So are all orthotics the same?

So are all orthotics the same?

  • Needing a pair of orthotics?So are all orthotics the same? - 1
  • Heard mixed messages on how effective they are?
  • Aren’t they all the same anyway?

If you’ve ever even CONTEMPLATED getting orthotics – read this first!
Let me start by answering a question that goes through almost all of my patients minds at some point – nope, orthotics are definitely NOT all the same and when the right orthotic is properly designed for my patients foot using the right materials and design skills that come from years of experience (and very honestly, learning from previous mistakes that others are still making today), yes they ABSOLUTELY do alleviate foot, ankle and low-er limb pain.
In fact, orthotics couldn’t be more different – and in many ways, they should be! Let me explain while answering a few concerns I often hear:

  • Are my orthotics going to be like my pair from my previous podiatrist?
  • I know someone that has had orthotics before but they didn’t help him?
  • What do orthotics actually do?

Let me start in answering these with the first and most important point:

The way your orthotics look and how effective they are are dependent entirely on the skills and preferences of your podiatrist! Yes – your specific podiatrist alone dictates how they are made and using the resources, materials and skills they have available at any point in time. If your podiatrist wants to heat-mold a pre-made, soft, thin orthotic and add a colourful harder piece and call that a custom-made orthotic, then that’s what you get. If you get plaster-cast and the cast gets sent to Canada for a firm, plastic-like device to come back, then that’s the orthotic you get.

What does this mean? Simply and unfortunately put, you may receive a lower quality product (often associated with a cheaper price) that claims to do the same thing, but often fails to produce the same results (pain relief!) and tends to have a shorter shelf-life. Think of it as buying make-up (clearly, this is written from a female perspective). You’re after a lipstick. Sure, you can buy an $8 lipstick from pretty much anywhere, but we know it will never compare to buying a Mac lipstick, that you’ll love and keep using until the very very end.

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So how do I know if my orthotics will be good? Don’t be afraid to ask! They should be more than happy to talk you through the process – I LOVE talking through our orthotic design and manufacture – from the extensive testing of the range of motion of your foot and ankle joints to muscle strength, foot posture index, video gait analysis and 3D laser scanning your foot! But that’s only the part you see – it all then collides when our principal podiatrist and founder, Brenden Brown, designs every single one of our patients orthotics (yes, over all of our clinics!) himself, using his 20 years of experience and the widest range of materials I’ve ever seen as a podiatrist. BUT THEN, our CAD/CAM milling machine actually mills out the base of your orthotic, all in our VERY OWN (and very exciting!) orthotic lab, and hand finished by our orthotic technicians! It’s safe to say that it’s a little more technical than sticking two bits of material together and naming it an orthotic, and FAR more effective.

Finally, think about what your orthotics do! Orthotics have a FUNCTIONAL purpose to alter the alignment of your foot, changing different pressures and strains over your muscles, bones, joints and exactly where you’re having your pain. They address the CAUSE of your lower limb problems to provide you with long-term relief, and when designed and created right, they do this VERY well.

Happy orthotic hunting!

Dr Nina Lansdowne

Podiatrist and Superstar Blog writer

So are all orthotics the same? - 3

Dr Nina , BB and a good looker who happens to be our patient!

When should I bring my child to see a Podiatrist?

When should I bring my child to see a Podiatrist?

His brother has very flat feet and wears orthotics, so I thought I’d get him checked too. He doesn’t get any pain though. I hope that’s okay that I’ve brought him in?

You wouldn’t believe the number of parents I see who are almost embarrassed to have made an appointment for their little one because they’re not sure if they should have.

When should I bring my child to see a Podiatrist? - 1

Little people get pain as well. DON’T wait till your child is in pain to look after them

After chatting to them about why they are uncertain, the most common thoughts floating through a parent’s minds tend to be:

• Is he too young to come in for an appointment? I’m not sure what a good age for this is.
• He doesn’t actually get any pain so I’m not sure if I need to have him looked at?
• I think I might be over-thinking this because it’s only a small thing I’ve noticed!
• This might just be a normal part of her growing, I’m just not sure what’s normal!

These are all very valid thoughts and concerns, and are completely NORMAL!

Unless you’ve undertaken a 4-year podiatry degree and then had at least a few years on top of that working particularly with kids, then there’s not a single person in this world that can expect you to know what is and isn’t normal and when to bring your little one in.

