabetic patients even when they have developed an ulcer, as we can still measure the load and then design a device or innersole specifically for that client’s foot, and their individual biomechanics. This will assist the healing process, reduce the risk of infection, and the risk of amputation – which not only has a huge impact on the patient’s life, but also places great strain on our health system.

Digital gait analysis is a valuable tool in the hands of a trained podiatrist. If you have any concerns with your feet or lower limbs, please make an appointment at our Redlands Podiatry Clinic, by calling 3207 4736 or you can book online.

Looking for a Podiatrist with Online Booking?

This month’s foot care tip is a little bit different to the normal.

It’s about how at our Redlands podiatry clinic, we are constantly looking for ways to improve, and better help our patients.

So we are excited to announce the launch of our online booking system, which allows you to make an appointment 24/7!

Redlands podiatrist with online booking

New Online Booking System

Now it’s even easier for you to book to see a podiatrist, for those times when your feet are in need of some expert attention.

Even if you are a brand new client at our podiatry clinic, you will love the ease and convenience of being able to make a booking online.

No matter what time of the day or night, you can make an appointment to see one of our podiatrists. You can choose a time and day to suit you, and even pick your podiatrist.

Book Online Now

Your Security Matters

Ensuring the security of your information is important to us, which is why we have invested in one of the best online booking software packages.

When you book online with our Redlands podiatry clinic, you should notice two things:

  1. the green lock symbol in the address bar;
  2. and the URL which starts with “https://”.

Make sure you always look for these two signs whenever you are making a payment online, or entering sensitive information such as your date of birth, passwords, and physical address.

signs of a secure online booking system

If you can’t see the green lock symbol, and the URL doesn’t start with https:// – do NOT enter your information, as the website is not secure and you are at risk.

The Best Podiatrist in Redlands?!

It’s no secret – at Trevor Lane Podiatry, we strive to be the very best podiatrist in the Redlands.

After all, we have not only been providing foot care in the Redlands for over 20 years, we:

  • are the only Redlands podiatry clinic providing foot mobilisation technique to help you achieve a full range of movement following injury;
  • use the latest technology (such as computerised gait scanning) in the diagnosis and treatment of any foot problems;
  • have both male and female podiatrists available;
  • stock a range of quality footwear, from school shoes to running shoes and even thongs, designed to support your feet in style and comfort.
  • are proud to offer friendly, personal service including professional shoe fitting;
  • regularly share helpful foot care tips here on our website;
  • and offer a secure online booking system.

So next time you need to come to our podiatry clinic, you can make an appointment quickly and easily using our new online booking system 24/7, or by calling 3207 4736 during business hours.

When Your Podiatrist Recommends Orthotics

What are orthotics and how can they help?

Orthotics are devices which are placed into your shoes, and are designed to adjust your movement pattern and so reduce discomfort and strain – perhaps in your feet, perhaps elsewhere in your body.

3d foot scan for orthotics

They may be used to treat a range of conditions:

  • to aid recovery from a sports injury;
  • to compensate for a difference between your two feet;
  • to prevent problems in the future;
  • or to relieve pain in your feet, knees and even your back (see my earlier article about podiatry and back problems).

There are orthotics for plantar fasciitis, orthotics for bunions and arch support, orthotics for heel pain, orthotics for running, orthotics for diabetics, knee orthotics, ankle orthotics, toe otthotics and orthotics for flat feet, to name just a few.

Seeing a Podiatrist about Orthotics

Before prescribing orthotics, your podiatrist will conduct a thorough assessment, and have an in-depth discussion with you, to gain vital information about:

  • your feet and how you walk. At our Redlands podiatrist clinic, we use the latest technology, including computerised gait scanning.
  • your weight;
  • your age;
  • your usual shoe style;
  • the surface you spend most of your day on;
  • your medical history (including any injuries);
  • your lifestyle.

Discussing Orthotics with Your Podiatrist

These are all taken into account so your podiatrist can recommend the best orthotics for your needs.

  • Will an over-the-counter orthotic suffice – or do you need custom-made?
  • What material should your orthotic be made of?
  • What will best suit your usual shoes and your lifestyle?
  • Is budget a concern?

What Type of Shoes Do you Wear?

Considering the combination of shoe and orthotic is critical.

The design and style of your everyday footwear has a direct influence on the type of support your podiatrist will recommend for you.

For example, if you work in a professional office and usually wear court shoes or dress shoes, this will restrict the size of the orthotic; whereas running shoes or kids school shoes allow for more design choices.

