Foot pain affects 1 in 5 people.
Whether it’s hobbling in the morning, or sharp pain in your feet, podiatrists and physiotherapists are both dedicated to helping you perform at your best.
But to answer the question of who is the best to see, perhaps we should explore what both podiatrists and physiotherapists do.
What is a Physiotherapist?
A physiotherapist is a person qualified to assess, diagnose, treat and prevent a wide range of health conditions and movement disorders by physical methods such as movement and exercise, manual therapy, education and advice.
Physiotherapy treatment helps repair damage, reduce stiffness and pain, increase mobility and improve quality of life.
What is a Podiatrist?
A Podiatrist is a person dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of medical and surgical conditions of the feet and lower limbs.
Podiatry treatment also helps repair damage, reduce stiffness and pain, increase mobility and improve quality of life.
And, while there are things a physiotherapist will do that a podiatrist won’t do (basically anything not to do with the feet), a podiatrist will also help with the following:
- Removal of corns, callus and other painful lesions
- Diagnosis and treatment of skin disorders
- Administration of local anaesthetic
- Surgical treatment of ingrown toenails
- Gait (walking) assessment
- Provision of customised orthotics (shoe inserts)
Podiatrist or Physiotherapist?
Given that we walk on average 128,000km throughout our lifetime (that’s enough to go around the earth 4 times!), healthy feet are an important part of your overall well-being.
The best outcomes occur when physiotherapists and podiatrists work together for the overall benefit of the client.
Scenario 1: Physio to Podiatrist
If someone rolls their ankle it might be a one-off incident, in which case the protection, management and rehabilitation is often performed by a physiotherapist. That’s why most sports teams have a physiotherapist on their roster.
However, if the same person frequently sprains their ankle, they might be referred by the physiotherapist to a podiatrist to look further into how the foot is working, and other factors that might be contributing to frequent ankle sprains.
The client will have their foot mechanics and walking assessed, and they may be prescribed orthotics or specific foot mobilisation and strengthening to solve the problem.
Scenario 2: Podiatrist to Physio
A podiatrist who is helping a client with chronic heel pain finds that there are factors from higher up contributing to the pain, such as gluteal weakness, hip rotation issues and core stability problems.
The podiatrist will refer to the physiotherapist to help uncover the cause of the problem that may be higher up in the body, and prescribe exercises to release and strengthen the area.
Together, the client has a much better chance of a successful outcome.
So, while both physiotherapists and podiatrists will both provide taping for sports injuries, massage and mobilise feet, and assess posture and gait, it’s important that your physiotherapist and podiatrist are both working together for the best outcome.
Still unclear on who to see?
If you don’t know who to see for your foot or ankle injury, try this:
- See your physiotherapist for an acute injury where you know the cause.
- See your podiatrist for foot pain that doesn’t go away and you don’t know why.
Okay so perhaps it’s not supposed to be as simple as that (Angry health professionals alert!)
But contrary to what some might say, in a lot of cases one person cannot do it all.
It’s best when both your physio and podiatrist are working together for your benefit.
Start with who you know. If you already have a physiotherapist or podiatrist, ask them who they think you should see.
Then ask them to recommend the best treatment plan for you.
That’s how you’ll get the best outcome.Ask your health professional to recommend the best treatment plan for you… including who else to see. Click To Tweet
At Posture Podiatry, our podiatrists work together with physiotherapists all over Adelaide to help you get the best outcome.
If you have foot and ankle pain, heel pain, or arthritis, there is hope.
Does foot pain stop you enjoying life?
Do you get aching pain after resting, or sharp pain in your feet when walking on them?
Have you had to give up what you enjoy because of pain?
At Posture Podiatry we have seen thousands of people who are frustrated because foot and ankle pain is holding them back from life.
Do you have any of the following conditions?
- Heel Pain / Plantar Fasciitis
- Sharp pain in your forefoot (Neuroma/Metatarsalgia)
- Hammer Toes
- Aching arches
If you are suffering from any of these problems you need to know that there is help available.
Pain medication could be making things worse
Pain is the warning sign telling you to stop.
