Standing occupations and what happens to feet!

Group of industrial workers,workers physician and bussines people

Busy looking people!

Most of us stand or walk everyday but amongst us there is a proportion of our population that do it more than others. We are talking to you Nurses, Builders, Hairdressers, Concreter’s, Teachers, process line factory workers and Check out operators and, and, and and! You guys know more than anyone what a toll standing for hours can do to your feet. Below is a very quick description of some of the more common problems you may have suffered and things we as foot specialists see day in day out and help to treat.

Plantar plate tears / injuries / dysfunction

Is this you? (What it can look like)

• Do you have pain in the ball of your foot? Is it worsened when you stand or possibly wear shoes?

V sign of plantar plate disruption

V sign of plantar plate disruption

• Have you developed the feeling of a lump or a little pea under the ball of your foot?
• Is there dry hard skin (callus) developing under the ball of your foot?
• Have you noticed a small (or large) gap developing between your toes that resembles “V”? This is often the 2nd and 3rd toes, but it maybe any?
• How did it happen? Do you remember tripping falling and developing a pain in your forefoot (ball)? NO you DO NOT have to have had an accident!
• It may have developed slowly over time with no memory of a painful incident.

We see this many times a week and sadly we often see it misdiagnosed and therefore treated as the wrong problem. It can be misdiagnosed as a Mortons Neuroma or at times when people aren’t sure of things (and for many years) some practitioners diagnose Metatarsalgia .
Remember “Grandma’s feet? You know the ones where her big toe had formed a bunion and the next two toes popped up and crossed over each other? Yes those feet you wished you would never get, and swore you would never let it happen to you! Guess what without having it treated pronto –they soon may be yours!

Correct Diagnosis

A big part of this problem is misdiagnosis! You cant diagnose this if you don’t see a stack of it. As a clinic we will always send you for a Ultrasound BUT not just to anyone! Some radiologists commonly miss this and sadly are not familiar with the condition. Make sure when you are referred to get a diagnosis the radiologist knows and has diagnosed Plantar plate tears before!
Clinically your podiatrist should be able to see this quickly but it can be tricky and some Pods are more equipped for general nail care. Choose someone who sees this regularly! ASK!

Treatment

Strong supportive footwear is a key here! Shoes should be solid on the base not bend or twist. Cushioning this condition with fancy air bubbles WILL NOT fix this!

Orthotics (Custom made) – Well-made and designed orthotics will assist poor foot posture and correct alignment. They cannot come out of a packet and fix this, they need to be designed to help address this.

Soft tissue therapy – This condition is often slated straight to surgery STOOOOOOOOP! Unequivocally this condition has a good prognosis with conservative therapy trail first! We see this condition many times a day and get great success. Now we realise not all Pods do soft tissue like we do (Come on pods get to it!) but this is really necessary to go hand in hand with your Orthoses. Orthoses alone WILL NOT fix this. If your Pod wont do soft tissue then find a physio who will!

Surgery. Yes if this condition progresses to an unresolvable tear there is a need for us to refer you to an orthopaedic surgeon for surgery. SURGERY is A LAST resort! On most occasions surgery can be avoided with early quality intervention. As a note we worry about the amount of these we see that have unnecessarily sent to a surgeon. Many times way too early and before conservative care I has been trailed correctly these patients (you) are sent to surgery!

Heel pain

Is this you? (What it can look like)

• Pain on the first few step in the morning or pain on rising after sitting (Or Both)
• Pain Located in the heel area, under the heel where the slightly fatty area is, or pain in the Achilles running up the back of the lower leg.
• Pain may initially subside in first stages after first few steps
• Pain worsened by long period on your feet may become painful after walking or activity for reasonable periods of time.

Heel pain, heel pain relief, heel pain clinic

Heel pain has many varying causes – its NOT just a spur!

Correct Diagnosis

The first thing your friends will tell you is “It’s a Heel spur”. Sadly life is not that simple and where once medicos lumped this into one general diagnosis (Sadly some still do). We recognise that this set of symptoms may be one of many conditions. Plantar fasciitis, fatty pad syndrome, Achilles tendonitis, and even Abductor Hallucis tendonitis can contribute to this pain. Find a practitioner who knows the difference! Again not all practitioners see these things a lot.
At times simple clinical signs are enough, but diagnosis maybe needed via radiology such as diagnostic ultrasound. Xray will show you a spur (Yes I know) but the bony spur is NOT the problem.

Treatment

Strong supportive footwear is a key here yet again ! Shoes should be solid on the base not bend or twist. Cushioning this condition with fancy air bubbles WILL NOT fix this!

Orthotics (Custom made) – Well-made and designed orthotics will assist poor foot posture and correct alignment. They cannot come out of a packet and fix this; they need to be designed to help address this.

Soft tissue therapy – Deep connective tissue massage, will be useful in all the above conditions. Again be wary of people simply telling you that orthotics will get rid of this. They go hand in hand but are not the only answer.

