Archive for category Podiatry

7 Signs You Need Orthotics

Heel pain, corns and calluses, constant tripping or ankle twisting? Read on. We’ve rounded up seven of the most common signs you need orthotics, also known as foot balance insoles, which can address common foot concerns and bring you relief.

1. You have foot pain or swelling

If you’re experiencing foot pain or swelling during or after simple everyday activities (standing, walking around), it’s time to see a podiatrist. You don’t need to live with unnecessary foot pain, and orthotics for feet might solve the problem.

And if orthotics aren’t required? Your podiatrist will investigate the cause of your discomfort, and provide advice on correct footwear and appropriate exercises to help get you back on track.

2. You have sharp heel pain

Sharp heel pain, especially when experienced first thing in the morning, can be a sign of plantar fasciitis. (As well as a sign you might need custom orthotics.), which raises the question can orthotics cause plantar fasciitis? The answer is no, rather, they can help alleviate it. This common foot complaint occurs due to inflammation of the plantar fascia – the thick band of tissue running from your heel bone all the way to your toes.

Supporting the foot’s arch, the plantar fascia acts as a shock absorber. It is more susceptible to inflammation if you’re overweight, have tight Achilles, high arches or flat feet, or spend a lot of time standing or wearing high heels.

Custom-made orthotics can help alleviate symptoms by providing additional arch support or heel cushioning.

3. You have a flat foot or high arch

Orthotics for flat feet can be particularly beneficial. If you have flat feet – with little or no arch – you may experience foot pain or overpronation (inward rolling of the foot). Orthotics can help to relieve pressure on the arch, reduce knee pain and reduce rolling. Similarly, orthotics may be prescribed in the case of high arches, which can lead to toe issues, corns, calluses, foot pain and ankle instability.

4. You’re having problems with balance or are falling over

Collapsed arches can occur in older adults, leading to flat feet-related balance problems. Orthotics may be helpful in providing stability and reducing discomfort and falls.

5. Your shoes are wearing unevenly

Another of the clearest signs you might need orthotics can be revealed by a quick glance at your footwear. A sole that is more worn on the inside is a sign of pronation (inward rolling); while supination (outward rolling) will cause wear to the outer side of your shoe. Or maybe one shoe is more worn than the other, which is a sign of different leg lengths.

All of these issues should be addressed – possibly with corrective footwear or inserts – to prevent joint pain and dysfunction.

6. You’ve had a lower limb injury

Recent injuries to your lower limbs may affect the way you walk. It is important to make sure your feet are properly supported and you are well aligned and moving efficiently. Orthotics can help with this, and reduce the likelihood of further pain or injury.

7. You have diabetic foot complications

As they help to evenly distribute pressure, orthotics will often be prescribed in the management of diabetic foot complications.

Orthotics can be very beneficial in correcting your gait, providing arch support and evenly distributing pressure across the foot. In this way they can help prevent and alleviate pain and swelling, corns and calluses, correct your posture, and even help manage back pain and headaches.

Now you know the most common signs you need orthotics, it’s time to take charge of your foot health. Improve your symptoms from the ground up by booking an appointment with our Melbourne CBD podiatrist today.

Have other foot concerns? Check out our blog post on the signs you should see a podiatrist.

Image Source

No Comments

9 signs you should see a Podiatrist

Maintaining healthy, happy feet is extremely important—after all, you’re on them for much of the day! Without foot comfort, your mobility becomes increasingly restricted, and this restricted mobility can in turn have serious implications for your general health. Because we’re committed to helping you optimise your health, from top to toe, The Alignment Studio’s resident podiatrist Louise Anderson has put together a handy list of nine sure-fire signs you should see a podiatrist. If any sound familiar, it’s time to book an appointment and take the first steps towards improving your foot health, today.

1. Sore toes/ soles of feet

Sore toes and/or soles of feet can occur because shoes are too tight and may be too high in the heel. This places pressure on different parts of the foot, resulting in excessive hard skin and the development of corns. These can be removed fairly simply, and different shoes might be an additional solution recommended by your podiatrist.

