I sit down with Kristi and ask her the hard questions about heel pain, what treatments she recommends, what she’s passionate about and what enticed her to podiatry in the first place.
What are the main conditions you see as a podiatrist?
Chronic heel and arch pain. This is not always plantar fasciitis, therefore we need to assess, diagnose the condition and set the right plan of action.
How do you diagnose and assess?
We do a biomechanical assessment to look at the foot posture and how the feet are functioning. This helps us to diagnose what might be causing the pain and whether it is the foot function, the activities being undertaken or the footwear that is being worn. Sometimes pain can be caused by your body being out of alignment, therefore we have Musculoskeletal Therapy, Osteopaths and a traditional Chinese herbalist here to help with some other issues too.
Why do we get such heel and arch pain, especially in the morning or after being sedentary?
There is often pain from inflammation which has occurred from exercise or the incorrect footwear from the day before.
The reason this happens is that metabolites (waste products from the healing process) form when you’ve been sitting or lying down for a period of time, once you start moving again, these toxins move through the inflamed area and cause pain.
As a podiatrist you talk about active inflammation. What is this?
It is where an existing area of inflammation is being re-damaged and over strained by continual use. Where you are still exercising or using those muscles and tissues in a way that is not helping them to rest, recuperate and recover.
What techniques do you use in your practise?
This depends on the longevity of the condition.
Early Stages – we use an anti-inflammatory approach, where we encourage icing the area, massage, foot rolling, footwear changes, strapping and sometimes customised orthotics.
Chronic Stage – is where the brain has become used to the inflammation and quite often doesn’t respond in a healing process anymore, so we need to kick start it all again. This is where we use Radial Shockwave Therapy.
What is Radial Shockwave Therapy?
It is our innovative technology. It is high energy acoustic waves that are transmitted through the surface of the skin and spread into the body. The body responds with increased metabolic activity around the site of the pain and inflammation. This stimulates and accelerates the healing process. It is non-invasive and rapidly decreases the pain over a few weeks. In fact, it has been shown through clinical trials to have an 80% success rate in treating heel pain.
What do you specialise in?
Heel and Arch pain for sure. I have spent the last 15 years developing the Heel Pain Program which tackles this chronic and more often than not, life limiting condition. This is where we treat the inflammation and pain in the short term and address the underlying cause of the problem with ongoing support and rehabilitation of the foot to reduce the risk of it reoccurring in the future. It’s my job, as their podiatrist, to work in partnership with my patients and help them follow their treatment plan.
Is heel and arch pain preventable?
Yes, by choosing the correct footwear for their foot type. Getting professionally fitted can enable this to happen. Choosing shoes the right length, the right width and choosing the correct shoes for the different activities is essential in prevention of pain.
Why did you choose to be a Podiatrist?
I have always enjoyed communicating with people and finding out more about them. I knew I always wanted to work in the health profession but it wasn’t until I did work experience with a podiatrist and saw the diversity of the profession, from working with all of the different ages and many different treatment types. I knew that podiatry could offer a diverse career that I could be passionate about. I really love the fact that I can help people get back on their feet, living life, feeling good and doing the things that they love again.
What are you passionate about?
My passion is in caring about people in a Holistic way. No one condition is only one layer deep. As practitioners we need to consider what the cause is, what other conditions might have been caused by it or have contributed to it. Does the person need emotional support? Is their immune system effected by diet, lifestyle or sleeping habits?
This is why I created our Allied Health (& wellness?) clinics in Berwick and Patterson Lakes. We are able to help our patients care for their whole body, heal themselves and improve their overall health and wellbeing. To make a real difference in enhancing the health of a person, that’s what keeps me doing what I do everyday.
What are your two hot tips?
- If you’re having trouble finding shoes that are comfortable, go to see a podiatrist to get the right advice.
- Don’t rapidly increase activity levels when your body and feet aren’t ready for it.
If you feel like Kristi or the many other amazing practitioners here at Casey Allied Health or Patterson Lakes Allied Health could help you and your health in any way, make sure to call and make an appointment. To keep up to date with all our allied health news, make sure you subscribe to our fortnightly