As a Redlands podiatrist for over 20 years, I know that orthotics that fit with your preferred shoe style are incredibly important. They may not be the most supportive device available – but experience tells me that the best results are gained when you actually wear your orthotic!

Another tip if you need orthotics: when purchasing shoes, look for those with removable liners, as this allows greater choice and selection of orthotics.

Cost of Orthotics

Orthotics range in price greatly, depending on the material type and functionality. The more expensive orthotics are custom-made, have more function, and offer the best quality in terms of technological innovation and material choice.

However once again, there needs to be a balance between offering a client the best orthotic for their condition, and what they can actually afford. Your local podiatrist should help you with a solution that ticks all the boxes: a good shoe, a good orthotic, and a good fit with your budget.

Type of Materials

Orthotics are usually made from materials such as EVA foam, polypropylene plastic, and carbon fibre, depending on whether it is a functional or accommodative orthotic device.

Different brands use different trade names for these materials, so a good podiatrist needs to be familiar with the various names and their equivalents, in order to prescribe the best orthotics for your needs.

orthotics Redlands

Functional Orthotics

Functional devices are often used for conditions which affect the body above the foot – such as ligament injuries; knee strain and lower back problems.

The more rigid the material, the further up the body you get the effect. Being more rigid, they have greater impact on the plane of movement which has excessive – or restricted – motion, and is therefore causing problems.

These rigid materials – eg polypropylene and carbon fibre are thinner; and because they are custom-made, functional orthotics generally cost more.

Your weight affects the thickness and rigidity of the material chosen for your orthotic. For example, for individuals less than 80kg, a 3mm polypropylene will generally be chosen; those weighing 100 kilograms will require a 4mm device; while heavier individuals will need 5mm.

Accommodative Orthotics

Accommodative orthotics are made of cheaper and less functional materials such as EVA foams and are usually molded to the entire length of the boot. Although they are cheaper, they are bulkier, meaning your shoe choices will be more limited.

Commonly prescribed for clients with Diabetes, Charcot’s, or high arch feet, they primarily provide comfort contouring of the foot.

They are most useful in treating problems in the feet themselves, while functional orthotics help with further up the body.

Why is Discussion about Orthotics so Important?

If you are unhappy with your orthotic, feel you have not been offered material choice, or don’t know why a specific recommendation has been made, I urge you to go back to your local podiatrist and to find out.

The staff at my Redlands podiatrist clinic know that the keys to achieving the best outcomes in the shortest possible time frame with orthotics, are making sure the client:

  • understands the reasoning behind their orthotic type and material,
  • is happy from an economic perspective.

We have found that this results in clients being more likely to adhere to their treatment program (which likely includes exercises as well as orthotics), thus achieving less pain, faster healing, and better quality of life.

If you have any questions, feel that you might benefit from orthotics, or would like to check out our range of orthotic-friendly shoes, call us today on 3207 4736.

Podiatry and Back Problems

It may seem strange to think of somebody going to a podiatry clinic, when they actually have a problem with their back.

After all, podiatry is the branch of medicine which diagnoses and treats issues related to the lower limbs – heels, toes, feet, ankles and knees.

And yet I see many patients complaining of heel or leg pain, for example, only to discover that the cause is primarily a back problem.

podiatry and back problems

The Connection Between Podiatry and Back Problems

When I was in Cubs and Scouts years ago, we used to sing about how the knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone, and so on.

We thought it was just a silly song, however in over twenty years of podiatry practice I have come to realise just how much truth it holds: the body is indeed a series of connective tissues, bones, nerves and systems, that all work in harmony with each other.

So when a patient is experiencing pain in the heels or legs, it may in fact be something called “referred pain”. That is, although they may not have pain there, it is actually a back problem which is causing the symptoms in their feet, knees or legs.

Conversely, lower back pain may actually be related to poor biomechanics of the feet. In such cases, a podiatrist may be able to address the back pain, by prescribing certain shoes or orthotics that improve your overall body balance.

How the Legs and Back are Linked

The lumbar region at the base of the spine consists of five vertebrae, which play a really important role in how we use our lower limbs.

So when a client presents at our podiatry clinic with pain in both heels, we not only check for conditions such as spurs, ligament or tendon damage – but we also need to consider the body as a whole.

