Orthotic Reviews

By Simon Kay

 

Are you wearing orthotics? Are you happy with your orthotics? Did they address your symptoms? Do they feel comfortable or fit in your shoes? Or….have you stopped wearing them?

We see it all the time….rock hard orthotics, thick as a brick, never comfortable, do not fit in most shoes and still in pain. Sound familiar?

So….when was the last time you had your orthotics checked?

 

How often do I need to check and what are the benefits of having my orthotics reviewed?

While there is no strict timeline, the lifespan of your orthotics depends on a few factors. If you use foam pre-fabricated orthotics, these orthotics may require more regular replacing compared to a custom orthotics which usually last between 2 to 5 years or even longer in some situations.

Broken, compressed, torn or even worn out orthotics could affect you more than you realise, and even the shoes you use your orthotics in could do your body more harm than good. You might even find that you no longer need them – orthotics are part of the treatment!

With advancements in orthotic manufacturing, we are now able to make an orthotic for most types of shoes, ranging some low-cut, and slim-line court orthotics which fit in heels, yes heels, to flexible orthotics which give you more spring in your step.

 

How do I know whether my orthotics need replacing?

Below are some indicators you can use to assess whether your orthotics need a second look.

  • Pain: If you experience any type of pain, whether it’s in the back, hips, feet or ankles – it may be time to replace your orthotics. You should not experience pain while standing, jogging or even jumping in your orthotics. Also, if the original reason or symptoms which made you start wearing orthotics has resolved – make an appointment to have them checked.
  • Age: Most orthotics will last one to five years. If you use custom orthotics made from hard plastic or polypropylene, you usually only need a replacement every three to five years – depending on use. If, however, your orthotics are made from composite materials or foam, they may need replacing every year.
  • Use: If you use your orthotics to get around or just for your day-to-day activities, they will not wear as quickly as those used for sports and recreational activities. Activities like running wear down your orthotics quicker than everyday walking to and from work.
  • Wear or Damage: Take a look at your orthotics. If you see any cracks, broken pieces, areas of excessive wear – it’s time to replace them.
  • Shoes: Look at the bottom of your shoes. Orthotics are meant to provide mechanical support to your lower limbs, so any areas of excessive or uneven wear might mean your orthotics are not functioning correctly.
  • Changes: Significant lifestyle changes require new orthotics. For example, any significant weight gain or loss, lower limb reconstructive surgery, becoming pregnant etc – may require adjustment of current orthotics or new orthotics to accommodate the changes in your body.

 

So what happens at an orthotic review consultation?

Most orthotic reviews take approximately 15 minutes, however if you have some aches or pain we’ll normally allow 30 minutes for the appointment to address any concerns. During your review consultation your Podiatrist will:

  1. Review orthotic wear and tear – You’ve invested good money into your orthotics, so it’s important to make sure they are wearing correctly. If an area is showing signs of excessive wear, reinforcing may be required, and this will prolong their lifespan.
  2. Check covering materials – Covers are placed on the upper surface of the orthotics to protect the underlying materials. If covers are worn or not present, the underlying materials will wear out quicker.
  3. Review your current footwear– Footwear can have a huge impact on the success or failure of your orthotics, so it’s important to make sure you’re wearing the best shoe for you, your feet and your orthotics. 
  4. Review your initial symptoms – Ideally, we’d like to see you symptom-free, but sometimes this is not the case and your orthotics may require additional support, or you may need to consider other therapies, such as ultrasound, shockwave therapy or foot mobilization.
  5. Review prescribed exercises – Patients often forget how to do exercises and the one-year orthotic review is an ideal time to go over them again.
  6. Review strength and flexibility – If exercises are not being performed properly, certain muscles may become tighter than they should.
  7. Review the joint range of motion – It’s really important to make sure the joint of your big toe, the ankle joint, and the knee joint have normal range of motion. If any one of these three joints has limited motion it will have a direct effect on other joints.
  8. Visual walking assessment– this is not always necessary, but often your Podiatrist will want to see you walk again. This will not be a full biomechanical assessment, or video gait analysis, unless of course they feel it’s warranted, however, they would discuss this with you prior to commencing this detailed procedure.

 

What next?

If you have a pair of orthotics and want to have them checked – book in for a 15 min orthotic review consultation with our Podiatrist Simon in the Wellness Centre.

For the next two weeks, if you quote this blog at time of booking – you’ll receive a discounted price for your consultation.

Orthotics – What are they?

By Simon Kay

 

What are orthotics?