Some pain medication lets you keep going, but pills don’t fix the real problem.
In fact, if you keep taking pills you could be more likely to do things that cause more damage.
Foot and Ankle pain is not just “Old Age”
If that was true, then every part of your body would be painful… because everything in your body is the same age!
Pain is normal, but pain that doesn’t go away is not normal.
Finding the problem and fixing it has to be the top priority.Pain is the warning sign telling you to take a break. Click To Tweet
You don’t have to wear ugly shoes or bulky insoles to fix foot pain.
You must find the true cause of your pain to be able to treat it effectively.
The good news is there is a solution.
Your body has a remarkable ability to heal itself; it sometimes just needs a little help.
Here are 4 things you can do for yourself.
- Massage: You can condition your muscles by massaging the painful area
- Simply rub the area, kneading the tight muscles.
- Roll your foot over a tennis ball or golf ball
- Remember that your pain may be referred from other areas, so massage all over
- Mobilise: You need to mobilise tight joints to promote better movement.
- Write the ABC’s in the air with your toes, moving only your feet and ankles
- Gently move tight joints through their full range
- Stretch: Increase your range of movement
- Calf stretches or Plantar fascia stretches can help release tension as well
- Strengthen: Improve your ability to cope with demands of daily life
- Simply walking on soft sand, or picking up a towel with your toes can help to build strength in your feet
Here’s how we can help:
Posture Podiatry is a podiatry clinic located in Kent Town, just outside of the city of Adelaide, South Australia.
Our podiatrists use a 3-Step system for uncovering the true cause of pain, without drugs or surgery.
How many people feel they could perform better, achieve their goals and enjoy life without pain holding them back?
- We take a complete history, and take the time to really listen to your concerns.
- Our Podiatrists complete a full assessment, and explain the situation so you have a complete understanding.
- You are treated as a real person, and we tailor a plan for you.
Posture Podiatry is an award-winning, Accredited clinic with convenient parking, experienced podiatrists and on-time appointments.
Preventing Falls, Improving Balance
Good shoes can give you the grounding you need to help with balance and also help prevent a fall.
Every year, more than 1 in 3 older people will have a fall, and the likelihood of a severe injury increases with age.
Falls can happen to everyone, but one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent a fall is to change the type of shoes you wear.Seniors are often not wearing the right shoes which can cause problems with balance. Click To Tweet
Your feet are like reference points on a map, and without good mobility, strength and grounding you may find yourself heading in the wrong direction.
Good shoes can help keep older people grounded.
What to look for in a good shoe:
Active seniors need to choose the right shoe for the job. They should be lightweight, secure on the feet, and comfortable.
If you’re of mature age, here are some questions you can ask yourself to check if shoes are right for you:
- Do the shoes fit well? Your shoes should be secure around your heels, and have space at the end of your toes
- Are they enclosed and comfortable? Purchase shoes when your feet are feeling their worst – late in the afternoon. Make sure they’re enclosed and comfortable.
- Do they bend at the ball of the foot? They need to be flexible at the ball of your foot, but rigid under your arch
- Do the shoes have a flat sole? Heel blocks, hard edges and high heels increase your risk of falling
- Do the shoes have a bit of bounce? The sole should be low and soft, giving you good feel for the ground
You should avoid shoes that are heavy, rigid, or hard. Shoes shouldn’t have a slippery sole, and shouldn’t be able to be kicked off without untying laces or straps.
You should also avoid shoes with leather soles, or shoes with high heels.
Good shoes don’t have to be boring.
You can find good shoes that look good as well.
Podiatrists are dedicated to helping people choose the right shoes, and will often work with shoe companies and specialist shoe stores to make sure they’re happy.
Are your shoes safe?
If you’re unsure if your shoes are safe, speak with your podiatrist.
The podiatrists at Posture Podiatry can assess your balance, your current footwear, and help connect you with specialist shoe stores to make sure you choose the right shoes for you.
Treat Your Feet with a DIY Foot Bath
There’s nothing like a foot bath at home to pamper your feet. It’s not difficult or expensive to do either.
In this post, you’ll learn how to create a relaxing and yummy foot bath for your feet from the comfort of your own home.
