Recent Articles

A fresh perspective on osteoarthritis management

Newcastle Podiatry - Thursday, December 03, 2015

Osteoarthritis is a wearing of the smooth tissue called cartilage that allows bones to glide on one another when we move our joints. If joints are not aligned well or not functioning correctly often the “wear and tear” is exacerbated, causing pain.

I’m sure that many people can relate to the feeling of morning aches, pains and stiffness in the joints or not having that former spring in their step. Many others especially in their “retirement years” I’m sure will relate to severe and sometimes debilitating joint pain.

Quite often, as practitioners, we have discussions in our rooms about how patients have been told by doctors or surgeons that they have osteoarthritis. These patients frequently comment that there is “nothing that can be done” and tend to present frustrated or dejected by their prognosis and the limited treatment options available to them.

Pharmaceutical analgesics or surgery is regularly suggested, but sometimes isn’t convenient due to family or financial commitments. At other times it is on the surgeon’s advice that patients delay surgery for as long as possible and have to put up with ongoing pain.

In such cases podiatrists may be able to help. Indeed, there is no cure for osteoarthritis, but we can manage symptoms and causative mechanics through the use of prescription foot orthoses. By limiting unwanted movement in joints and allowing optimal movement in corrected directions or planes we can have a positive effect. We can use orthoses to unload certain joints or aspects of joints, particularly those of the toes, mid foot, heel, ankle, knees and hips.

In summary, we can’t fix osteoarthritis. However, we can offer a conservative, relatively cost effective means to manage symptoms and the problem. This is because osteoarthritis is very much a mechanical issue. Orthoses and appropriate footwear may be a means to avoid surgery, limit medication, prevent the condition from worsening or even as a short term measure until surgery is more appropriate or convenient.

Toe walking

Newcastle Podiatry - Friday, March 13, 2015

Why does my toddler always walk on tip toes? Is this a problem?

Toe walking is not just as simple as a child choosing to walk on tip toes – often it's a sign of an underlying physiological or neurological condition, so getting to the root of the cause is important.

Physical issues
Toe walking can be caused by physiological reasons, where the child's heel simply can't make contact with the ground due to growth and a tightness of the calf muscle, or a congenital shortening of the muscle. Most children grow out of it as they get older. But if they're unable to walk on their entire foot, there can be an underlying neuromuscular issue. Our podiatrists will work with other specialists to diagnose what this cause may be before devising an appropriate treatment.

Spectral issues
Some children are physiologically able to walk normally but resist the urge. If that is the case, it is possible to explore the possibility of cognitive disabilities or disorders, such as autism spectrum. Often seen with this is a tactile sensitivity around the foot which may manifest as an unwillingness to wear shoes or complaint when walking on uneven surfaces.

Sometimes toe walking is a result of a child experiencing trauma to the foot, such as a foot fracture or burn, so they may walk on their toes to reduce the pain. It's important podiatrists help such children, as prolonged toe walking can lead to them having a reduced range of motion.

No reason
Some children walk on their toes for no explainable reasons, which in medical speak is called "idiopathic". In this case, your podiatrist will use a number of strategies, including stretching techniques and fun exercises to do at home to teach them to walk normally. This may also include night splinting and prescription functional foot orthotics.

The first step in treating toe walking is to determine the cause so you're your podiatrist and healthcare team can promptly treat it. The earlier we can help your child learn to walk correctly, through thorough biomechanical examination and diagnosis the better the long term outcomes.

If you have any such concerns please call our team to make an appointment.

Posterior Tibialis Tendon Dysfunction – What does it mean for me?

Newcastle Podiatry - Thursday, December 04, 2014

The posterior tibial tendon serves as one of the major supporting structures of the foot, helping it to support the arch while performing weight bearing activities particularly walking and running. Posterior tendon dysfunction (PTTD) is a condition characterised by tissue damage within the tendon that leads to deterioration of function and ultimately impairing its ability to support the arch, impeding daily living.

PTTD can initially manifest as pain, redness and swelling along the inside of the lower leg, medial ankle and arch. It is categorised into 4 stages of severity depending on strength, pain and foot posture deformity. It can commonly progress and be very debilitating with permanent structural damage a long term outcome. It can occur rapidly transforming a normal arched foot into a flat painful one. Factors contributing can include increased body weight, poor footwear or barefoot activities, a flattened foot posture or higher load activities such as forefoot based sports.