Orthotics, or foot orthoses, are medical devices used within your footwear that are commonly used to reduce pain, increase function and improve quality of life. Most people think orthotics work by simply reducing misalignment of the lower limbs and feet – but this is not necessarily true.

 

How do they work?

Orthotics reduce pain by altering the forces and load within soft issues therefore reducing the stress within the injured structures; but orthotics can also alter the alignment of the lower limb and feet, but this isn’t essentially to reduce pain. Orthotics can also be employed to improve walking and running efficiency, regardless of whether an individual is in pain or not.

 

Do I need orthotics?

So, how does one know if orthotics would be of benefit? For most people, this is hard to work out but many decide to commence using orthotics because of their foot structure, the presence of pain or because a friend or colleague recommended them. However, if used inappropriately orthotics can end up being a waste of time and money and even induce pain or injury.

People who use orthotics purchased from the pharmacy, supermarket or shoe shops typically apply support to the mid-foot region and can provide some support but they are usually too compressive, don’t contour well enough or are too bulky for footwear to have a positive influence on your mechanics. In some situations, they can also be over-supportive and cause irritation or pain for individuals who have a low-arch.

 

If I have orthotics, how often should they be checked?

While there isn’t a universal guide to the frequency of orthotic review, most people should have their orthotics or insoles checked annually. For some individuals this might be even more frequent depending on the type of orthotic and the level of activity completed using them. If your orthotics are pre-fabricated foam, you may want a more regular review to ensure that they have not compressed to a degree where they no longer support your mechanics in an effective way.

 

Want more?

If you have any questions regarding orthotics or would like a review of a pair you are currently using, please book in for a consultation with our Podiatrist Simon in the Wellness Centre

Get Those Steps Up!!!

By Simon Kay

Welcome to September! The 9th month of the calendar year, the start of spring, and Steptember. That’s right STEPTEMBER, the month where you are challenged to hit 10,000 steps each day in September.

The Australian Heart Foundation suggests that taking 10,000 steps everyday can cut down your risk of disease and improve your health. Increasing your daily steps is also a great way to relax and improve your energy levels and overall mood.

With everyone having access to fit-bits, smartphones and apple watches – there has never been a better time to count those daily steps!!! With research showing that office workers on average only take 3,000 steps per day, below are some handy tips to get those steps up and get your bodies moving.

Tip 1: Activate your lunch – Spend 10 minutes of your lunch break outside and take a quick lap around the block to stretch the legs and get some fresh air. Start a walking club with a colleague or turn that social coffee chat into a walking catch-up.

Tip 2: Get off a stop early – Getting off one stop earlier will instantly boost your steps.

Tip 3: Park further away – If you drive to work or the train station, park a little further away than you normally do. Not only will it help to reduce your stress levels of trying to find a park close to work, but it will also contribute your step count.

Tip 4: Take the stairs – Take the stairs instead of the escalator or the elevator, it will also help tone up those legs.

Tip 5: Treat yourself – Buy your lunch or visit a new coffee shop somewhere that requires a 10 minute walk – each way!

Tip 6: Be the messenger – We all complain about how many emails we get so instead of emailing or calling a colleague, walk over to their desk to relay a message.

Tip 7: Set a reminder – Set an alarm to remind you every hour to get up and take a quick stroll

Tip 8: Talk and walk – Try to make and take calls on your mobile and walk around while you’re talking

Tip 9: Wear comfy shoes – Do you wear heels or pointy-toed business shoes to work? Bring in a pair of joggers or comfortable shoes to change into – you’ll be surprised how many more steps you can take when your feet don’t hurt.

 

If pain prevents you from getting your steps up this Steptember, book in with one of our podiatrists today

 

High Heels – No Pain, No Gain?

By Simon Kay

 

With Women’s Health Week starting today, it is time to put your health first and start making positive changes one step at a time!

Hands up if you have been a “fashion victim” before. The term was formerly used to describe a shopper in thrall to the latest trend – but these days from a lower limb perspective; this now applies more literally to the hordes of individuals who are taking a tumble in the name of fashion.

Lately it would seem that stylish individuals are increasingly willing to risk life and limb by perching precariously atop a pair of skyscraper heels. 

So what do the experts say….?

Research published in the UK found consistent evidence linking high heel wear to an increased risk of bunions, musculoskeletal pain and injuries to the wearer – some of these injuries included ankle fractures, dislocated knees, head injuries and broken wrists caused by falling from their towering shoes. These are now more prevalent than sports injuries, it would seem. As podiatrists, we have also seen “dramatic” increases in chronic injuries from excessive wearing of extreme heels. Elsewhere, a US study established that women who regularly wear high heels may be at an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knee.

