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Meet a Pedorthist

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Meet a Pedorthist – John Does

John Does was immediately inspired to help others in the world of pedorthics when an orthotic provider treated him as a runner. He remembers how this particular provider eliminated his over-use symptoms caused by poor gait mechanics.

“I found the process fascinating and the results amazed me,” says John. “No one in my immediate circle had ever heard of orthotics, and as a business-minded individual, I felt that there might be an opportunity to help others understand the benefits of this non-invasive, life-altering approach to treating causes rather than symptoms.”

The southwestern Ontario native studied business at The University of Windsor, and began his pedorthic career in the 1990s. John later returned to education, when he became certified as a C Ped (C). He has always believed in lifelong learning, and continued going back to school while running his business.

“I believe that in life, and in business, you’re either growing or going because nothing stays the same,” he says. John delivered on this philosophy earning an MBA and then a PhD from 2007 through 2016.

In addition to John’s passion for lifelong learning, he also enjoys helping his patients find comfort and return to their favourite activities. “The structure of the human foot is poorly suited to interact with the flat hard surfaces we pound on daily, and the footwear choices that walk into my clinics seem to be getting worse – not better,” John says. “Further, there seem to be fewer and fewer professionals concentrating on gait mechanics. Combine that with a population that is getting older and heavier, and it isn’t a huge leap to suggest it is a great time to be a pedorthist in North America.”

His advice for new pedorthists is to never stop learning. “Effective people in any field are always learning. As pedorthists, we have an opportunity to learn every single day,” he says. “If new orthotics feel strange, that is to be expected.  However, if you create a new pain, something is wrong.  Listen and clarify . . . try to fix it . . .  and then follow up. This will improve your results, help to build stronger relationships with customers, and if you diligently document the process, it will provide a systematic approach to ongoing learning within your clinic.”

John enjoys spending time with his wife and daughters. He likes to travel, read, and participate in most sports – especially hockey and golf. John is also a published humourist and author, in the final stages of publishing a series of children’s books.


Meet a Pedorthist – Dan Steffens

Dan Steffens, C. Ped (C)

Dan Steffens, a clinic owner and Canadian Certified Pedorthist in Barrie, ON, started his career renting out a walk-in clinic and using his parents’ 200 square-foot basement as a lab. As time went on his client base grew, resulting in an abundance of positive casts in the already cramped basement.

When he outgrew that space, Dan moved to a healthcare complex and shared an office with his father. He remained there for about seven months and built up enough clients and referral sources to expand and open his own clinic.

“I ended up in the heart of Barrie and I opened my own multidisciplinary clinic – including physiotherapy, massage therapy, chiropractic, athletic therapy and of course my own pedorthic lab in the very back,” says Dan.

Dan graduated from the University of Guelph in Biological Science – Human Kinetics and continued his post-grad Diploma in Pedorthics at Western University.

“Seeing the intricacy of the foot in my anatomy class really sparked my interest in pedorthics,” Dan remembers. “Learning about the 26 bones, 33 joints and 100 different muscles, tendons and ligaments were also intriguing as well. I have always enjoyed working with my hands and in a healthcare setting.”

Dan enjoys many aspects of the job – including seeing the biomechanical changes immediately after an orthotic is applied. 

“This makes it a very reassuring profession in my opinion, as we can actually see the changes in gait. I also love working with my hands and have always been a tactile learner, which also makes it the perfect career choice for me,” he says.

Dan also finds the job rewarding, especially when he makes follow-up calls after the patient picks up a pair of orthotics. 

“I love hearing the difference I have made in their everyday lifestyle and if there wasn’t success with the original pair of orthotics, I love the challenge for the modifications that need to be applied to the orthotics,” he says.

Outside of work, Dan enjoys playing any kind of sports including wakeboarding, hockey, and frisbee. Not to mention “slicing golf balls and going to church on the weekends.”


Meet a Pedorthist – Christy Shantz

Christy Shantz, C. Ped Tech (C), C. Ped (C)

Christy Shantz always thought she would be a chiropractor – but when she took a job in a pedorthic clinic to make money after school, she knew the pedorthic profession was for her.

“After a year of working in the clinic, I realized that I really enjoyed working with the patients in a hands-on setting and helping to make a difference in their lives,” says Christy, who has now been in the profession for more than 16 years.

She earned a degree in kinesiology at the University of Waterloo, and after her experience at the pedorthic clinic, Christy went on to become a Canadian Certified Pedorthist, and is now the owner of the clinic where she first started out.

Throughout her career, she has remained passionate about her work and loves many aspects of her job.  She adds that her work has been very rewarding throughout the years, and says it feels great to know she has made a difference in her patients’ lives.

“I love the feeling when a patient comes to me in so much pain and I’m able to make a difference in the quality of their lives,” Christy says. “Knowing that I’ve helped people enjoy their activities more comfortably, and in some cases avoiding surgery, it’s an awesome feeling.”

Christy has been a mentor for 12 budding pedorthists, and has enjoyed working with students in the pedorthic program at Western University and helping them earn their certification.

As a self-described “tom-boy,” Christy says she has always loved sports and continues to play in her spare time. She used to run track in university and play soccer, and now plays football, and enjoys golfing with her children.