2. Cracked heels

Cracked heels can simply occur as the result of very dry skin. However, in certain people, the skin overreacts to pressure and dryness and produces excess keratin, resulting in callouses and cracks. Treatment and a daily management program recommended by your podiatrist can help with both concerns.

3. Ingrown nails and other nail issues

Thick nails, fungal, ingrown, and curly nails can cause great discomfort, even in well-fitting shoes. Thankfully, any number of nail problems can be dealt with with proper podiatry care.

4. Warts on the foot

Papillomas (a viral skin infection, known as verrucas) are a frequent issue for people who go barefoot into swimming pools, gyms and public bathrooms. While wearing flip-flops is a good preventative measure, if you already have papillomas, a podiatrist should be your first port of call.

5. Tinea and general fungal issues

Itchy feet? Interdigital tinea and general fungal infections are very common—often picked up from other people, and sometimes related to poor hygiene. A podiatrist will be able to recommend the right course to resolve your fungal foot problems.

6. Pain in the hips, ankles, knees, shins or lower back

Pain throughout the body, for example in the hips, ankles, knees, shins or lower back, can often begin in the last place you’d expect—the feet. For this reason, podiatrists and physiotherapists will often work together to improve a patient’s bodily alignment and resolve pain. Have you ever checked the soles of your shoes to see where the wear occurs? If the wear is uneven, you may need correction. Do you feel that your feet are rolling in? The realignment of your feet with corrective orthotics can remove discomfort in many areas of your body.

7. Generalised foot pain, after a period of rest, and sharp heel pain

These are signs of soft tissue inflammation (often plantar fasciitis) caused by poor biomechanics of the feet. With a regime of exercise (stretches) and orthotics, this debilitating condition can be overcome.

8. Foot joint pain

A podiatrist has many cushioning and padding materials, including soft insoles, which can assist in protecting joints in people of all ages with all types of arthritis that affect the lower limbs.

9. You’re diabetic, or have compromised circulation

Podiatrists undergo many years of training to become very skilful in fine motor skills. They are therefore the only practitioners that should be allowed to tend to the feet of those with compromised immune systems or poor circulation. A podiatrist is an integral part of any diabetic’s healthcare team.

For more information, you can also check our blog about 7 signs you need orthotics to learn more!

If you are experiencing any of the above concerns, call The Alignment Studio today on 9650 2220 to discuss whether a podiatry or physiotherapy appointment may be required.

Image Source

No Comments

Meet Our New Podiatrist, Louise

Looking for a skilled podiatrist in Melbourne CBD? You now need to look no further than The Alignment Studio. In addition to our physiotherapy and remedial massage services, we’ve added podiatry to the mix—welcoming the lovely Louise Anderson to the team. With over 30 years’ experience in podiatry in Melbourne and the UK, Louise is equipped to diagnose, treat and help prevent conditions of the foot and lower limb.

Get to know a bit about Louise, and make her your first port of call if you’re suffering from foot pain, circulatory problems, or nail and skin conditions.

What do you like most about working in podiatry?

My favourite part of the job is helping to relieve someone’s pain or discomfort—seeing a patient’s relief as they put their shoes on post treatment!

What have been the highlights of your career?

Running a very successful Podiatry clinic in Melbourne CBD for over 20 years. I also been fortunate to work with at-risk patients in both Hammersmith Hospital in London and Western General Hospital in Footscray.

What’s your special interest area?

My special interests are the treatment of ingrown/involuted toe nails, removal of corns, and treatment of papillomas. Also casting for custom-made orthotics.

Who’s your typical patient?

Diabetics, patients with poorly fitting footwear, and patients who have an over-production of callus (hyperkeratosis).

What is your top tip for better foot health?

Choosing the right footwear!

One piece of advice you wish your patients listened to…

Can I have two? Wear the right footwear, and stop ‘self-treating’ your ingrown/involuted toe nails.

Can physiotherapists and podiatrists work together?