So what am I doing to myself….?

The two distinct types of injury or damage are that occur with heel use are: serious falls that may require a trip to ED and the plethora of non-traumatic injuries to knees, calves, ankles and feet.

Without proper support, the ankle and foot move in a turned-out position that weakens the support given to the ankle making it easier to sprain. Ankle sprains can cause pain and sometimes swelling because of soft tissue damage around the ankle. There are other risks too. The unnatural position of the foot when it is squashed into a shoe that is too narrow can also cause painful deformities such as hammer or contracted toe, bunions and Morton’s neuromas.

In addition, the position that high heels force the wearer to adopt, with feet pointing downwards and pressure on the ball of the foot, can affect the posture. The natural S-curve shape of the back flattens and added strain is placed on back muscles, causing back pain. Knee and hip pain may result from the additional work required from these joints to compensate for the position of the foot. Ultimately your ability to move your body forward may be noticeably reduced.

So what can I do…..?

If you find putting those heels away is something that is not a reality, then don’t despair – below are some easy adjustments and tips that will enable you to still wear your favourite pair of heels but also be good to your body.

Tip 1

Don’t hang up your heels, just listen to your body. If you start to experience pain or tiredness when wearing your heels, swap into a different pair of shoes.

Tip 2

Try to keep the heels under two inches for day-to-day wear. If you must go higher then wear them minimally. The higher the heel, the higher the risk. Alternating between heights is a good practical way to minimise the strain on your body but also reduce the likelihood of injury or accident.

Tip 3

Work those calf muscles. Maintaining good strength in your calves, performing daily calf stretching at least twice per day and keeping your core active and stable are easy ways to minimise the risk of injury.

Tip 4

Increase your surface area.  Wedges and box heels are better options than stilettos, where the heel has a very small surface area.

Tip 5

Hug that heel. A backless or strapless heels is the type of shoe that you are more inclined to injure yourself whilst wearing.

Tip 6

If your heels give your pain, see a podiatrist!

 

Book In Now and Get Your Foot Health Checked 

City2Surf… Are You Ready For It?

By Simon Kay

 

With the chilly mornings now setting in and August just around the corner, we all know it’s that time of year to tighten our laces and prepare to hit the pavement for City2Surf! So whether you have lost a bet and are dressing up in costume, have a friendly wager amongst work colleagues or are in a fierce competition against a friend; it’s time to get running.

The City2Surf is a great event but for a first-time entrant it can be overwhelming.  So, with only a few weeks left and everyone deep into their training programs you might be wondering what you need to do to make it up Heartbreak Hill and cross that finish line at Bondi Beach.

Get your training right!

As with everything, practice makes perfect! In the lead up – make sure your program incorporates days of long and short distance running, days of stretching & strengthening and a day for rest. Some other training tips are:

  • Try running half of the distance – it’s a perfect way to test your strength and endurance but more importantly, it may highlight any weaknesses or flaws in your training.
  • Try scheduling your runs at the same time of City2Surf – allow your body to become used to running at this time
  • In the final weeks leading up to City2Surf – gradually taper your runs. It is important to rest up so that your body is in top condition and able to run the distance on the day.
  • Eat Well & Stay Hydrated! – Get plenty of good quality carbohydrates and protein in to your diet in the weeks leading to race day. Carbohydrates give you the required energy and protein helps facilitate optimal recovery from all the training you have been doing! As always, drink plenty of appropriate fluids to replenish what you have lost during your runs
  • Do a trial run – becoming familiar with the course before race day. It can help you plan your timing, know the up’s and down’s of the course and more importantly – become familiar with the suburbs. This can be useful to count down and know your remaining distance. Pass the Coke sign? See ya Kings Cross. Tackled Heartbreak Hill? Bon voyage Rose Bay. Reinforcing positive achievement can get you into a good running mood and reach Bondi Beach much happier.

The City2Surf is an enjoyable event that encourages all people of differing running ability to have, get active and improve their fitness. So say goodbye to those negative obstacles and hello to a great time on Sunday 12th August.

 

 

Book an Appointment in with our podiatrist today and make sure you are City2Surf ready!

What is Podiatry?

By Simon Kay

 

 

Your Feet & the Podiatrist

When it comes to preserving your health and wellness, it’s easy to forget about the two objects that connect you with the ground – your feet! But given you could walk around 128,000 km in your lifetime – healthy feet are an important component of your overall wellbeing. Foot problems can impact on your quality of life – therefore if they do occur, a Podiatrist can be your best friend.

