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June 2012

Monthly Archives

Are Flip Flops a Flop for Feet? Choosing the Perfect Sandal

With the warm weather finally here, many people are kicking off their shoes and replacing them with sandals, worse than that, with flip flops. These easy to slip on, fashionable summer shoes have been known in the past to do more harm than good to our feet and legs.

The problem with wearing a basic flip flop is that people tend to walk everywhere with them on their feet. From the park, to the beach, to the office and to the mall without realizing the damage they are doing to their feet.

Anne Putnam, BSc., MSc., C Ped (C)

Originally from Barrie, Ontario, Anne Putnam has travelled around the world in her journey to become a pedorthist. After graduating from Wilfrid Laurier University with her degree in Kinesiology, Anne worked in a physiotherapy clinic, which is where she first noted her interest in lower extremity injuries. Not yet knowing where this interest could lead her, she left Canada to travel and ended up in Australia.

Living in the small town of Curl Curl, north of Sydney, Anne had the beach at the end of her street. She bought a surfboard on her second day in the city and spent most evenings teaching herself to surf. When not riding the waves, Anne worked selling technical footwear at a store called The Athlete’s Foot, similar to Canada’s Running Room. “That was really interesting for me because I got to know a number of different footwear brands prior to coming back and doing my Masters”, notes Anne.

On returning to Canada after a year away, Anne went back to university in 2006 to pursue a Masters degree in Kinesiology, where she specialized in biomechanics. Her interest in lower extremity injuries led her to write a thesis focused on flat-footed individuals and the effects of arch support on different kinematic variables during running. As her research was clinically based, she started working with pedorthist Kim Rau in Kitchener to ensure that her research was clinically appropriate. This was Anne’s first introduction to pedorthics and she was thrilled to discover what she’d been looking for. “I loved research, but I enjoy human interaction and sometimes research can get a little bit lonely!” Anne explained, “When I was introduced to the pedorthics field, I thought this is perfect. You get a lot of lower extremity focus, a lot of footwear education and modification, and the ability to work with your hands too.”

After enrolling in the Diploma in Pedorthics course at UWO, Anne did two practicums with Kim Rau and one with Ryan Robinson, both of whom she has plenty of praise for: “They both really shaped me early on – I owe a lot to them.” After leaving Kitchener and returning to her home town of Barrie ten years after she originally left, Anne worked with Ryan for a year at his clinic before starting out on her own. She now operates her own clinic in Barrie and is part of Pedorthic Services, the collaborative professional group founded by Howard Feigel. Although she admits that she didn’t know where her interests would lead her in her career, Anne is very happy to have found pedorthics and is enthusiastic about the profession; “I love the variety of your day, I love the interaction with the clients, I love the problem solving and I love the ability to work with your hands”.

Anne is currently a member of the Board of Directors on the Pedorthic Association of Canada (PAC). She looks forward to the annual PAC symposiums and most recently attended the conference in Whistler. “Another thing I love about the profession is the pedorthic community as a whole. I enjoy going to the conferences and reconnecting with friends and colleagues as well as getting to know more pedorthists. Everyone is really open to sharing ideas and wanting to further the profession as a whole. It’s so unique in that sense, it’s really wonderful.”

Orthotics Benefit Cycling Mechanics

I just finished riding British Columbia’s challenging cross country mountain bike race in Pemberton BC, and events like this are a reminder to me the beating feet take while cycling.  It can commonly be thought that cycling does not stress the feet or legs because there is no impact such as in running and walking.  Cycling though is very repetitive and requires large amounts of force being generated from the gluts and quads which is then transferred through the feet and into the pedals.  Cycling shoes also stress the feet.  Generally road and cross country bike shoes are very stiff and snug fitting, not a friendly environment for feet.