Meet a Pedorthist – Vince DeVito

Vince DeVito, C. Ped Tech (C), C. Ped (C)

When Vince DeVito’s grandfather emigrated from Italy in 1916, he opened up a shoe repair shop in British Columbia. Now, more than a century later, Vince is continuing to build on the family business.

After hearing requests from his footwear customers for help with their foot pain, Vince decided to pursue certification as a pedorthist. Once certified, he first had a small foot clinic in his retail shoe store, and later opened a larger clinic two doors down.

“Starting as just a shoe repair store, expanding into retail footwear, then on to specialty footwear, and then the pedorthic practice, kept my brain sharp and my interest high,” he says, adding that the shoe business and pedorthics go hand-in-hand.

He says the business is continuing to change through his sons, who are helping to grow it online.

“That’s the future,” he says. “Online will keep us moving forward.”

After 23 years as a pedorthist, Vince says he still enjoys his job every day – particularly working with his great staff and meeting with clients. “Having someone tell me they were unable to walk three blocks without pain, and since receiving their orthotics, they are back to hiking mountains. Changing people’s lives sounds like a cliché, but it really is true.”

Vince plans to stay in pedorthics until retirement – which he says is still far off. “Having just turned 60, I plan on doing this until I can no longer get to the clinic,” he says. “I’m still having far too much fun. I love this profession and the people I spend time with.”

In his spare time, Vince enjoys cross-country skiing with his wife in the winter months. In the summer, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends at their summer retreat on Kootenay Lake. He also enjoys cooking and entertaining for family, and particularly spending time with his new grandson.

 

 


Meet a Pedorthist – Jennifer Gould Andrew

Jennifer Gould Andrew, C. Ped Tech (C), C. Ped (C)

Growing up in Terrace Bay, ON, Jennifer Gould Andrew was an active soccer player, but she suffered from patellofemoral pain syndrome throughout high school and into university. Physiotherapy helped relieve some symptoms, but her world changed when she was referred to Kim Rau and introduced to pedorthics in her first year of university. Her symptoms were completely resolved – and she had discovered her career path.

“I was a kinesiology student at the time, trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life,” says Jennifer, who studied at the University of Waterloo. “(I) decided to go back to the Pedorthist and learn more about the profession. I started volunteering with Kim in clinic and working in the lab while I completed my kinesiology degree… and so began my career!”

After graduating in 1997 she continued working with the same clinic, received her C. Ped Tech (C) and C. Ped (C) designations, and moved to London where she took over a practice located at Western University and worked there for more than 13 years.

Now living in Fredericton, New Brunswick Jennifer continues to practice with a special interest in sports injuries and keeping people active.

Over the years, she has trained at least 10 Pedorthists and continues to be an instructor in the Pedorthic Diploma program at Western University, mentoring the field’s next generation.

Jennifer’s advice to new Pedorthists who would like to achieve success is simple. 

“Your patient comes first,” she says. “Make decisions that are best for them, not what is best for your business. For each patient, think about what you would do if that was your personal scenario.”

In her spare time, Jennifer and her husband stay busy with their family. “My spare time is primarily spent with my family – mainly chauffeuring my two children to whatever sport or activity they have on the go, but also enjoying the outdoors with them in a variety of means throughout the seasons,” she says, adding that sports is still a part of her life too. “In the past few years I have been lucky enough to find more regular ‘me time’ that allows me to enjoy my favourite sport – rowing.”


Meet a Pedorthist – Kerrie Boelsterli-Bailey

Kerrie Boelsterli-Bailey, C. Ped (C)

After graduating from Wilfrid Laurier University 2010, Kerrie Boelsterli-Bailey was working as a Kinesiologist, but something was missing. She recalls, “It just wasn’t really stimulating enough—I wasn’t part of treatment as much as I wanted to be. I knew I had to go back to school.”

“One day I was on Facebook and I saw an ad for Pedorthics and I clicked on it,” Kerrie says. This prompted her to begin researching the profession more deeply, speaking with local pedorthists and specialists. Kerrie is a poster child for the impact digital advertising can have on both young professionals looking at career choices online, as well as the profession’s propensity to really grow. She quickly applied to the Pedorthic Program at Western and became enamoured with the practice.

Kerrie joined PAC in July 2012 as a Pedorthics Student and began practicing after the successful completion of the exams that fall.

“My experience in the profession is still very young, so every case is new and different, she explains. “Just seeing patients leave the clinic with less pain than when they came in is so rewarding.” What she enjoys most though is being able to help people—and relatively quickly compared to other similar professions.

As for her role at PAC, Kerrie brings a real, genuine enthusiasm to the profession. Recently she was able to host her first Pedorthics student from Western’s Continuing Study program and hopes to do that more often. Kerrie hopes not only to leave the student with more knowledge and wisdom as when they begin with her, but to equally gain new skills and ideas through the students.

A native of Belmont, Ontario, Kerrie stayed close to home building a life in St. Thomas with her husband and two small children. In the summer you can find them walking the pier in Port Stanley, and in the winter on local tobogganing hills.


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