Foot Pain & looking after your feet

Foot pain is experienced by 17 to 42% of the adult population and can have a huge impact on your quality of life. In half of these cases, foot pain is disabling, and can impair mood, behaviour, the ability to self-care and increase the risk of falls – but more importantly it can stop you in your tracks!

Research shows that most people with foot pain do not seek professional treatment, even when the pain is disabling.

What does a Podiatrist actually do?

Contrary to popular belief, Podiatrist don’t have a foot fetish – but where our obsession lies is to help you regain pain-free movement in your feet.

We are health care professionals who have been trained to prevent, diagnose, treat and rehabilitate abnormal conditions of the feet and the lower limbs. We also prevent and correct deformities, keep people mobile and active, relieve pain and treat infections.

How can we help you!

A Podiatrist can give you advice and treatment if you have painful feet, toenail issues, skin-related conditions and sporting/activity related injuries. We can also give you advice on how to look after your feet, what types of shoes to wear and perform a biomechanical analysis of your walking or running gait. We can also treat and alleviate day-to-day foot problems, including:

– calluses and corns

– warts

– fungal infections like athlete’s foot

– smelly feet

– dry and cracked skin

– bunions

– blisters

What to expect!

At your first consultation, our podiatrists will take a medical history and ask questions pertaining to the reason for your visit. We may perform some basic tests as checking your blood circulation, the feeling in your feet, the way you walk and the range of movement within your lower leg joints.

We will discuss your concerns with you and make a diagnosis or refer on for further examinations like diagnostic imaging if required. We also will start our treatment, whether it be reducing hard skin, dry needling, massage or strapping.

Our consultations are usually completely pain-free (even pleasant) and take between 30 to 45 minutes depending on service. Our services are available in both Barangaroo & Kent St Wellness Centres.

If you have a little niggle that won’t go away, concern regarding the appearance of your feet or are wanting an option regarding footwear or running tips – come in and see one of our Podiatrist.

 

 

Click Here to Book in Today

Elbow pain, what can be causing it ?

Article by Steve Pacini – Physiotherapist

We’ve all heard of tennis elbow, otherwise known as lateral epidondylalgia. In fact approximately 40% of us will experience the pains associated with tennis elbow at some point in our lifetime, With symptoms including pain focused around the elbow or radiating down the forearm and can be aggravated by almost any task that involves gripping or repetitive movements of the wrist, such as typing, using the mouse, cooking and cleaning.

But why is it that so many of us suffer from this condition when we don’t all play tennis ?

Lateral epidondylalgia is commonly caused by repetitive overuse or misuse of the muscles in the forearm, in the office setting this could be due to how we use our mouse and keyboard.  Symptoms can often last for months to years and re occurrence is common. This is because along with painful inflammation there is commonly damage to our common extensor tendon, which is the tendon that attaches the muscles of your forearm to the bone in our elbow (the Lateral epicondyle).

So what do you do if you have tennis elbow ? Act early. Begin by limiting aggravating activities and try using ice over the painful area.

Early intervention and treatment are key to managing painful symptoms and will significantly decrease your recovery time.

  • Treatment may include:
  • Soft tissue and joint releases
  • Taping and bracing
  • Targeted rehab exercises – the most important !
  • Dry needling

 

To explore your treatment options, or to find out more come see us at the Wellness Centre.

What should You look out for when trying to change your lifestyle?

By Anthony Glanville 

 

Changing your habits can be a difficult task. The information about what to do is more prevalent than ever, with social and commercial media both understanding how well nutrition and lifestyle rates. However how to change your behaviours and what mistakes to avoid are often overlooked.  Having worked within the Nutrition and Fitness Industry for 8 years, I often see a few mistakes that are repeated by lots of clients across many demographics. Take a read below and make sure you aren’t following in the same footsteps.

 

Taking Education/Advice from the wrong places

From personal trainers, to celebrity chefs, to Instagrammers, to mothers, to friends, to the back of cereal packets, many of my clients come in seriously misinformed as to how food and their body actually works. I can’t emphasise enough to apply some critical thinking as to where you get your nutritional advice from. Talk with a qualified professional

Lack of Planning

How are you meant to change your behaviours or what you eat when you don’t plan ahead? Waking up on a monday and saying, “I’m going to eat better this week” or “I’m going to bring in lunch from home this week”  doesn’t provide any framework for you to be able to change what you are doing. Simple ideas around planning – like doing a reconnaissance mission for some healthy and nutritious lunch spots around work, or writing a shopping list for your meals and snacks for the week can provide some basic framework for you to stick to.  

