The average pair of feet walk approximately 170,000km over the course of a lifetime. This equates to walking roughly five times around the globe! This is an incredible achievement for our body to maintain such a workload. Our feet are a true engineering masterpiece.
With this in mind, looking after your feet should be a common practice, just like a regular service on your car. After all, we would be lost without our car, so why don’t we spend the same about of time and money on our feet?
Most people take theirs for granted and don’t realise how important they are until issues arise. Tasks such as walking the dog, up those stairs at work or the trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night may suddenly become difficult. In line with this, the podiatry industry is a rapidly evolving area of allied health that more people are starting to understand and use. The role of a podiatrist has extended beyond cutting toe nails, debriding corns and treating fungal nails – to becoming an industry leader for foot and lower limb care.
What's a biomechanical assessment?
A great way to assess how your feet and legs are travelling is to visit your local sports podiatry clinic for a biomechanical assessment. This is a full analysis from your hips to your toes, entailing multiple tests ranging from:
- video gait analysis (walking or running)
- pressure plate testing (to assess if you have any high pressure areas while walking)
- footwear assessments, and
- all things in between
Is there a shoe we should all be wearing?
“No, there isn’t a preferred shoe as it’s dependent on each individual’s feet and how they function. After the patient’s assessment, a footwear recommendation sheet is often provided, so that they’re aware what style will suit their needs and foot type.”
– Kyle Richardson
Principal Podiatrist/Director – FNQ Podiatry & Orthotics
Assessing the risk factors
Once the assessment is completed, the podiatrist can then highlight if you have any risk factors for future injury and tailor a treatment plan to help reduce your level of risk.
Risk factors for feet and ankles
- Pronating feet (feet that roll in while walking)
- Foot or ankle weakness
- Tight muscles
- Poor quality footwear
The podiatrist will also address any current issues you have, like that dreaded heel pain, first.
Treatment options are vast and vary depending on what risk factors are present. Further treatment options include:
- dry needling or acupuncture
- foot and ankle joint mobilisation
- custom made insoles that help improve your foot positioning
- deep tissue massaging
- strengthening or stretching programs
Often, a footwear assessment and subsequent change in footwear can address a large number of issues.
After the assessment, your podiatrist can give you a specific referral for the type of shoe that fits the demands of your feet or foot type – anything from running shoes to high heels (maybe not too high though).