Shockwave – As a clinic we have been using shockwave for about 3 and a half years. As we are “early adopters” of new therapies, this is not as common to other practitioners but the use of this therapy is very handy and growing in popularity. We find this takes half the time that Deep connective tissue does to relieve this in combination with the other therapies.

Stretching – there are some very specific stretches that can be used for this group on conditions and for a large group of individuals this will help. Don’t be discouraged if these don’t work. Look above there are more options and solutions.

Tibialis Posterior dysfunction.
(Super flat feet / Fallen arches)

Is this you? (What it can look like)

• Pain in and around the arch. May be worse after walking or standing
• Discovering you have a “Fallen arch”
• Noticing one arch is lower than the other.
• Pain fatigue during or after walking. Pain on standing on toes ,climbing ladders.Tib Post tendonitis

Correct Diagnosis

This should be fairly easy to diagnose. The lowering of one arch, as opposed to the other, in combination with pain located in the arch. Should lead to an easy diagnosis. Diagnostic Ultrasound maybe used and your Podiatrist (us) can refer you off for this.

Treatment

Strong supportive footwear is a key here yet again and now again ! Shoes should be solid on the base not bend or twist. Cushioning this condition with fancy air bubbles WILL NOT fix this! (Can you see a pattern)

Orthotics (Custom made) – Well-made and designed orthotics will assist poor foot posture and correct alignment. They cannot come out of a packet and fix this; they need to be designed to help address this. IN particular without orthoses this condition WILL NOT get better! Get them and GET THEM QUICKLY!

Soft tissue therapy – Deep connective tissue massage, will be useful in all the above conditions. Again be wary of people simply telling you that orthotics will get rid of this. They go hand in hand but are not the only answer.

Braces – In the initial stages having braces specifically designed to support the arch will support and make steady the arch. It works well at first but is really a short term solution. Look towards orthoses and soft tissue.

Surgery. Yes if this condition progresses to a tear there is a need for us to refer you to an orthopaedic surgeon for surgery. On most occasions surgery can be avoided with early quality intervention.

 

Bunions

Is this you? (What it can look like)

• Your big toe starts to point out towards the smaller toes and is no longer straight

Bunions are a common complaint for many of the population

Bunions are a common complaint for many of the population

• Pain may develop around the big toe joint. Making it difficult to walk or stand
• Many people can have a bunion and not have any pain.
• The toe may begin to twist as well

Correct Diagnosis

On most occasion a qualified health practitioner should be able to diagnose this simply by looking at the clinical signs, however you may require a xray if you are considering surgical intervention.

Treatment

Strong supportive footwear. (Wow we just wont stop talking about this supportive footwear will we!!!) Shoes should be solid on the base not bend or twist. Cushioning this condition with fancy air bubbles WILL NOT fix this! (Can you see a pattern)

Orthotics (Custom made) – Well-made and designed orthotics will assist poor foot posture and correct alignment. This problem is often a result of a variance in the structure of your feet Yet again these cannot come out of a packet and fix this; they need to be designed to help address this.

Soft tissue therapy – Deep connective tissue massage, will be useful in all the above conditions. There is a problem with the balance of two muscle in your feet. This can also lead to another condition that may damage other muscles and soft tissue structure, the plantar plate rupture or dysfunction. Again be wary of people simply telling you that orthotics will get rid of this. They go hand in hand but are not the only answer.

Braces – Often called night splints there is some research that suggests these can be really helpful. I (Brenden) am a little dubious! This relies on you being super diligent on putting the splint on night after night. I always argue that on a Friday night after a busy week and a catch up with the girls after work it’s not likely you’ll want to pop this on before heading to bed. This is where the success of these will fall down BUT if you are super diligent, give them a try.bunion_splint v2

Surgery. Yes if this condition progresses there is often a need or want for us to refer you to an orthopaedic surgeon for surgery. This surgery over years has increased in its success. See a orthopod who does this all the time. Why ? Because ensuring that the person does this and other foot surgeries often increases the chance of success. If they are also doing shoulders knees hips wrists etc etc they simply cant be as use to doing this surgery as someone who does this every day.

 

The HARD sell !
At A Step Ahead foot + Ankle care we see several patients a day with this condition. We have patients that travel literally hundreds of kilometers to seek our help –which is really lovely! Our clinics are set up quite specifically to treat patients with muscle injuries and mechanical problems with their feet. We have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into equipment and the latest technology to help us, help you- beat your pain.
Our principal Podiatrist Brenden Brown is recognized as one of Australia’s leading experts in Podiatry (No really). A past President of the Australasian Podiatry council he is regularly asked for his opinion in the media, appearing regularly on television shows like the Today Show and Magazines like Men’s Health.
It would be a pleasure to help you beat your foot pain.
We are located in Penrith and St Marys in Sydney’s Western suburbs. You can contact us on 47322007 or 96732987 we hope you will……. See that wasn’t so bad was it!

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