It is extremely rare for a patient to have an identical injury in the same location on both feet at the same time. Instead, we usually find that there are lower back issues, or other pathologies such as:

  • thyroid disease;
  • osteoarthritis;
  • limb length discrepancies;
  • scoliois (curvature of the spine).

These conditions can put pressure on the nerves, which then refer that pain to whatever they innovate. The lumbar region, for example, refers pain to your legs and your feet.

A Whole of Body Approach

This is why a good podiatrist needs to assess your whole body, and not just your lower limbs.

Whatever we do to your lower limbs impacts on your hips, your back, and right up to your neck. When we treat foot pain, we don’t want it to cause an increase in lower back pain or headaches, instead!

So in addition to looking at your foot type, the surface you stand on, your shoes and how they are wearing – your podiatrist should also check things like:

  • Your body’s symmetry: are your legs the same length? Are your hips and buttocks level? Are your shoulders level or dropped to one side?
  • The condition of various muscles: are they tight, or weak?

Because of the way the various parts of our body are connected and impact on each other, there are times when we need to refer a patient to other allied health care professionals.

At our Redlands podiatry clinic, we have a great working relationship with some of the local physiotherapists, chiropractors, osteopaths and the like, to ensure the best of care for the whole of your body in these particular situations.

The Problem with Growing Older

could your back be causing your leg pain

No body is perfect and we all have alignment imperfections. However as we grow older, our body’s ability to deal with these alignment anomalies starts to falter, so symptoms start to appear.

Patients often ask me: Why now? When I was younger I never had this problem!

And that is exactly my point – the body is no longer coping with or compensating for a certain twist in the back, a short leg, a bow in the bone, etc.

So next time you visit our podiatry clinic, don’t be surprised if as well as considering your fallen arches, or sore achilles tendon, we also assess your whole body alignment.

At our Redlands podiatry clinic, we treat each patient as a whole person, rather than just a foot! Call today on 3207 4736 for an appointment, if you are experiencing foot or leg pain. 

Super Socks for Happy Feet!

I’ve been sharing lots of tips for happy feet here on the website – from basic foot care, to knowing what to look for in running shoes.

best socks for sweaty feet

But what about our socks?!

Wearing socks is just as important as the correct footwear, for the health and wellbeing of our feet.

I know, I know – socks just don’t look appealing with all types of shoes!

However, if you are participating in any type of sport or physical activity, wearing socks and shoes is essential.

Why Wear Socks?

We have numerous sweat glands in our feet, so socks are primarily worn to absorb sweat.

Socks not only help keep us (and our shoes) dry and comfortable – they also reduce our exposure to the bacteria which causes Athlete’s Foot.

And if that’s not enough to convince you to wear socks and shoes next time you go for a walk or run – they prevent foot odour as well!

But what are the best socks for sweaty feet? And which socks should you choose?

The market is flooded with fashion socks, sports socks, thermal socks, knee high socks, crew socks, compression socks, hiking socks, funny socks …

And there are so many different materials to choose from – the traditional cotton, wool and polyester blends, to the more extravagant silver-lined socks.

Have a chat with your local podiatrist, as they can definitely help.

At our podiatry clinic, we often recommend toe socks to our patients. They’re not just a crazy fad from the 70’s and 80’s – toe socks actually have many benefits!

Toe Socks Australia

Injinji toe socks

1 – Moisture management. By having each individual toe wrapped, the foot will be dryer and more comfortable than in traditional socks – which is especially important if you are hiking, running, or participating in any form of sport. Plus, it reduces the likelihood of developing infections, blistering and odour.

2 – Prevent Blisters. If you are a runner, you are likely wincing as you read this! The good news is, toe socks reduce the friction caused by your toes rubbing together, or against your shoes – and that means no more blisters.

3 – Sensory Feedback. Traditionally, distance runners wore toe socks to prevent blistering but also to provide them with valuable “sensory feedback”. The connection between our brain and our foot (and vice versa) is proven to receive more sensory stimulation with toe socks, than when all the toes are clumped together in one little bag. This is important as it allows the runner or athlete to direct their attention to a proper toe push off phase, during their strike.

4 – Total Foot Utilisation. Even if you are not into sports, toe socks ensure that your toes are properly aligned and splayed so that your body weight is distributed evenly. This allows your entire foot to be engaged as you walk. Toe socks optimise the biomechanics of your foot, and the sensory loop between your foot and brain.

When you visit your local podiatrist with any foot concerns, they will not only assess your biomechanics, but also your choice of socks and footwear, in order to make specific recommendations for your individual needs.