Just mix all the ingredients below and you’re relaxing mineral salt foot bath with essential oils will be ready for you!
Here’s what you need
- A large bowl or plastic tub – something that’s just right for you to place your feet inside without feeling squashed.
- Warm water – Not too hot, not too cold, but just right.
- Epsom Salts – Adding 1 Tbs Epsom salts to your foot bath can benefit your feet greatly. It can soothe dry skin, relieve aching feet, and help to remove foot odour.
- Bicarb soda – 1 tsp Bicarb soda helps exfoliate the skin, has antibacterial properties and also removes foot odour.
- Marbles – A few marbles in the base of the bowl give you something to gently roll your feet over for a luxurious massaging touch.
- Pure Essential oil – Just a couple of drops of lemon myrtle oil can add to the experience, as well as the health benefits.
The scent of the oil, the soothing mineral salts, the exfoliating baking soda, and the gentle massage from the marbles all work together to soothe your senses and relax your nerves.
Easy Foot Bath Recipe
So, you’ve got the ingredients, now here’s the recipe for an easy do-it-yourself foot bath at home:
In a large bowl, add:
- 1Tbs Epsom salts
- 1tsp Bicarb Soda
- 3 drops of pure Lemon Myrtle Essential Oil.
- Then add marbles and fill with warm water.
Relax and enjoy!The ideal DIY footbath - Essential oil, mineral salts, exfoliating baking soda, and gentle massage from marbles Click To Tweet
And if you want to see what it looks like in real life, check out this video below:
Will you be trying out this easy DIY footbath? We’d love to hear your experience!
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
The term plantar fasciitis means inflammation of your plantar fascia. The plantar fascia runs along the bottom of your foot from your heel to your toes. It’s a very strong ligament, so problems usually occur at the attachment to the heel bone. That’s why people with plantar fasciitis complain of heel pain, and it’s usually worse in the morning or after resting for a while.
You can easily feel your own plantar fascia. Just run your finger along the arch of your foot. Go on, try it – feel that rope-like connective tissue that pops out when you pull your toes back? That’s your plantar fascia… and it’s really important.
When you’re walking, your plantar fascia stabilises your arch to enable you to push off properly. It’s the longest ligament in the body – and the strongest as well, able to withstand up to 30 times your body weight.
Technically, the problem is actually more to do with degeneration of the plantar fascia. That’s why podiatrists usually refer to it as plantar fasciosis. However, I’ll use the more popular term, plantar fasciitis here.People with plantar fasciitis usually complain of heel pain in the morning or after rest. Click To Tweet
Plantar Fasciitis is a common diagnosis for anything heel pain-related, but can be mis-diagnosed in up to 80% of cases. It’s important to get the right diagnosis for the most effective treatment for you.
What are the symptoms?
You can feel a sharp pain when you are on your feet, and a dull ache when you’re resting, but usually it is worse in the morning when you are hobbling, or after you’ve been sitting down for a while.
Usually it will hurt mostly directly underneath the heel bone right in the centre of the pad of your heel.
What causes it?
New shoes, doing more activity than normal, or perhaps just standing for longer periods of time can cause micro-tearing of the plantar fascia. The extra load pulls the plantar fascia from the heel bone and causes inflammation.
Usually this damage will heal if you are off your feet for a while, for example, while sleeping overnight. However if your foot isn’t getting a chance to rest properly the new tissue can be damaged again and you start the cycle of pain again. That’s why plantar fasciitis often hurts most after you’ve been resting for a while.
Over time the tissue starts to thicken and inflamed, which can be painful to stand on. The body is clever, though, and if you let it go too long it will grow extra bone. This is the beginning of a heel spur.If you let plantar fasciitis go, you can develop a heel spur. Click To Tweet
Are some people more likely to get Plantar Fasciitis?
People who have recently changed jobs or started on a health kick can be more likely to get plantar fasciitis, and it’s not limited by age. More often, though, it’s middle-aged women and men that get it.
Some people who have injured themselves in the past can be more likely to get plantar fasciitis as the body tries to compensate for the injury.