Clinical assessment by a trained podiatrist includes thorough assessment of gait patterns, footwear, physical activities and biomechanical assessment to help diagnose and dictate treatment options. Imaging through the form of x-ray, Ultrasound and MRI can also be useful tools to help establish severity and rule out differential diagnoses. Identifying underlying contributing factors is crucial to affective treatment. The overriding treatment is to take load away from the tendon and affected structures using prescription functional foot orthotics which ensure your feet work in their optimal position. Activity modification, anti-inflammatories and footwear changes, also play a role.

Due to the progressive nature of the condition, early intervention is advised. If correction is warranted at the foot, Orthotic therapy is an effective tool to unload the structure. Orthotics can help stop progression and prevent recurrence in both the short and long term ensuring a return to sport and daily living is comfortable.

Running injuries

Newcastle Podiatry - Monday, October 20, 2014

I want to start running to boost my fitness – how can I avoid injury?

Running injuries

If you're a runner, there's arguably no better place than our own backyard. Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Hunter Valley boast some of world's best running tracks, and whether you're taking a jog through Glenrock Reserve and along the Fernleigh Track or following the picturesque paths of Merewether and The Hill there's a route that will pique any runner's interest.

The great thing about running is it's cheap, it's good for our health and most people can do it. The trouble is, podiatry practices are packed with people suffering injuries from recreational running. But with the right podiatric help with technique and management, you can enjoy running without the injuries. Here's how:

  1. Get a good training plan. Understand your goals and how to achieve them. Speak to your podiatrist for tips on how to look after your muscles with stretching and strengthening exercises. The bulk of injuries are from overuse of particular joints and muscles.
  2. Review your Biomechanics. Only podiatrists fully understand how the lower limb functions in running and walking gait, spending years studying both pre and post graduate, techniques to enhance your running style via adjusting your method or utilising prescription functional foot orthotics.
  3. Choose the right footwear. We can help you find the optimum footwear for your body to help maximise your lower limb mechanics. Utilising the best local providers and our relationships with major footwear brands to select the optimal shoe for your activity and distance.
  4. Take rest days. Too much of the same can lead to injury – not overusing is the key so it's best to take regular rest days from running before it's too late and you're stuck on the couch.
  5. Rehabilitation. Our Podiatrists can rehabilitate your injuries if you’ve already suffered one. From hip, knee, foot and ankle all can be diagnosed and an appropriate exercise regime given. Podiatry is the first port of call these days from rehab due to our progressive understanding of whats best to put you back on the running trail.

Morton’s Neuroma

Newcastle Podiatry - Monday, October 20, 2014

I get a lot of pain under the ball of my foot between the third and fourth toes – what is going on?

If you're suffering from burning, tingling, numbness or shooting pain, it's possible you're suffering from Morton's neuroma. It occurs when fibrous tissue forms around the nerve that runs between the metatarsals and into the web space, usually between the third and fourth toes.

Morton's neuroma is caused when the nerve is compressed or irritated, often as a result of an increase in flexibility of the forefoot in walking or running gait. Wearing high heels or tight-toed shoes can also exacerbate this. People with really flexible feet or who repeatedly put pressure on the forefeet through things like running in minimalist shoes or shoes of poor quality can also be at risk.

Unlike broken bones or torn ligaments, this nerve pain can be harder to diagnose. An ultrasound or MRI can help detect it and the good news is that once it's been diagnosed, there are a wide range of treatments available by our podiatrists.

Sometimes simply changing shoes or controlling the foot with suitable prescription functional foot orthotics can be enough to control super flexible feet. In more extreme cases cortisone injections or surgery is required to ease the pain and it is important that an appropriately qualified podiatrist assist, well out of the realm of your normal physical therapy style practice.

If this sounds like your pain, your best bet is to make an appointment with your podiatrist to get to the root of the problem as soon as possible.

Treatment of Hard Corns

Newcastle Podiatry - Thursday, September 11, 2014

Treatment of Hard Corns (Heloma Durum)

Treatment of Hard Corns (Heloma Durum)Hard corns can occur anywhere on the feet; usually over areas that have an underlying bony prominence. Hard corns on the little toes, on the outside, are almost always caused by footwear pressure. The shoes may be too tight, stiff or the style may not suit the shape of the foot. Sometimes seams in socks or stockings may also aggravate the development of corns.

