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2013

Heel Pain, Plantar Fasciitis

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Posted by john under Health

Plantar Fasciitis, Heel pain is the common foot problem Podiatrists see.  Plantar Fasciitis can occur when a person increases their levels of physical activity or when the heel's fat pad becomes thinner, providing less protection to the foot.  It is also common from the time we reach our mid-late thirties are we start to lose some of the natural stretch in our tendons.

The Plantar Fascia (which is a tendon type structure) runs under the arch all our body weight rest on it whenever we stand. The combination of losing tendon stretch and years of walking makes Plantar Fasciitis a very common foot problem.

We have treated thousands of people with Plantar Fasciitis in our clinics over the past 17 years.  Here is what we found works;

  1. Morning massage, before standing, using Deep Heat.  This helps the fascia warm up and reduces micro tearing of the fascia upon weight bearing.
  2. Orthotics to reduce the strain on the Plantar Fascia.  There are specific orthotics that will do this and of course they need to be right for your foot as every foot is different.  There may even be an underlying foot function you have that is causing increased strain on the Plantar Fascia.  A Podiatrist has the skills to identify if this is the case.
  3. Afternoon massage, using Antiflam or Arnica, to reduce any inflammation that has built up during the day.
  4. Stretch the Plantar Fascia and Achilles tendon through the day.
  5. Strengthen the muscles within the foot that help to support the function of the Plantar Fascia.  There are specific exercise which will achieve this, a Foot Mechanics Podiatrist has been trained to demonstrate these exercise for you.
  6. Compression using the FS6 foot compression sleeve.  This product is a new technology which applies compression to the Plantar Fascia while you go about your day and while your sleeping.

Plantar Fasciitis will still take a few weeks to settle (sometimes a few months).  If needed there are further treatments available such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory tablets, serial strapping, cortisone injection and surgery.  As you can see these are much more invasive, fortunately we seldom have to progress people to these treatment options.

If you have Plantar Fasciitis, Heel Pain, and want to make contact with us to get it resolved you can click here.  We look forward to helping you.

December

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Posted by Tara

Preventing foot pain: Three considerations

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Posted by john under Health

Foot pains are common, but, here are 3 considerations to help prevent it.

The UK Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists conducted a survey which found that between 75% and 80% of adults have foot problems, including heel pain, blisters, corns, pinched nerves and ingrown toenails.

I recommend three considerations to help improve your chances of having comfortable, pain-free feet.1 2 3.jpg

1. Basic hygiene

Because we wear shoes, feet are out of sight and often out of mind.  Remembering your feet and giving them a little attention can go a long way towards comfort.

For example cut toenails straight across to avoid ingrown nails.  Apply a moisturizer for dry skin on your feet regularly.  Healthy skin helps to ward off bacterial and fungal infections on the skin that can become a problem.

2. Age-related changes

Foot problems tend to increase with age; this is often a simple result of wear and tear as our feet literally carry us through life.

The fatty pads in our feet and stretchiness of the tendons start to decrease from about our mid-forties. Wearing shoes which provide some cushioning and support to replace what is being lost is what drives the world of comfort footwear.

Medical conditions such as arthritis are also more common as we get older and have a large impact on the structure and function of our feet. These conditions may change the shape of feet and therefore change the style and size of footwear compared to what you are used to buying.  Good footwear options and good foot health knowledge are important for retailers to help people in this situation to get comfortable footwear.

3. Give your feet the support they need

Every foot is different, but is forced to fit into standard shoe designs and walk on hard flat surfaces.  Many foot and lower limb problems are a result of your foot having to compensate the way its wants to work in order to meet the demands of modern life.

Insoles and orthotics are used to help bridge the gap between an individual’s foot type and the standardized footwear and surfaces we all walk on.   Ziera foot-beds are well designed and help tremendously, and if further help is needed then this is where your local Podiatrist can be of significant benefit to your customer.  Podiatrists use their scientific knowledge of biomechanics to make custom orthotics which bridge the gap perfectly between an individual’s foot type and the standardized footwear and surfaces we all walk on.

Starting Your Podiatry Career in New Zealand

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Posted by john under Health

The week before last I was invited to AUT in Auckland to talk with the students about career opportunities for Podiatrists here in New Zealand.

