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Meet a Pedorthist

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Alicia Fenn, C. Ped (C)

Alicia Fenn found a love for kinesiology and through working at Kintec realized her passion for bracing and orthotics. After achieving her C. Ped (C) certification in 2017, she moved to Williams Lake, but there were no pedorthic clinics in the surrounding area. Alicia worked with Kintec to open Cariboo Orthotics, the first pedorthic clinic in the Cariboo region of BC.

Driven by a love for helping people overcome mobility barriers, Alicia is proud to show people the benefits of footwear, orthotics, bracing, and compression. Though she had not foreseen herself becoming a business owner, Cariboo Orthotics has been successfully providing support to clients since 2017. Now Alicia is training a C. Ped (C) candidate and growing the pedorthic community in the region.

Having a passion for her career, Alicia believes that pedorthists should always care about peoples’ wellbeing. She says that a great pedorthist pursues continuing education, openly asks advice of and shares advice with other pedorthists, researches new products and techniques as technology grows and be open and approachable to potential clients.

Alicia is extremely active all throughout the year. She loves snowboarding, cross country skiing, skating, and ice fishing in the winter, and hiking, biking, running, paddle boarding, fishing, swimming, and gardening in the warmer months.

Meet a Pedorthist – Darius Dinshaw, C. Ped (C)

Darius Dinshaw, C. Ped (C), firmly believes that if you love what you do you will never work a day in your life. He lives for helping people, innovating, and challenging himself. As an Athletic Therapist, Darius held a wonderous fascination with the human body’s complexity, and the value that proper movement can bring to someone’s health. However, while training athletes as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, he consistently observed opportunities for further improvement by addressing and attempting to optimize foot and ankle biomechanics. Darius became obsessed with comprehensively understanding lower extremity biomechanics and its influence on the entire body.

After achieving his C. Ped (C) certification, Darius began to focus his practice on running biomechanics. In the west greater-Toronto-area, he worked with a variety of recreational short to long distance runners and a handful of triathletes. After about five years into practice, Darius realized that these body alignment improvements should not be limited to just active individuals but that there was a dire need for the general public to appreciate and value the importance of footwear and its impact on improving body alignment. He co-founded Align Custom Fit Footwear & Footcare in 2013. Him and his partner worked tirelessly to source footwear that was fashionable and well-structured while challenging major footwear designers to offer options that were structurally sound. Since then, Align has developed and received patent pending status on their Pitch Perfects – orthotics designed specifically for heels. While he is not an advocate for high heel wearing, he appreciates the compliance his patients experience when their needs are understood and accommodated. His perspective is that “While footwear is medical apparel, fashion is a way our patients expresses oneself. People should feel amazing in what they wear; from both a comfort and emotional perspective.”  In late 2018, Align expanded and introduced Canada’s first luxury medical footcare spa with the same intention of compliance, preventative care and that healthcare should be an enjoyable experience.

With hopes to one day introduce environmentally sustainable solutions for the orthotic and footwear industry, Darius encourages other young medical professionals to innovate. “Evidence based research is an extremely valuable tool to help health care professionals make informed decisions about patient outcomes. It is critically necessary in the continuous advancement of our profession and must be pursued,” he says. “However, remember that just because something is not proven through research, doesn’t mean it’s not true. With technology advancing so rapidly, do not underestimate how quickly it can flip an industry upside down.”

Darius loves providing positive footcare experiences to his patients and customers. His passion for athletics carries on outside his professional life through mountain biking, snowboarding, and running.

Meet a Pedorthist – Jenna Dibblee, C. Ped (C)

While pursuing an education in athletic therapy, Jenna Dibblee, C. Ped (C), found herself struggling with sidelining athletes due to pain or injury. She always strived to find a safe solution to allow participation. Her interest in bracing led her to start job shadowing a pedorthist during her undergraduate studies in Kingston, ON. Learning from a mentor opened her eyes to a field she was unaware of at the beginning of her educational path.

After receiving her pedorthic certification, Jenna began working as a pedorthist in Ottawa, making custom orthotics and specializing in orthopedic bracing. At the same time, she worked at Carleton University as a certified athletic therapist with the varsity rugby team. Since then, she has moved to Port Perry, ON where she works seasonally as an athletic therapist at Ontario Tech University, and part time at BioPed Lindsay as a pedorthist.

Jenna finds her work very rewarding, especially when patients with knee osteoarthritis try on an unloading knee brace and notice instantaneously decreased pain. “The looks of shock and tears of relief are well worth the investment,” she says. Jenna always tries to make a lasting connection with her patients. “We have the privilege to spend adequate one-on-one time with patients so that they feel heard and that their concerns are addressed.” She finds that patients are appreciative when pedorthists focus on patient education.

Her clinic having reopened since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jenna’s appointments are now scheduled further apart to allow for thorough disinfecting and sanitizing procedures. Staff at her clinic are all equipped with appropriate personal protective equipment and patients are screened prior to and upon arrival.

