Podiatrists are trained to diagnose, treat, and manage problems associated with the foot and lower limb, including:
Foot problems can be easily treated
Feet are prone to aches and pains and a variety of problems and conditions. These can include corns and calluses, tinea, bunions, papillomas and ingrown toenails. Most foot problems are easy to avoid and simple to treat. People with diabetes are more likely to develop serious foot problems.
Corns and calluses
Corns and calluses are caused by pressure and friction. They are treated by debriding or paring the callus and removing the centre of the corn. Pads are often used to reduce the friction and pressure of the corn. Your treatment will also include advice on the type of footwear suitable for you and in some extreme cases assess the need for orthotics to reduce excessive weight bearing forces on the foot.
Tinea is easy to catch and is often picked up in communal areas, such as public showers. It usually develops between the toes, causing the skin to become red, moist and itchy.
Fungal nails are the most difficult nail condition to treat. The nail becomes thick, brittle and discoloured. Often the nail plates crumbles and separates from the nail bed. Treatment involves reducing the thickness of the nail and using an anti-fungal medication.
Bunions are a genetic foot deformity in which the big toe joint of the foot is distorted, leading to the toe pointing inwards and the bone protruding. The joint is easily inflamed by pressure, particularly from shoes, and can be very painful.
Treatment is likely to include the prescription of orthotics to help stabilise the joint and slow down further progression of the deformity and sometimes surgical correction may be required.
There are many medical causes of heel pain but by far the most common cause is associated with inflammation of the plantar fascia, called plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a broad fan shaped strap of strong body tissue which stretches from the bottom of the heel bone to the ball of the foot. It helps to hold the foot bones and joints in place. When it is over stressed (over stretched) typical symptoms occur. The heels hurt most of all first thing in the morning or after a period of rest. The heels are also very sore after standing for a long time.
A foot X-ray is organised for you by Christian and often reveals the presence of heel spurs, which are sharp spikes of bony over growth on the bottom of the heel bone. Heel spurs are a sure sign of an over stretched plantar fascia.
It is important to find out what is causing the strain and inflammation of the plantar fascia. Examination of the joints and muscles in the foot and leg and checking of posture will show that individuals will have a unique structure that affects the walking pattern.
The aim of treatment is to give you a normal walking pattern by enabling the foot to work properly and thus to take the excessive strain from the plantar fascia and the base of the heel bone. This will include the prescription of orthotics which are made from a precise plaster cast taken of your foot, to prop the foot bones and control foot motion during gait. When your orthotics are fitted you will also be provided with an exercise and stretching program.
Papillomas are warts that can be caught by touching an infected site on a person. They are commonly picked up from public showers and swimming pools.
Christian aims to create an “immune response” for treatment.
Ingrown toenails can be very painful and generally occur due to poor nail cutting technique, abnormal nail shape or poor footwear.
Many ingrown toenails can be treated without the need for surgery, although conservative measures may mean that you need treatment at regular intervals. If surgery is required, it is very likely that it can be done without admission to hospital and can be treated by Christian under local anaesthetic with the procedure taking an hour or less.
Abnormal thickening of the toenail is a common complaint.
They usually occur as a result of an injury to the toe nail bed, such as dropping a heavy object on your toe. They can also result from fungal infections. They are easily treated and can be painlessly thinned down. However they often require ongoing care.
Podiatric attendance will keep your feet in good walking order
People with diabetes are at risk of foot problems
People with diabetes are more likely to develop serious foot problems, including:
Reduced blood flow to the feet, which makes minor cuts and abrasions slow to heal
Damaged nerves in the foot, which results in a reduced ability to feel minor trauma
People with diabetes should:
Check their feet daily for cuts, blisters, bruises or signs of injury which they may not have felt happening
Have an annual foot check-up with a podiatrist
Foot problems and older people
Podiatric attendance can help older people stay active by keeping their feet healthy. Some older people are unable to look after their feet because they have poor vision and limited flexibility. Some common problems treated include:
Nail problems, such as thickened or deformed nails that are difficult to cut
Soft tissue disorders, like sore arches
Foot injuries in sport
Some of the more common sporting injuries, which Christian treats, are:
Stress fractures of bones (these are caused by too much activity)
Arch pain (plantar fasciitis)
Inflammation of the tendon at the back of the ankle (Achilles tendonitis)
Pain at the base of the big toe (sesamoiditis)
Many foot problems start in childhood
Christian can help with the correct foot development of children of all ages, including:
Infants who are just starting to walk
Pick the right shoes for your feet
Christian can help you to choose the right shoes for your feet, especially for people who stand on their feet a lot at work or those with arthritis. A good shoe should have:
A firm heel so that it doesn’t slip off your feet as you walk
Sufficient depth and width at the toes. There should always be a short space between the tip of the longest toe and the end of the shoe
A leather upper
A sole made from a manmade material like rubber. These are less slippery than leather
Inserts for shoes
Christian may need to prescribe orthoses, which are custom-made shoe inserts. These help to:
Realign bones in the feet and legs
Reduce pain in the feet and joints like the knees and hips
Where to get help
Christian De Brennan – Accredited Podiatrist
Phone: (02) 9960 8200
The Australian Podiatry Association (NSW)
Phone: (02) 9698 3751
Your Local GP
Things to remember
Podiatrists are University-trained professionals.
Podiatrists perform some surgical procedures.
Members of the Australian Podiatry Association are bound by a code of ethics.
Most common foot problems can be easily avoided and simply treated.
Make sure that you and your children wear shoes that fit properly and support your feet.
People with diabetes should check their feet daily and have them assessed by a podiatrist at least once a year.
You do not require a Doctor’s referral to see Christian De Brennan.**
(**Unless you are a DVA Card Holder or on an EPC Plan)