I have employed new graduate Podiatrists every year for the past 17 years and have gained a unique insight into the transition from student to Podiatrist.

Every year the AUT Podiatry program produces world class graduates.  Recent capital investment into the student training clinic has further improved their access to technologies used every day by leaders in the profession.  This all helps build work readiness.

A key decision for graduating students is how much they will be paid.  This is a fair question given the time and money they have invested in gaining their degree.  We (New Zealand) are in a constant battle for talent with our close neighbors, Australia.  I am in Australia at least five times a year connecting with Podiatrists and other health professionals to stay in touch with the Podiatry profession and employment market there.  I do this so I know that Foot Mechanics attracts at least its share of the talent available by beating salaries offered over the ditch.

In addition to beating Aussie salaries Foot Mechanics provides world class support for team, and especially for new and recent graduates.  We match less experienced Podiatrists with Lead or Senior Podiatrists so they can learn from each other.  We provide the absolute best professional development through of seminars and annual conference.  Speaker in the last 12 months include Simon Bartold and Dr Angela Evans.

We have a really cool tool called “Compass” which helps all Podiatrists plan their ultimate day.  Compass asked you do choose the mix of patients you’d like to see, how many surgeries, biomechanical assessments, nail and skin appointments etc.  Then every month you get a report that shows you the actual mix of patients seen.  Our admin and marketing team them works with each Podiatrist to attack the mix of patients desired if this hasn’t been achieved. 

Of course no job is going to last long if you don’t like the people you work with, which is why we an internal communication system which is usually taken over on Fridays with nothing but fun.  We leave plenty of time at conferences and seminars to just relax with each other and have some fun.  Each year we finish off the year with a combined company wide Christmas function. 

So to sum it up, there are some great career starting and building opportunities here in New Zealand.  We have two positions available if you’re looking now.  If you’re interested in building a career with us but the time isn’t right now make contact and stay in touch for later.  A good way to stay in touch is through our FaceBook page or directly through our website.

Opportunities Now:

SEEK

TRADEME

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NYC Marathon 2013

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Posted by john under Health

The race was a welcome return for marathon runners as the previous year’s race was cancelled due to hurricane Sandy.

The winner of the 2013 NYC Marathon, Geoffrey Mutai, crossed the line in 2:08:24 in front of a record breaking 50,699 other competitors.  Geoffrey wears the Adidas Adios Boost when he races, a shoe which weighs just 7.8 ounces!

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NBA star Joakim Noah switching shoes to help with heel pain

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Posted by john under Health

Joakim Noah is known in the world’s toughest basketball league, the NBA, as a force to be reckoned with.  At least that is while he’s on the court.

The past two sessions have seen Noah riding the pine due to crippling heel pain. Professional athletes are often paid a lot of money to wear a brands footwear, but that footwear may not be the best for them.

This week Noah announced he will be switching to Adidas basketball boots in an effort to overcome the heel pain that has plagued his last two seasons.

The most common cause of heel pain is a condition known as plantar fasciitis, which is caused by small tears in the supportive tissue of the plantar fascia, running from the bottom of the heel to the base of the toes.

Shoe which may assist in the recovery of plantar fasciitis have features such as a 2cm heel height, strong stability in the mid-foot and good flexibility in the forefoot.  Brand which offer these features include Asics, Adidas and New Balance.

So it appears Noah has made a good choice in footwear to help him stay on the court this session. 

Foot Mechanics offers footwear advice to causal and elite athletes every week. Don’t underestimate the importance of having the right footwear.

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November

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Posted by john

Are your feet the cause of your back pain?

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Posted by john under Health

Earlier this year I attended the Australasian Podiatry Council Conference in Sydney, Australia. New research was presented there which drew a connection between pronated feet and lower back pain in woman. (read the research here)

The easiest way to describe pronated feet is feet that roll inwards at the ankles.  A picture is worth a thousand words in these cases so see the picture on our page about pronation for what a typical pronated foot looks like.

If your feet look like this and you have lower back pain (but have never actually injured your back) then the good news is that consulting a podiatrist may well help you. 

A podiatrist will first look to establish that you do in fact have pronated foot function.  If this is the case the Podiatrist will be about to offer you orthotics to slip into your shoes.  Orthotics are great for changing foot function and may be the solution to your back pain.