That’s why we now stock Injinji Toe Socks at our Redlands podiatry clinic.

Introducing Injinji Toe Socks

Are they the best socks for sweaty feet? We think so!

The design and construction of these socks is second to none.

In addition to  a seamless design for maximum comfort, Injinji toe socks keep your feet dry and cool thanks to a mixture of quality materials:

  • Cool Max – a moisture management fibre with wicking properties;
  • Nu Wool – a non-itchy Australian merino wool, which provides temperature and moisture control; and
  • Lycra – a flexible material with bio-directional stretch, for comfort and durability.

The Injinji range includes socks for different activities, eg running, hiking, work and business, each with different padding, thicknesses etc; and in various styles such as crew socks, knee highs and no show socks.

There is even a range of compression socks, perfect for boosting circulation in diabetics, and to relieve muscle fatigue in active people.

So next time you visit our Redlands Podiatry Clinic, talk to us about Injinji toe socks – they’ll make your feet smile!

How Can a Podiatrist Help a Diabetic?

With one person being diagnosed every five minutes in Australia, diabetes is an increasingly common problem – so how can a podiatrist help a diabetic?

Effective management of diabetes requires the support of a team of allied health professionals, not just your local GP – such as a dietitian, endocrinologist, and a podiatrist.

podiatry and diabetic foot care

Podiatry and Diabetic Foot Care

A podiatrist provides medical diagnosis and treatment for problems of the feet and lower limbs: swelling and ankle sprains, ingrown toenails, foot fractures, bunions, spurs, hammer toes, warts, corns and calluses, fungal nails, ulcers and cracked heels.

Upon being diagnosed with diabetes, your risk of developing foot problems rises significantly due to two common features of the disease:

  1. Reduced blood flow to the feet – which means any sores or other problems will take longer to heal; and
  2. Reduced sensitivity of the nervous system – which means the diabetic individual may not even notice pain or sores developing on their feet and lower limbs in the first place.

How can a Podiatrist help a Diabetic?

At our Redlands podiatry clinic, we have three podiatrists trained to provide diabetic foot assessment and diabetes foot care.

  • For those with type 1 diabetes, a diabetic foot assessment every six months is required.
  • For type 2 diabetics, the risk is slightly less, so an annual visit is recommended.

What is a Diabetic Foot Assessment?

As part of a diabetic foot assessment, your podiatrist will check:

  • The blood flow to your feet by recording the pulse rate in two places – on the top of your foot (the dorsalis pedis), and the inside of the ankle (tibialis posterior). Should there be any concerns about reduced blood flow, your GP will be notified and you will need ultrasounds and further investigations.
  • Your podiatrist will also check the sensitivity of the nerve endings in your feet. While you have your eyes closed, you will be asked to identify different sensations, such as sharp, blunt, hot, or cold. While most people take these sensations for granted, the nerves can be damaged by diabetes.

You can see why it’s really important for diabetics to take extra care of their feet: The decreased nerve sensitivity means that as a diabetic, you may not feel and therefore notice any sores or other problems; and the reduced blood flow means that the body’s healing ability is impaired.

As a result, if left unnoticed and/or untreated, sores, ingrown toenails and other problems can lead to infection.

Infection can cause serious health complications, such as ulcers and even lead to amputation of toes or feet.

is there a diabetes podiatrist near me

Is There a Diabetes Podiatrist Near Me?

At our Redlands podiatry clinic, we offer personal diabetic foot care to help you manage the risk of complications, by providing you with education and support around:

  • Foot hygiene and cleanliness;
  • Daily foot examination, to check for visual signs of broken skin, punctures, cuts and wounds, because you may not feel or notice them otherwise;
  • Cutting toenails correctly, to reduce the risk of cuts and infection;
  • Footwear. This is crucial for diabetics, as poorly fitting shoes can lead to blisters, corns, calluses and worse. At our Redlands podiatry clinic we can provide guidance on the type of shoe and features to look for; we even offer a professional shoe fitting service and stock a range of quality footwear.

Regular appointments with your local podiatrist, in conjunction with the care of your GP, dietitian and other allied health professionals, will ensure that any potential problems associated with diabetes can be detected early when it is far easier to treat.

If you have ever wondered, “Is there a diabetes podiatrist near me?” – then call our Redlands podiatry clinic today on 3207 4736. 

Netball Injuries Season is Here!

March heralds the start of netball season – and at our bayside podiatrist clinic, there is a sudden influx of clients suffering from netball injuries.