That’s PERFECTLY okay – we’ve taken care of that hard “qualification” stuff for you!

Let me quickly clear up a few of the burning questions:

1. There is NO such thing as too young. We see kids as early as 12 months old – from the moment that they start walking! You’re actually doing us a favour – firstly because the younger we start treating, the better (and faster!) the results tend to be, and secondly because if we have to wait before we start treating, we are able to see and track the progression and changes in your child’s feet. I often ask if the foot was like this a year ago and am often greeted with ‘I honestly don’t know’. The more pieces of the puzzle we have, the more specific we can get in our treatment plan.

2. Pain is NOT the only indicator that something’s wrong. Parental instincts are a powerful thing – if you notice that something is odd, or isn’t quite right, there may well be something going on that needs to be addressed. Don’t doubt yourself!

3. A small thing may indicate something bigger happening. You’re not over-thinking anything at all – everything has a cause, and sometimes something as seemingly small and resolvable as a little bit of in-toeing can actually be a result of a structural foot abnormality that needs correction before it gets worse or weakness in the core muscles that need strengthening to correct and aid normal development.

I think the BIGGEST thing that I want to emphasise here is that we LOVE that you bring your child in at an early age! We LOVE that you just want to get their feet checked to make sure everything is progressing normally. We LOVE that you want to be as proactive as us and prevent any problems from developing instead of having to fix a painful foot after the pain has already started. We will NEVER think it was a bad idea to bring your little one in.

When should I bring my child to see a Podiatrist? - 2

Kids are at the centre of what we do – it’s WHY we come to work – and nothing makes us happier than seeing happy, healthy and active children running around our practice and tearing up our toy box (literally, we have a drawer filled with toys now).

Nina Lansdowne
A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle care
Penrith, St Marys and soon to come to a suburb near you!

A Step Ahead Foot and Ankle care have founded “My Kids Foot Doctor” a clinic specifically geared towards treating Kids feet. We see dozens of kids a day, unlike other practitioners who see your Grandma’s toe nails and the occasional kid we see these balls of fun all day every day.
Our clinics are set up with kids in mind we have big toy boxes, Ipads, TV’s coloring in and lucky dip boxes. Our practitioners are the kind that sit on the ground and chat to your child, who laugh, may wear silly glasses and love handing out chocolate WE LOVE SEEING KIDS!
What does this mean? It means we have built up an enormous amount of experience with kids because we get to see them ALL the time! If we can help you with your little one, if you have a nagging doubt or worry please call our helpful team on 96732987 we’d love to help!
Callous on my foot, Numb toes and this V developing – A runners trifecta!

Callous on my foot, Numb toes and this V developing – A runners trifecta!

Ok so I went to the guys down the road.” Say Lee my Triathlon loving patient says to me. “It’s just really sore here under my second toe, they said it was a Neuroma but they have been trying to fix this for weeks, no months and it’s just not getting better” !

Callous on my foot, Numb toes and this V developing - A runners trifecta! - 1

Callous on my foot, Numb toes and this V developing – A runners trifecta!

The pain that Lee was chatting about was not a surprise to me and nor what I noticed on her foot. She had developed a small V between her 2nd and 3rd toe, had pain under the ball of her foot and had developed a small amount of callous around the same area. Yup I’d seen this many times before!

If she wore tight shoes, high heels or bike shoes in her case she found the pain got worse. If she ran a lot while it may have got numb for a while at the end of the race it got sore! Over time she noticed the split or V sign getting worse.

On seeing this her GP suggested Metatarsalgia, which for years has been a reasonable diagnosis and what most would suggest this may be, However it’s NOT.  The “other guys down the road” AKA another group of Podiatrist, had diagnosed a Morton’s Neuroma, again this is a common misdiagnosis. Often radiologists will under ultrasound call this a Neuroma because these two conditions can look strikingly similar. The scan or ultrasound the Radiologist undertakes is only as good as the information provided to them though your diagnosis in the clinic get it wrong and so will they!

After a bit of pushing and prodding, and watching Lee walk again on our Video walk / run analysis equipment I was now sure what we had BUT I wanted to get another set of eyes to have a look so off she was sent to see a particular radiologist we use all the time. He sees our patients very specifically because he is overly experienced in looking at FEET!