Orthotics must be prescribed for you; over-the-counter orthotics/insoles are not likely to help.  There are many reasons why a foot might function pronated and your podiatrist will address the reason why your foot pronates through a prescription orthotic.  (Think optometrist with prescription lens for your glasses, you need to get the right prescription for your individual eyes).

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What’s your reason for staying active?

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Posted by john under Health

Are you 19 and trying to make the All Blacks quad, or 85 and wanting to remain independent, or somewhere in-between?

During the course of my career as a Podiatrist I have seen many people with different motivations for staying active.  I have learnt that fixing foot pain is less about the pain itself and more about what the pain is stopping a person doing that’s important to them.

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Do you have hard to fit feet?

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Posted by john under Health

The right shoe fit is vital for foot health and comfort while wearing shoes.  With an infinite number of feet out there and an infinite number of foot shapes, getting the right fit may require some help.  Add to this that the human foot is a bio-mechanically complex structure.  It deals with forces in excess of your body weight with each step taken.  It must act as a cushion for your body at heel strike and then as an efficient lever to propel you forward as you walk.

Shoes come in different widths, sizes, depths, various fastening systems, styles, last shapes and made from a huge range of materials.  All these factors further increase the need for some exert knowledge on how to get the right fit.

That’s where a Podiatrist can really help!

My 7 steps to ensure my customers get the best possible fit.

1. Discuss.     The purpose for the shoes and any previous foot/fit related issues.

2. Observe.    Look at the feet and note shapes and contours at the heel, arch, forefoot and toes.

3. Measure.    Take measurements of width, length and depth.

4. Select.        Use my knowledge of different shoes to select a few models that may suit.

5. Fit.              Put the shoes on the customer so I get a feel for the fit and to ensure the insole and/or fastening system has been fitted to the foot correctly.

6. Watch.        Watch the customer walking in the shoes, not just standing.

7. Feedback. Ask for feedback about comfort, support and fit.  I make sure I ask specifically about comfort in the heel and arch areas as these are highly associated with overall perceptions of comfort.

Keep these seven steps in mind when your shopping for shoes.  Any retailer that’s following these steps (or similar) is probably very good at what they do and will be able to get you into well fitted shoes.

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Strengthening Exercises Do Not Redistribute Pressure Under Diabetic Feet

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Posted by john under Health

Plantar pressure (under the foot) is very important in diabetes, especially for those with neuropathy (loss of feeling).  Other research has found that there is a loss of strength in the low limb associated with increases in plantar pressure in people with diabetes.

This research looks into the flip side of that coin.  Can regaining strength in the lower limb decrease plantar pressures?

If you're short on time the conclusion from the research was:

Plantar pressures under the forefoot increase progressively over time in people with diabetic polyneuropathy, but in this study were not affected by strength training. Future intervention studies should take this increase of plantar pressure into account and alternative interventions should be developed to reduce the progressive lower extremity problems in these patients.

The full article from the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research is linked below.

Strengthening exercises for diabetics.pdf

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Sitting Is The New Smoking

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Posted by john under health

Stay active to be healthy doesn’t have to take over your life.  Just 30 minutes a day.

Research from Australia has found that for every hour sitting watching TV there is a 22 minute reduction in life expectancy.

Dr Michael Evans has a great 5 minute animation about the health benefits of just 30 minutes of exercise a day.

 

Watch the animation on our YouTube channel.

Medical journal with published research on 30 minutes a day of exercise.

Online newspaper "Stuff" reports on "sitting is the new smoking"

 

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NZ Sevens Adidas Fitting

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Posted by john under health

Foot Mechanics Podiatrist Gerrard Huck from our Tauranga clinic joined the Adidas team in fitting the world Champions, NZ Sevens team for their boots and footwear for the start of the 2013-14 competition.

This is Gerrard second year fitting the NZ Sevens players and brings a wealth of knowledge about the right footwear for eahc player and their foot type.

The NZ Sevens team is full of top althletes who are on a mission to win again this year, however Gerrard is also avalible very Tuesday afternoon at Smiths Sports Shoes store in Tauranga to help anyone who wants correctly selected and fitted footwear.

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October

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Posted by john