Yes! I will often refer to physios when I require a biomechanical second opinion. I also receive referrals from physios as a lot of referred pain, such as back or neck pain, can in fact be traced back to foot problems, such as flat feet.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a podiatrist?

I would be working in conservation of the environment, assisting with rescue horses, riding more horses, and helping older ladies to live healthy lifestyles.

What’s your approach to wellness?

Every day I try to eat fruit and a salad, exercise, remember that the glass is half full and appreciate all the good in my life. I also spend time playing with our dogs and horse, do yoga once a week, try to get a good night’s sleep, and have a good laugh.

To book your podiatry appointment with Louise, call us on 9650 2220.

No Comments

We Chat Foot Health with Anna from Bared Footwear

The feet are a commonly neglected area of the body, and as a result we see a wide range of foot concerns at The Alignment Studio. Healthy feet are crucial to keep us mobile, which is why we’re such big fans of the work of podiatrist turned shoe designer Anna Baird and the team at Bared Footwear! Bared shoes pair fashion with function (seriously! Check them out here) and ALL designs are orthotics-friendly. We sat down with Anna to find out what makes happy feet. So, put your feet up and read on!

What are the most common foot concerns in women?

The most common foot concerns for women that we see at Bared are: Plantas Fasciitis which usually presents as heel or arch pain, Bunions and the pain associated in the big toe joint, Neuromas which are the thickening of a nerve in the foot which can be very painful, and also lots of corns and calluses that are caused from excess pressure on areas of the feet.

And in men?

For men, we also see a lot of Plantar Fasciitis and heel pain, but also a lot of flat feet, and also arthritis in certain joints in the foot that is giving them grief.

How important is foot health to overall health and wellbeing?

Foot health and hygiene is extremely important. People often neglect their feet until there is a problem and we often forget that our feet are what make us mobile. The average person will walk more that 128,000 km in their life time, so your feet need a bit of TLC. For more information about orthotics, check out our latest blog!

What should you look for in a shoe?

People tend to choose their shoes by look first, and there is nothing wrong with that! Just keep in mind the best shoes for you are ones that offer support and protection. Look for shoes that are made from natural materials such as leather, as they are more breathable and your feet will love you for it.

Also shoes that have a stable sole, and some sort of fastening to the foot by laces or straps – your feet shouldn’t have to work hard just to keep a shoe on. Correct fit is also vitally important with a shoe, as we shouldn’t be squeezing our feet into unnatural shapes or positions.

Other than wearing the correct footwear, how can you keep your feet healthy and pain- and injury-free?

Be aware that your feet are very complex structures that go through a lot of wear and tear on a daily basis. If you notice something doesn’t feel or look right, then see a health professional sooner rather than later.

I like wearing high heels. How can I minimise the damage?

Wearing high heels puts a lot more pressure on the front of our feet. To reduce this pressure, look for heels that have a wide and stable heel unit (stay away from those stilettos!), and the more structure and fastenings to the foot, the more supportive they will be.

How are Bared shoes different?

Bared shoes are designed to have all the aspects that we as podiatrists recommend in shoes. All our footbeds/insoles (whether built in in our sandals and heels, or removable in all our other styles) have arch support, heel cushioning and support, a metatarsal dome to offload the forefoot, and a cuboid notch to improve foot function.

Our shoes themselves all have a steel shank from the heel to the ball of the foot for structure, ridged heel counters for support, are made of quality leather uppers, and have some sort of fastening to the foot. They also have enough depth to accommodate most orthotic devices. Our most important difference is that all of these features are hidden in a cool pair of shoes!

No Comments

Found: Thongs That Love Your Feet!

Thongs are an Aussie staple; the perfect breezy footwear to take us from beach to BBQ. But ask any physio from Melbourne to Maroochydore and they’ll not exactly be singing the praises of this flimsy footwear…

So, at The Alignment Studio, we’re delighted be offering a healthier alternative this summer! Enter Archies Arch Support Thongs – physiotherapist-developed orthotic thongs that love your feet, thanks to some subtle(!) but effective arch support. The phrase ‘orthotic thongs’ isn’t sexy, but you seriously wouldn’t be able to distinguish Archies from Havaianas in a line up. Only your feet will know the difference!