Jenna hopes to one day pursue her master’s degree in rehabilitation sciences so she can teach and inspire future students in the applied health care field.

Meet a Pedorthist – Laura Pantano, C. Ped (C)

In her years after high school, Laura Pantano, C. Ped (C), was unsure what career path to take. She went to college for dental assisting, but after completing the program she decided to apply to Brock University’s Kinesiology program. Having grown up playing soccer and sustaining a few injuries along the way, Laura was always interested in researching ways to improve her recovery. After graduating, she was offered an apprenticeship at a pedorthics clinic. Though this opportunity did not work out, Laura was set on a career path and studied to get a diploma in pedorthics.

After receiving her PAC certification, Laura worked for four years in the clinic where she completed her final educational placement. There, she learned practices for fabrication and casting. After that, Laura found an open position for a pedorthist at a local prosthetic and orthotic clinic near her home in the Niagara region. She was thrilled at the opportunity to work alongside prosthetists and orthotists and has since been caring for a range of patients she never imagined. “From custom made knee ankle foot orthosis (KAFO) devices to prosthetic limbs through osteointegration, the diversity of the patient population that comes through our doors is immense,” Laura says.

Laura has been integrating the latest scanning and 3D printing technology into foot orthotics. Her company is developing a device using 3D printing that is just as good, if not better than the traditional fabricated foot orthotic. “We have a great team of technicians that I work alongside and hopefully by 2021 I can start dispensing (the new orthotics) regularly,” Laura says.

Laura tries not to bring her workday – good or bad – into her home. “Since we spend the majority of our time outside of our families, I give mine my full attention when at home,” she says. Laura has three children, two of which are twins. In her spare time, she loves to play soccer, although her league is currently shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the pandemic began, she has taken up long distance running. Laura also loves being outdoors with her children, riding bikes, going to the beach, hiking, and playing in their backyard.

Meet a Pedorthist – Heidi Scott, C. Ped (C)

Heidi Scott, C. Ped (C), found herself driven toward a career in pedorthics after gaining experience early on working with mobility challenged children. After founding HealthQuest in 1995, she operated as an independent health supply business in Newfoundland and Labrador. After 20 years of building the now well-known and respected HealthQuest, Heidi sold her business and relocated to Ontario. There, she works as an independent vendor licensee with the Hudson’s Bay Company.

For Heidi, the most rewarding thing about being a pedorthist is her relationship with her clients. She says a pedorthist should always appreciate their clients’ and welcome suggestions “you can’t fix what you never hear about, so I really appreciate client feedback”, she sees it as an opportunity to improve on evolve to a best level of service.

Heidi is very proud of her accomplishments with HealthQuest. Growing a business that has become so widely known has allowed her reach to extend to more people in need of a pedorthist’s help. Under Heidi’s ownership, HealthQuestexpanded operations four times, having opened two locations in Newfoundland and Labrador – one in St. John’s and one in Grand Falls-Windsor.

“I’m also very happy that I was able to attract the attention of a major national brand like the Hudson’s Bay Company,” she says. “I’m happy to be working in partnership with them.” In the future, Heidi looks to expand her presence within the Hudson’sBay Company’s landscape.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Heidi’s practice reopened and has begun taking appointments again. In addition to the recommended hygiene protocols, appointments are scheduled further apart, and Heidi holds virtual consults for clients.

Outside of pedorthics, Heidi loves golfing, boating, and James Bond movies.

Meet a Pedorthist – Julia Hayman, C. Ped (C)

Julia Hayman’s, C. Ped (C), interest in pedorthics started at only 13 years old, after receiving her first pair of orthotics from a Canadian Certified Pedorthist. This interaction later inspired her to pursue a degree in Kinesiology with a specialization in pedorthics from the University of Western Ontario. Today, she’s living in Barrie, ON as a Certified Pedorthist with over five years of experience in the field. Julia believes patience and understanding are what makes a great pedorthist.

About a year and half ago, Julia proudly opened her own practice, On the Ball Orthotics. She wants to continue building her practice with other Pedorthists and teach a few students along the way. Julia is passionate about discovering innovative pain relief solutions for her patients.

Julia has reopened On the Ball Orthotics since the COVID-19 closure. The clinic now provides hand sanitizer, pre-screening procedures, and increased room disinfecting in between appointments for all patients. They also encourage patients to book their visits ahead of time.

When she’s not working with patients, she could be playing beach and court volleyball, water and downhill skiing, hiking, biking, or running. She also enjoys volunteering, cooking, and baking on her spare time.

Julia’s advice for aspiring pedortists:

“Always continue to learn from others. There are so many different techniques and new knowledge to learn. The same treatment doesn’t work for everyone, and sometimes you need to think outside of your normal routine to come up with a solution.”

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