Lisa Irish always wanted to use her kinesiology degree to help people in a practical way and becoming a pedorthist was a perfect way to achieve that goal. With 35 years of experience as a practicing pedorthist, Lisa has worked as an employee for pedorthic companies, owned a pedorthic lab and clinic, consulted for a pedorthic equipment company, and gave conference presentations and workshops in pedorthic care. She currently practices out of her clinic, Pedorthic Solutions Inc., while simultaneously working within multidisciplinary clinics.
Lisa finds it extremely satisfying not hear how different people are helped through pedorthic therapy. She is most proud of her continued work with the Western Diploma in the pedorthics program. She also finds her work with the pedorthic association rewarding, being able to work with so many dedicated professionals over the years.
After many years of working with various pedorthic practices over the years, Lisa has once again opened her own clinic. She hopes to continue working toward excellence in pedorthic education. She says that patient care is the single most important aspect of pedorthics. “The more you can do to ensure that patients get the most comprehensive care possible, the more successful you will be,” she says.
Outside of her professional life, Lisa loves to cook, especially for large family groups. She also loves spending time with her dogs on long walks. Her dogs also sometimes visit her pedorthic lab for moral support to her and her patients.
With 20 years of practice as a pedorthist under his belt, Jim Pattison has had many high points throughout his career. From being the first Canadian certified pedorthist in Saskatchewan to being the first Canadian pedorthist to speak at an international shoemaking conference in Mexico.
Jim’s journey as a pedorthist began with a visit to a shoe repair shop, which inspired him to follow the career path. After receiving his C. Ped (C) certification, Jim began working in in the shoe repair shop. He would eventually leave to start his own practice. Jim started PA Euroclogs in Prince Albert Saskatchewan in 1997 and has been relieving patients’ foot pain ever since. Jim says that having sore feet is largely optional. He believes that a great pedorthist is someone who cares for their patients and has the experience required to help people.
Outside of pedorthics, Jim is also an IT specialist. Early on in his career, he worked for Revenu Canada in Quebec, and then for the government of Saskatchewan as an IT analyst. Jim loves computers and pedorthics; he says that people’s lives can be improved if both bodies and computers work better.
Andy Hoar is a sixth-generation custom shoemaker; his father was also a pedorthist and his family has been providing foot health services in Halifax since 1842. Andy has dedicated 37 years of work to pedorthics. Andy practiced out of the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre as the Senior Pedorthist for 23 of his 35 years working there. After retiring in 2017, he has been in private practice for the past three years at the Arthritis and Injury Care Centre in Halifax.
Throughout his long career, one of Andy’s proudest accomplishments was co-authoring clinical best practice guidelines for management of diabetic foot ulceration for the Canadian Would Care Association. Another rewarding accomplishment for Andy was his 17 years working at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre’s multidisciplinary leg ulcer clinic with vascular, orthopedic, and plastic surgeons as well as infections disease specialists.
Creating and Modifying footwear, orthotics, braces, and prosthetic limbs to meet specific requirements of diverse patients are Andy’s specialties – all of which he found extremely rewarding throughout his career. Now that he is semi-retired, he has time to indulge in his love for the outdoors by hunting, fishing, and hiking. Even in semi-retirement, Andy continues to teach and share his knowledge with young pedorthist and footcare professionals. His advice to others who wish to achieve success in pedorthics is to take advantage of every learning opportunity available, in and out of the working environment.
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.
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.
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.