What’s so bad about regular thongs?

Firstly, they’re flat and offer no support. This is especially problematic for those with increased pronation. When the foot (and subsequently the lower leg) rolls inwards, it alters the way stress and strain are absorbed through the body, potentially causing injury.

Thongs can cause issues for high arches. People with high arches typically take increased stress on the outside of the foot and leg, which can cause injury over time. Arch support helps to more evenly distribute the load across the foot.

The strap is loose. When you walk, your toes are supposed to bend upwards, which activates the arch of the foot. However, most typical thongs have a very loose strap which means you’ll claw your toes to keep your shoes on. The arch therefore doesn’t activate and the foot comes under increased stress, which may lead to damage to the ligaments and joints.

And a flat heel. This can put a lot of stress and strain on the calf and Achilles, causing issues such as Achilles tendinopathy.

They’re banned. Many elite sports teams which have actually banned their athletes from wearing flat thongs!

What’s so great about Archies?

Archies Arch Support Thongs are stylish, uber-comfortable orthotic thongs designed by a young Melbourne physio who got tired of nagging clients about flat thongs. Archies address the issues above with a patented orthotic design in a soft, non-irritating foam (no rubber or latex). Available in six colours, Archies are guaranteed to be the comfiest thongs you’ve ever worn!

Also ideal for indoors, they cushion the feet against hard floorboards and tiles. We recommend them to clients with plantar fasciitis, too, to support and protect the arch while it’s healing.

Archies Arch Support Thongs are available at The Alignment Studio for $40 and make the perfect gift-to-self this Christmas! Ask our team to show you the correct fit for your new favourite thongs.

For more information about some key signs you need orthotics check out our latest blog!

Image Source: trotons.com

No Comments

5 Ways To Reduce Foot Pain From High Heels

With Spring Racing just gone and Christmas approaching, high heel season is in full swing in Melbourne. Which unfortunately means we’ll be seeing an influx of women hobbling through the doors of our CBD physio clinic with foot pain.

The inconvenient truth is, wearing high heels regularly (3+ times per week) is one of the biggest causes of foot and ankle pain in women. Up to a third of women will even suffer permanent problems due to their enduring love for vertiginous footwear.

So what exactly happens when you wear heels?

  • High heels place the foot in an unstable position where the muscles at the back of the ankle shorten and the front muscles lengthen. This destabilises and weakens the ankle.
  • These changes cause the muscles higher in the leg and back to lose efficiency and strength.
  • There’s also an increased load on the knee joint, which can lead to pain and even osteoarthritis.
  • Wearing high heels may increase the risk of back injury, as heel height can overload the muscles of the lumbar spine, leading to muscle fatigue.
  • Finally, when toes are unable to move under an increased load, the chance of bunions developing increases! (Opting for a heel with a wider toe box will reduce the chances).

Now for the good news

While it’s important to be aware of the risks involved with wearing high heels, The Alignment Studio team aren’t total party poopers! We appreciate the close relationship between a girl and her heels, which is why we’ve put together this cheat sheet to minimise foot pain for high heel wearers.

5 tips for healthier high heel wear

  • Stretch your calf and achilles. Use a foam roller a few times a week to roll out your calf muscles.
  • Use a spiky massage ball to roll the arches of your feet. The muscles and plantar fascia (ligament connecting the heel to toes) are very important in maintaining foot and ankle health.
  • Calf raises. Do single leg calf raises, focusing on keeping good alignment throughout the movement. Aim for 3 sets of 15 repetitions.
  • Regular massage will help reduce calf tightness caused by those stilettos.
  • Swap out your stilettos when you can for lower heels and wedges. A heel of 4cm or lower is advised to decrease pressure on the forefoot and help prevent injury.

If you have any concerns about how your footwear is affecting your feet and ankles, don’t hesitate to call and talk to one of The Alignment Studio crew. We’d never make you to wear flats 24/7, but we’ll happily discuss how you can minimise the impact of your high heel habit!


No Comments