It’s actually amazing how our feet put up with what we put them through. In a lifetime we will walk the equivalent distance to walking around the earth 3 times. There will be natural degeneration and weakening depending on your activity levels and injury history that might also contribute to getting plantar fasciitis.In a lifetime we will walk the equivalient distance to walking around the earth 3 times Click To Tweet
If you have it, are there forms of exercise you should avoid?
If you have plantar fasciitis, make sure you are giving it a chance to heal. Long runs on hard ground, beach sprints that require bursts of power, jumping and lunging can all make it worse. You want to give it a chance to heal without damaging things further.
You need to find a balance between giving it enough rest to heal, and enough work to stay strong. That’s the tricky part, but if you get it right you can recover well.
You’ll feel better with cushioning or padding under your heels. But again you need to have a balance between something soft, and having enough support. So, wear comfortable, supportive shoes, and make sure you stretch every day.
It can also help to massage the area by rolling your foot over a tennis ball or golf ball.
What can a Podiatrist do for Plantar Fasciitis?
Podiatrists are the health professionals dedicated to problems involving the feet, and have expert knowledge and training for helping people with plantar fasciitis.
A podiatrist will:
- Order an X-ray and ultrasound to find out exactly what’s wrong
- Help you find the right shoes to wear
- Give you exercises to strengthen your feet
- Help the muscles and joints work together with foot mobilisation to encourage healing
- Make orthotics for your shoes to give you padding and support
- Work with you to make sure the problem doesn’t return
Everything is focused on treating the cause of the problem, and reducing the load on the plantar fascia. That’s how you can speed up healing and prevent the problem returning.
What other treatments are available?
Podiatrists can also help you by checking your posture or walking style. They will also ask lots of questions about your injuries, and also check every muscle and joint in the area. This gives clues about other treatments that can help.
- Massage and stretching
- Making your feet stronger
- Shock Wave Therapy
- Ultrasound-guided Cortisone injection
- Platelet-rich plasma injections (PRP)
It’s important to find the true cause of your plantar fasciitis, otherwise the problem will return later.
How long does it last?
Left untreated, plantar fasciitis will take 12 months to develop the right amount of spurring and thickening to be pain free. However this isn’t the most ideal outcome because the extra thickening can lead to further problems later.
You can reduce pain in much less time with the right treatment.
People with plantar fasciitis experience heel pain in the morning or after rest. It’s common, and podiatrists are the experts dedicated to helping people with plantar fasciitis.
There are things you can do to help, but it won’t go away by itself for at least 12 months, so have it checked properly by a podiatrist.
Healthy, Happy Feet
There’s one foot exercise you can do that can really help to reveal problems with your feet. Many people will neglect their feet. But in general, athletes, sports enthusiasts and active people everywhere understand the importance of well-functioning feet. Some, because a simple foot injury sidelined them in the past, and others because they recognise the benefits of good foot exercises for better performance.
Consisting of one quarter of the bones in your body, your feet are an engineering marvel designed to withstand huge forces, which for an athlete on the track can be up to a staggering 30 times your bodyweight. Just let that sink in for a moment – you times 30. Yep, the feet deserve some attention.Your feet are designed to be able to withstand up to 30 times your body weight! Click To Tweet
There are 20 muscles inside each foot, and another 20 muscles that act on each foot from the lower leg. These muscles need to be work together in synergy to enable you to perform at your best.
Problems arise when one muscle is being over or underused leading to imbalance, compensation and loss of efficiency.
That’s why at Posture Podiatry we’re big on helping athlete’s feet to function well by themselves. And there’s one exercise that can determine whether your feet are fit for competition or not…
One Simple Foot Exercise
The exercise is so simple, you can even do it right now while reading this.
- While seated, stretch one leg out in front of you and make a big, slow circles with your foot – moving only your foot and ankle. Now, the temptation is to rush this, but it’s really important to make SLOW deliberate circles with your foot (it should take more than 10 seconds to complete one revolution).
- The key is to be able to balance your muscle action to be able to complete a full circle smoothly and deliberately. Take note of any small jolts, pauses and twitches as you move your foot in a circle.
