1. Tell me about your job as a podiatrist, what does it involve?
Podiatry is the medical science that deals with the feet and lower limbs. It is primarily divided into three groups the first is general foot care which involves nails, skin, corns and calluses, warts etc.
The second is wound care which involves the treatment of ulcers and wounds in the lower limbs, offloading these wounds and managing the care of the area as part of a health care team and finally there is bio mechanics which studies the way in which bones, muscles tendons, ligaments and joints interact with each other.
Within each of these categorised there is also Sports Medicine, Gerentology, Pediatrics etc. We do basic surgery under local anaesthesia in the clinic, generally on toes and toe nails and occasionally deal with trauma to feet. We also take out our fair share of splinters! So basically... I'm a health practitioner of the lower limb.
2. How would someone know if they need to see a podiatrist?
Anyone with pain or discomfort in the lower limbs can see a podiatrist. From ingrown toe nails to heel pain, knee pain to corns and calluses and everything in between, we can treat and look after you. So I suppose if you have a pair of feet, you will need to see us at some stage!
3. Can orthotics go in any shoe?
Not any shoe.... Thongs and open backed sandals are a big ask but most shoes...yes. I have had Qantas stewardesses who have to wear high heels put them in their shoes for work and may other place them into small court shoes. Modern orthotics, using state of the art technology are very slim line and can be accommodated into most shoes. Those who prefer sandals, shoe manufacturers like Birkenstock and Merrel have thongs or sandals with built in arch support and are great for summer. Of course we can also easily fit them into runner, hiking boots, RMs Fashion boots, etc etc!
4. What's your view on light weight running shoes?
That depends on your definition of a light weight running shoe! Every car needs a different type of tyre. You don't put an all terrain 4WD tyre on a Toyota corolla.... It is just not done, is dangerous and can lead to an accident. Similarly, there are feet that will do well in a light weight shoe and there are feet that need more structure. A marathon runner's definition for a short run is different from those of us who jog once or twice a week.
The foot, the activity and the shoe have to be married together to achieve the outcome. It is always best to buy shoes from a reputable shop with staff trained to fit shoes properly to the foot in need.
5. What should you look for in a shoe for kids while their foot is growing and considering different ages, i.e. pre-school, infants (K-2) primary etc?
We are the only species on the planet (besides horses) that wear shoes. Nature has designed our feet to function without footwear at all. The environment which we have built and created is the reason that footwear has become necessary. Given this fact, I tend to be a big advocate of minimal footwear in toddler and pre-school ages. If the environment is a safe one the child's feet and muscles should be allowed to develop without the support of a shoe. After all nature has been doing this for a lot longer then we have!
School brings with it new challenges. The environment tends to be more structured and so the shoe also needs to become more structured. A good set of school shoes is essential to this. Many parents bring their kids in with $30 school shoes from Target or Big W with problems that could have been avoided with a more appropriate shoe. There is no shoe your child will spend more time in this year than the school shoe so I recommend brands like Ascent, Clarks and Startrite as the go to brands for structure and comfort.
My kids are always fitted to Ascents which I find wear very well and the kids report are very comfortable. If they don't need to be in a "school shoe" then there are plenty of black runners on the market from Asics, Mizuno, Brooks etc . I always use two tests when buying new shoes. The first test I put the tow of the show in one palm and the heel in my other palm and I compress the shoe horizontally. The only place the shoe should bend is in the forefoot at the toe joint. In the next test, I hold the shoe with the sole of the heel in my palm and my fingers extending forward. I then press the heel. The heel should not collapse if the show is a steady and stable shoe. If parents use these two tests when they buys kids shoes and they pass then generally it is a decent shoe.
6. Any other great advice?
The only other piece of advice i would add is that a running shoe should never ever see its 1st Birthday regardless of how much wear it gets. When you buy it, lift up the foot bed, and write the date in black Artline. You shouldn't still be in them when that date comes round again!
I am a lover of running and for work I mentor and encourage people to make the most of their health and help them to achieve their goals.