Being too strict

Nutrition is not an exact science. Behavioural Science is definitely not an exact science. Out of the last 10 years and the rise of technology, so many of my clients feel that they need to track everything they do, from eating, to exercise, to sleep. Not only that, many feel that if they aren’t perfect then they shouldn’t bother with change, or that if they are being perfect, and they have one meal or snack that doesn’t meet their self imposed, unrealistic high expectations, then they may as well not bother. An idea that I try to get across to my clients is that improvement is improvement, no matter where you are. 50+1% is still more than 50%.

Falling at the first relapse.

Relapse is a natural part of behavioural change. It happens to everyone, and it happens often. So many of my clients fall after a hurdle, and never get back up. You will fail, everyone will fail. It is part of being human. Understanding that is the key to making long lasting change. Do some introspection, try to figure out why you failed, then plan accordingly.

Not setting the correct goals

What goals you set will play a big part in defining your success in changing behaviours. Clear, realistic, and achievable, behaviour based goals are a great tool to use to allow you to focus on what you want to change, to solidify your ideas into something you can grasp onto. Behaviour based is the key. Setting outcome based goals (improve fitness, improve energy)  is a good long term strategy, but the day to day goal setting needs to focus on specific behaviours.

Not learning from previous mistakes

I’ve seen so many clients fail in their attempts at long term, sustainable change. Just like relapsing, failure is part and parcel with trying to change your behaviours. However, if you fail, at least do some introspection, a review of what you were doing and the true reasons as to why it may have failed. Don’t just hop straight back into what you were doing previously. Tried going to the gym, hated every second of it, and only lasted a few weeks? Then maybe the gym isn’t the answer this time around!

Not acknowledging progress

An important aspect of long term change is recognising where you have come from. Of seeing where you have come from and making sure that you congratulate yourself for every small piece of improvement. It’s so important to look back at where you have come from as opposed to only looking at where you want to get to. The latter can get daunting, the former can make you appreciate how hard you have worked.

Pain between your shoulder blades?

By Emma Magorian – Physiotherapist

 

Pain between your shoulder blades? Pain spreading up into your neck? Occasional dull headaches?

Do you suffer from a constant dull nagging ache in the middle of your back that spreads up your neck? It is likely that you are experiencing a condition known as thoracic dysfunction. This is common in office workers who spend too much time in a sustained position.

The most common cause of thoracic back pain is inflammation of the muscles or soft tissues of the thoracic spine. This inflammation can occur for a number of reasons:

  • Sitting or standing in a slouched position over time
  • Sitting or standing for a long time at a computer
  • Lack of muscular strength – mainly core or shoulder instability
  • A sudden sprain or strain (as in car accidents or sports injuries)
  • Stress

Treatment:

  • Manual therapy
  • Soft tissue massage
  • Postural retraining
  • Activity modification
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Clinical Pilates

The good news is that the majority of people respond very well with Physiotherapy. If this sounds like you or one of your colleague’s then book an assessment today with one of our Physiotherapists at the Wellness Centre.

Check out our Instagram page for stretching exercises to do while sitting at your desk!

3 Handy tips for Tour de Cure Preparation

By Chris Poier

With the Tour de Cure just around the corner, many Westpac employees are gearing up for a weekend of intense riding.  At this stage due to the sheer volume and frequency of training most riders may be feeling the pinch.
Here are 3 handy tips to get your body feeling 100% come race day.

 

  1. Pre & Post event Massage – Before the big race Deep Tissue massage is the way to go, Ideally around 3- 5 days before a physically demanding ride. This will help to break up any adhesion that may still be present from the intense training load. Following strenuous effort your muscles will be extremely sore and tight so it is best to get on top of this quickly usually within 48hrs of the event.
  2. Tapering – Now that you have the bulk of the km’s under your belt it is time to gradually reduce the volume of your rides. It is OK to keep some intensity through this period. You should look to begin your taper off about 2 weeks before the big event.
  3. Self-Massage – The good old foam roller will be your best friend during this time. It is important that you place the focus on keeping the lower limbs loose, as they will endure the greatest burden throughout the rides. The more relaxed you can keep these muscles the better you will feel in the lead up to the event. * Foam rollers can be purchased at the Wellness Centre, please note limited rollers available unless pre-ordered*

We want you feeling your best to make this experience as enjoyable as possible! So do not leave it to the last minute. You can make your booking online now!