Ingrown toenail surgery, Computer designed orthotics, teach people to run efficiently, cut toenails, rehabilitation after foot and ankle surgery, remove horribly painful corns, strength and conditioning for the feet…

The scope of what podiatrists do is extremely varied. To say we are experts in feet and ankles does not answer the question of what we do. We are often asked what on earth we did for four years at university just to work with feet.

In this article I am going to give a brief overview of the vast scope of podiatry so you know when and how we can help you.

Treating toenails in general

To the young and mobile it seems ridiculous to have someone cut your toenails. But the reality is, toenails only ever get further away from you as you get older (even though we get shorter!). Plus, seeing what is happening around those toenails while you cut them does not get easier over time. So yes, podiatrists often cut toenails for those who cannot reach or see them.

Toenails also get beat up in life. From wearing shoes, accidentally kicking things with your toenails and dropping things on them. This trauma can lead to deformed toenails that are hard to cut, or the shape of them causes pain.

Regular toenail maintenance can be a luxury as much as a necessity.

Ingrown Toenails

With the right tools, the right angle and the right skills, Podiatrists can take care of an ingrown toenail with minimal discomfort and maximal effect.

I remember teammates missing football matches due to ingrown toenails when I was younger. This made no sense to me until I became a Podiatrist. It did not take many ingrown toenails for me to connect the dots of why these teammates had missed training or games so many years before. Ingrown toenails are painful!! As anybody who has had an ingrown toenail will tell you, even the weight of a bed sheet hurts.

The good news is that treatment and even permanent removal (so it does not grow back) of an ingrown toenail can be undertaken at the Wollongong Foot and Ankle Centre. And you can be back at work and school as soon as 48 hours later (even the next day if you have a desk job).

Hard Skin: Calluses and Corns

Hard skin build up is a normal response to skin pressure. Think of calluses on a bricklayer’s hands. But as this hard skin builds up on pressure areas of feet, it can become quite painful. And corns, well they are hard skin that has become so dense in a small area it is like having a little piece of glass in your foot (hence why they hurt so much more than callus alone).

The good news is almost all calluses and corns are harmless to remove. Anyone who has experienced the pain of a corn does not believe removal can be pain free, but it is the same as cutting your hair or your toenails. The callus or corn does not have nerve endings so it can be removed while talking to your podiatrist about the weather or who makes the best coffee in town.

Orthotics

Like most things in life, there are orthotics…and there are orthotics. The philosophy at the Wollongong Foot and Ankle Centre is to make orthotics that:

“help feet do their job, especially when they are fatigued.”

Many orthotics try to reinvent feet, give a flat foot an arch or turn a foot out that rolls in. Unfortunately, trying to reinvent feet, with 33 joints in each foot, usually results in uncomfortable orthotics or aches and pains elsewhere in the body.

We aim to work with the 33 joints in each foot, to assist and aid the 33 joints in each foot, and to help feet work with your knees and hips.

At the Wollongong Foot and Ankle Centre, we design your orthotics on the computer and make the devices in the clinic on our mill. With all the processes contained within the clinic, if something is not right with your orthotics, we will be able to work with you and your feet to get the result we need.

Foot and Leg Pain

People go to gyms to lose weight, build big biceps, train their core and butt, however not that many people go to the gym to do “foot day”.

StrongFeet™ is a strength and conditioning program for feet that has the same aim as any other strength and conditioning program; to build stronger, more robust, more durable bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. While not many think about strengthening their feet, the good news is feet are full of the same things the rest of the body is; muscles, tendons, bones, etc.. and these respond to exercise in the same way as the rest of the body. Unfortunately, most of the time when we exercise, feet are in shoes, so they do not get trained and strengthened while you are exercising the rest of your body.

At the Wollongong Foot and Ankle Centre, we prescribe exercises to progressively build stronger, more robust feet. These exercises challenge balance as much as strength and can be beneficial to everybody to treat and prevent foot and leg pain.

Running

“Left-right, left-right. Slightly further. Slightly faster”. This is how most running progression is made. But, what if all those “left-right” steps were lighter, smoother, and more efficient?

Running is made up of lots of repetitions, which we normally refer to as steps. The advantage of thinking of each running step as a repetition is, you are either efficient or inefficient per step. And just like repetitions you do when squatting or planking, you can always become more efficient. The best part of improving efficiency per step when running is that all the small improvements add up to huge improvements given how many repetitions there are per run.

Running Mechanics Sessions booked at the Wollongong Foot and Ankle Centre work with you to improve how efficient you run, so you can run better, further, forever.

Foot and Ankle Surgery Rehabilitation

Successful foot and ankle rehabilitation results in well-coordinated feet working with your brain to provide stability and balance in order to achieve strong, smooth walking.

The Podiatry team at Wollongong Foot and Ankle Centre have worked closely with Dr Meghan Dares to build industry leading surgery rehabilitation programs. All patients are treated individually and all surgery is unique to that individual. End goals may vary from walking the dogs to running a marathon, but the overarching aim is to get back to active living with the strongest, best coordinated feet and ankles possible.