Just make a full, slow circle with your feet. Any interruption to smooth circle movements could mean you have a problem with muscles working together, and that could mean problems down the track.
Practice this until the slow circles are smooth and consistent, and you’ll be training your muscles to communicate better with each other. Repeat before and after your training sessions to ensure they’re still working well together.Not being able to make slow circles with your feet can reveal bigger foot problems Click To Tweet
Revealing Other Foot Problems
If you’re having problems doing this foot exercise, or if you find it hard to make smooth circular movements it could be an indicator of a bigger problem, and that’s why this exercise is so important. From the perspective of a sports podiatrist, it’s exercises like these that help to identify the best treatment approach to address the true cause of your foot problem.
If you’re having trouble getting the movements right, book an appointment to see a podiatrist who uses foot mobilisation and manual therapy in their approach to improving foot function and mobility.
Shockwave therapy has been used for decades, and while the name might bring up mental images of institutionalised ‘shock treatment’, it’s not that sort of shock.
In fact, inside this clever little machine is a piston that moves up and down banging on a specialised head which transmits a radial sound wave into the damaged tissue, which benefits you in 2 proven ways:
- The shockwaves promote angiogenesis, which is the formation of new blood vessels in the area
- They also dull the nociceptors, which are the pain sensing nerves.
The result is improved blood flow and healing capability in the damaged tissue, and a significant reduction in pain.
There are numerous published scientific studies that demonstrate this as a safe treatment option with positive outcomes.
Although this treatment has been trusted for many years, the technology has finally improved to a level where it can be offered effectively in rooms, and we are proud to be able to provide this service for the benefit of our clients.
We’ve particularly found it useful for the treatment of heel pain, plantar fasciitis, and arch pain. By varying the intensity and spread of the sound waves we can also target muscle pain, and promote healing of tendons and ligaments – getting you back on your feet faster after injury.
In medical-speak the treatment is known as Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT), and Posture Podiatry uses an EMS Swiss Dolorclast System.
If you are interested in taking advantage of our special offer for Shockwave therapy, where you can receive this amazing therapy for no extra cost to your standard appointment fee, call us to find out more!
Foot strength. Let’s talk about it! In this post, I discuss why foot strength is critically important, the best ways to develop it, and whether bare feet have a place in warm ups and warm downs. Intrigued? Read on.
Your feet are incredible. Here’s why.
During sport, your body can encounter forces of up to 30 times your body weight through the feet. That feet can withstand this force and direct it appropriately through the body is a marvel of bio-engineering! With ropes, pulleys and stabilisers all working around complex articulations, it’s surprising how much goes on down there – yet how little attention feet receive, being typically the least trained part of the body (unless, of course, they’re injured or in pain).
Foot anatomy: the basics.
There are 20 intrinsic muscles in each foot, originating from one part of the foot and inserting into another. In addition, another 20 extrinsic muscles act on each foot, originating from higher up the leg and inserting into the foot.
It’s a complex arrangement, but essential for good mechanics and performance.
When your feet are weak, problems occur.
Weakness or dysfunction leads to poor joint alignment, which magnifies the effort required to perform simple tasks.
This makes you far less efficient when trying to perform at the highest level, which is a handicap no athlete wants or needs.
Strengthening the foot muscles is key to enabling your body to find control, stability and limit preventable injuries. By increasing foot strength, you’ll avoid being hampered by wonky mechanics, and maximise your performance.
But before strengthening the feet, it’s important to focus on mobility.
Your joints should be working in harmony, with no restrictions or adhesions. That’s why a podiatrist who provides foot mobilisation therapy is a great addition to your therapy team.
Next, condition your muscles.
Ensure your muscles are primed to improve by keeping them in good condition, with massage and stretching. As a basic measure, your warm-up regime should always incorporate lower leg and foot flexibility sets. (Want to know which stretches to include? Ask your podiatrist!)
Congratulations! You’re ready to strengthen.
Although strengthening exercises prescribed for you are best discussed one-on-one with your sports podiatrist, here are three essential strengthening exercises every active person should be doing to keep feet performing at their best.