On the report there it was “A plantar plate disruption between the 2nd an 3rd Metatarsal heads.”
So we started Lee on a series of Deep connective tissue massages with our Podiatrist, renewed her orthotic insoles and arranged for her to get some new trainers on our advice.

6 weeks later and BOOM Lee was about to start running again! “I won’t be going elsewhere again” she said and this time I believe her!

Callous on my foot, Numb toes and this V developing - A runners trifecta! - 2

BB’s looking super clever in Bright red Red Foo frames! No BB doesn’t wear glasses!

Brenden (AKA BB)

A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle Care

The GAP between my toes has a name; Plantar plate disruption

The GAP between my toes has a name; Plantar plate disruption

“I don’t think that space between my toes has always been there” is surprisingly a very common phrase to hear from our patients, especially when describing some pain at the front of the foot.

That’s exactly what Lydia came to us with yesterday, after having hoped the pain around the ball of her foot – that started for no particular reason that she can remember as is often the case – would go away on its own – but it keeps getting worse!

The GAP between my toes has a name; Plantar plate disruption - 1

V sign of plantar plate disruption

I’m going to be very frank.

Nope, it’s likely NOT “just the structure of your feet now”, and if you’ve never noticed it before, it very likely “hasn’t just always been like that” – sadly far too many of my patients tell me that this is what they’ve been told by other health practitioners, GP’s and relatives alike, and it’s just not true.

The actual truth: It totally DOESN’T have to stay that way and you DON’T have to put up with frustrating pain that limits everything from general walking to exercise to social outings and everything else we love about life!

Hang on, what makes me so sure??

I couldn’t even tell you how many people I’ve diagnosed and treated with exactly these and other symptoms of a plantar plate injury, ranging from days after pain starting to unfortunately years down the track.

Injuries to your plantar plate are very commonly misdiagnosed and left untreated – you’re not alone there! But it can definitely be fixed – we do it every day! So we have a great, thorough treatment plan that has been tried and tested over many years and hundreds of patients with this exact problem.

The tools in our tool box range from a series of deep connective tissue massage, to 3D-designer laser-scanned custom orthotic insoles (super fancy I know!), to strapping and footwear changes and stretches and everything in between!

Do it – join our healthy, happy and active team of fully recovered patients – give our friendly team a call on – getting rid of pain like this is why we love what we do.

A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle care
Penrith, St Marys and soon to come to a suburb near you!

The GAP between my toes has a name; Plantar plate disruption - 2

Fungal toenails GONE FAST!

Fungal toenails GONE FAST!

Fungal nails will soon become a thing of the past

Fungal toenails GONE FAST! - 1

Fungal or ugly looking nails

It is estimated that over 2 Million people in Australia suffer from Fungal toenails !  (that’s 10% of the Population).  So if you think your nails have a fungus you may well be right!

Fungal nails can be unsightly and embarrassing. Often described as “rotten nails”, patients may describe their nails as varying in colour, from a yellow through to a brown discolouration. The nail may also look like it is thickened or even eaten away.

Sadly treatment to date has been limited with only expensive but often ineffective nail paints or prescription only heavy duty oral medication which while effective taken a long time to work and can have significant side effect for many people. There are a multitude of “home” remedies that are reported to work but most often lead to no success! If Vicks worked on toenails don’t you think the company behind Vicks would have cottoned onto this by now?????

Laser therapy is a new and highly effective treatment for this embarrassing and health effecting problem.

Why choose Laser

  • Highly effective – Fast result
  • Safe – No side effects!
  • No Aesthetic required
  • Comfortable with minimal discomfort
  • Nail Polish can be applied immediately after you leave
  • No need to take medication

Brenden after many years in Podiatry and feeling the frustration of literally tens of thousands of patients took the decision to look for a solution to chronic fungal toenails.  “Each year I see literally hundreds of patients who have struggled with this horrible condition” Says Brenden. “Many of these patients have tried multiple creams lotions and medicament with no relief”. Frustrated by this, Brenden along with some Podiatry friends decided to look worldwide for a solution that would be safe simple and pain free for patients.

In search of an answer Brenden attend a conference in America and after some research found the Class 4 Diode laser now being introduced to A Step ahead foot and Ankle care. Finally he had found an answer which provided patients with simple and safe solution to a complicated problem.

We are now very pleased to be taking bookings for this treatment to fight nasty nail infections!

Call us at Penrith on 47322007 or St Marys on 96732987 if you too would like to the fungal toe nails gone!