Netball is the most popular women’s sport in Australia, with around a dozen clubs based in the Redlands and bayside areas – at Alexandra Hills, Capalaba, Lota, Thornlands, Thorneside, Victoria Point and Wellington Point to name just a few.

netball injuries are part of netball season

However, there are still a lot of netball players out there, unaware of just how much a podiatrist can help – particularly if they struggle with frequent injuries.

You might be surprised that there are so many netball injuries when it is a non-contact sport – the high rate of injuries is due to other factors, such as the hard playing surface, the fast pace, and sudden changes in movement and direction.

3 Most Common Injuries in Netball

Sprained Ankle – By far the most common of all netball injuries is the ankle sprain, due to the large amount of jumping, landing and pivoting actions. These actions involve numerous structures of the foot – when you have an ankle sprain, the ligaments, muscles and tendons can all be damaged and compromised.

The best way to go about healing a sprained ankle is the RICE technique – Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate your foot for the first two or three days.

If there is serious purple, blue or black bruising – an x-ray is generally the next step, to allow for correct diagnosis and treatment. But if in doubt, or if you are finding that things just aren’t the same after a netball injury, talk to a podiatrist.

Jumper’s Knee – This involves the ligament which runs just underneath your knee cap, the patella tendon, and is one of the most common injuries in netball due to the high prevalence of jumping and bounding.

Should your knee/s become sore it’s important to listen to your body; pain is your body’s way of letting you know that there is an injury. Again, the recommended treatment is to cut back on the activity and  ice the region down. We are the only bayside podiatrist clinic using the foot mobilisation technique to help your foot, leg, knee and thigh to work in harmony, so that you are not only back on your feet, but playing netball again soon.

And, we can also set you up with the correct footwear to prevent further problems.

Achille’s Tendon Injury – Any athlete or professional sports person will tell you that damaging the  Achilles tendon is their most dreaded injury. That’s because it is the largest tendon in your body, and helps propel your body forward. It delivers all the energy stored in your calf, transferring it down your leg through the tendon and into the midfoot.

The location of the pain, the swelling, and the stiffness will determine what treatment regime a podiatrist will prescribe. Once upon a time it was thought that all Achilles tendon pain could be treated by stretching the calf, hanging your foot off a step, however that does not suffice anymore. Treatment now is prescribed specifically based on the location of the suspected injury in the tendon.

Preparing for Netball Season

There are a few things you can do to minimise your risk of sustaining any netball injuries this season.

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Footwear – The most important part of your netball uniform is your shoes. Make sure your playing shoes:

  • provide the correct level of arch support;
  • have plenty of cushioning to protect your foot from the impact of hard court surfaces;
  • and that the sole suits the playing surface – outdoor and indoor courts require different materials and grip of the outdoor sole. For indoor netball, look for something like the Dunlop Volley with its fishbone pattern; whereas for outdoor courts, look for sports shoes where the spacing between the grip on the sole is slightly wider apart, to give you more traction.

Check the age and integrity of your netball shoes – the traction layer, the midsole cushioning layer, the upper. For more tips, including when to invest in new shoes, check out my previous article on what to look for in sports or running shoes.

Correct fitting is particularly important in a dynamic sport like netball. You don’t want to have too much movement of your foot within the shoe, but at the same time you don’t want a shoe that is too tight as it can cause compression on the nerves.

If you are in need of new sports shoes, we recommend you visit a reputable shoe fitting specialist – or your local podiatrist – somebody with the training and the equipment for a proper fit.

Player Fitness – Netball is an extremely fast paced game, with plenty of repetitive movements such as catching, throwing, and jumping, all of which increases a player’s chances of chronic leg and arm fatigue.

As fatigue increases – if your biomechanics is poor – if your footwear is aged – the consequence is that your body is not as well protected as it could be. This then increases your chances of fatigue; and the moment you start increasing fatigue, your chances of suffering netball injuries are going up exponentially.

So increase your level of fitness with a mixed program involving cardio vascular fitness, muscular strength, flexibility and balance, as these are vital if you want to see out the season without falling victim to netball injuries.

Netball injuries are not 100% preventable, but if these little things can be addressed, it does play a huge part in a player’s longevity and enjoyment of the sport.

Our bayside podiatrist clinic offers professional fitting of sports shoes, and treatment for netball injuries involving the feet and lower limbs – call us today on 3207 4736 for personal assistance.