- Take a walk in bare feet on soft sand
- Even imagining this feels good, right? The extra effort required by walking through soft sand is fantastic for those forgotten little intrinsic muscles. If you don’t have access to soft sand, going bare foot on the grass is the next best thing as you warm up or cool down.
- Use your feet to pick things up
- Not just a neat party trick! While seated, practice picking a towel up off the ground with your toes. Make sure to spread your toes, grab the towel, and curl them to pick it up. It’s harder than you might think! Channel your inner primate.
- Rise onto your toes and lower slowly
- Make sure you’re in a neutral foot position (where the foot is neither rolled in or out). Feel the strength on the inside of your arch as you rise, and lower. Repeat.
The final word on foot strength
These tips may sound simple, but improving foot strength offers huge benefits.
Even though they’re way down there, don’t forget about your feet. They’re your springboard! Help them become supple, flexible and strong, and bound towards better performance today.
Every so often at Posture Podiatry we have “Random Act of Kindness” week. We use this time to intentionally practice random acts of kindness.
Now, when it comes to this topic, there are mixed responses, from “Useless. Planning a random act of kindness negates the meaning of it being random”, To “Yippee! Now I have another excuse to be kind!”
However, personally the biggest challenge has been deciding what random act of kindness will give the best return for the effort?
But, that’s a problem, because the very act of kindness should not expect anything in return. Chasing the acknowledgement that I did something “cool” or “life-changing” and expecting my small act to make a huge difference is unrealistic.
Sure, there are times when a small act will make a huge difference, but that’s not the reason why we do them. It’s about aligning our attitudes and hearts to that of generosity and living with gratitude and generosity in everything we do.
It’s also about recognising where there is a need, and simply being more aware of opportunities each day to be kind.
If a random act of kindness is not received well (I remember one time someone chased me down the street trying to give back my $5 note I gave them!) it could simply be a reaction to the absence of kindness in the lives of others.
The more people get used to kindness, the better it will be received.
So, I’ve changed my thinking away from finding the best random act that will have the most impact, to just doing something – however small – that will bring a bit more light to the world.
Can you help by also spreading some kindness into the world?
Did you know that every time you take a step you have the force of you and 4 other people on your shoulders pushing through your body?
What’s more, it has been shown that during sport up to 30 times your body weight can go through your feet!
It’s no wonder people get sore feet, and sports people can suffer with injuries.
That said, with 3 simple steps anyone can achieve drastic improvements for feet that are falling apart.
Condition Your Joints
The main reason your feet can withstand such huge forces is because your joints are able to pronate – rolling in and acting like a flexible loose bag of bones which is good for absorbing shock and adapting to the terrain; or supinate – acting like a rigid lever on which to propel yourself from one step to the next.
In sport we pound our feet into the ground, we make sudden changes of direction, and we accelerate and decelerate at great speeds which places a lot of load through the bones of the feet.
Simply writing the ABC’s in the air moving only your feet and ankles can help to improve the range of motion in your joints, and allow them to better handle the forces that go through them.
Try it now… see if you can make it all the way through to Z!
Condition Your Muscles
Muscles engage in the final 3% of joint range of movement to protect the joints. Muscles are great protectors, and they engage to protect the joint whenever it is placed in a compromised position.
Muscles are connected to bones by tendons, which allow them to gain leverage by working around corners. Problems with tendons often occur when there is abnormal sheering force as they run close to the bones.
Rolling your feet over a broomstick, tennis ball, or length of PVC pipe can relieve tired, aching muscles and bring your feet back to life.
Know When To Seek Help
A mentor of mine told me once,
“Refine the things you do wrong and do them a little less wrong each day”
If you want to identify the true cause of your pain and find a solution for foot pain or injury, it may be time to ask someone who knows more for help.
The biggest challenge for most of us is finding someone who can work with us to achieve our goals. The good news is there is help available, and people who are highly trained to work with you.
Improving the ability for your feet to function without falling apart can be a powerful tool to help you enjoy life, walk strong, stand tall, and get an edge over the competition.
I hope this helps you find your fit feet again.
I hope you enjoyed reading this, it’s just another way we like to spread the word about what we do, and demonstrate that our clients come first.
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