I grew up in the Netherlands in a family that was always involved in shoe retail and shoe repair. When I was 18 I decided to follow in my family footsteps so I began an eight year apprenticeship program in orthopaedic shoe making. I have been a custom shoe maker for more than 25 years and I continue to enjoy every aspect of my career; the creativity, helping people with their mobility, and the long-term relationships I develop with my customers (I have been working with some of my them my entire career!).
When I’m away from my clinic and I tell people I am a Canadian Certified Pedorthist the response is often a blank look followed immediately by “a what?” I love my profession so I am more than happy to spend time explaining what I do and why it is such a rewarding career. This is what I tell the many people who ask:
As a Canadian Certified Pedorthist, I am a member of my patients’ healthcare teams. I assess and consult with patients following a referral from their family physician or another healthcare professional. It is similar to the relationship a doctor has with a pharmacist. With a doctor’s prescription, I provide orthotics, footwear or other services to help improve the patient’s condition and to help alleviate pain, abnormalities and debilitating conditions of the lower limbs and feet.
I’ve always been very active. When I was a child I loved to run and I played a lot of sports. I’m still an avid runner. I don’t run competitively but I just love getting out for a run. However, I’m flat footed and I suffered a number of injuries when I was younger. If it wasn’t for the help I received from a Pedorthist, I would never have been able to continue running.
Although retirement is supposed to be a time to take it easy, retirees spend a lot of time on their feet. Many of the pleasures of having a little more free time – travelling chasing after grandchildren and volunteering– require a lot of standing or walking. However, seniors’ enjoyment of these simple long awaited pleasures is often reduced because of foot problems that develop with age.
As people grow older, their feet change in shape and size, the fat pads on their heels and the balls of their feet may decrease, and many develop poor circulation in their lower limbs. Although these changes are a normal part of aging, seniors need to pay extra attention to their feet or they may develop serious pain and mobility issues which will prevent them from doing the things they love.
Dull, aching knees is a common complaint from sports enthusiasts to young moms to seniors alike. When knee pain strikes, many people are quick to look for a cause and a cure but often they look in the wrong place.
People automatically assume when their knees hurt, the cause of the problem must be within their knee, but often it is not the case. There are many different causes of knee pain, and one of the most common is what people least expect – their feet.
In a social situation when people learn I am a foot expert they often reveal they are experiencing heel pain and ask me how they can treat it. Plantar fasciitis, also known as heel pain, is a very common foot condition. However, it, like other common foot conditions, does not have a one-size-fits-all treatment. Pedorthic treatment is very effective at treating foot pain and increasing mobility but it is highly individualized as all patients have different foot mechanics.