Corns are a response by the body to friction and pressure they differ from a callous in that they have a central focus of pressure. As a result of this they have a core or nucleus. This is not living but a centre of the corn consisting of the same keratin that all callouses and corns are made of.

Some people may head to the pharmacy for a "corn cure". It is important to stress the damage that corn products which contain an acid can do! (Especially if the circulation to your feet is impaired or you have loss of protective sensation.) Many people do not know what their foot risk status is.

So how can you get rid of corns? It is important that the causative factors are identified and dealt with. In shoe pressures or a bony change on the bottom of the foot or toes can be the cause. Having our podiatrist remove the corn and look at preventative strategies will assist. This may be ongoing general treatment of the callous or corn or the use of deflective orthotics and toe wedges to alleviate.

Appointment Keeping and SMS Reminders

Newcastle Podiatry - Thursday, September 11, 2014

From the Front Desk….

Our patients time is extremely important to us here at Newcastle Family and Sports Podiatry therefore it is important for everyone to try and get to their appointment on time and to check in with us here at the front desk as soon as you arrive. This not only maximises the time you get to spend with your podiatrist, but also that of all our patients for the day.

If you are going to be running late, due to traffic delays etc. please just give us a quick call so we can advise your podiatrist and manage your appointment time accordingly.

We also realise that life does get busy. Between juggling work, family and all of our other daily commitments, we can sometimes forget an appointment that may have been booked months ago. That’s why we like to send out a sms reminder to remind you of your appointment day and time.

This will be sent out to you two days before your appointment, ensuring you have enough time to either confirm that you will be attending or to reschedule to another time. As you can imagine when a patient fails to arrive or reschedule an appointment without adequate notice then we can no longer offer that time to anyone else who may need it.

If you have a mobile number and are not currently receiving a sms from us then please speak to one of our Front Office staff so we can update your records.

Don’t worry though if you don’t have a mobile as we can still call you personally on your home or work number to confirm.

And the winner was

Newcastle Podiatry - Thursday, September 11, 2014

And the winner was…. 

We are pleased to announce that Nathan Matthews was the lucky winner of our draw for the signed Jets Jersey. We had a fantastic response, but unfortunately there can be only one winner, so congratulations to Nathan from all the team at Newcastle Podiatry.

Welcome Back

Newcastle Podiatry - Friday, August 08, 2014

Last month we closed our practice for a week to allow us to complete some renovations to the interior of the practice. We are now pleased to say that we have now reopened and the difference to the practice is fantastic. We have remodeled the layout of our reception area allowing easier access for our elderly or wheelchair bound patients, as well as updating all of our rooms. I am sure you will agree that the changes give the practice a wonderful fresh new look.

Back to Running. If it hurts what can I do?

Newcastle Podiatry - Thursday, August 07, 2014

Commonly this time of year a lot of us, young and old, will pick up our running preparing for the summer season, whether just to gain fitness or preparing to compete in various activities. Running is the simplest and cheapest recreation activity that you can do offering good fitness and lifestyle benefits across the age spectrum.

The biggest issue however becomes overuse or acute injuries which then see us out for an extended period delaying to stopping achievement of desired goals. Running does make up the large majority of injuries we see. These include repeated and degenerative injuries as well as acute injuries.

How do you achieve you goals safely, pain and injury free? The answer is three fold.

  1. 1. An assessment of what you are trying to achieve, your goals, whether it be a marathon to two episodes of five kilometres a week. This may include a running program to build your kilometres or manage your previous injuries so that they don’t re occur.
  2. 2. A preparation and injury management plan. This will include considering previous injuries along with a stretching/strengthening program to manage those and prevent others occurring. It can be as simple as showing you stretches or completing rehabilitation with us.
  3. 3. A thorough assessment of your running and or walking biomechanics, focused around how your lower limb functions in certain phases of running and the need to assist and optimise using appropriate footwear, orthotics and stretching.

Put together these three items will see you pain free achieving your goals both tomorrow and for the future.

email us - 51 Denison St, Hamilton East - 02 4961 4411