Choosing The Right Expert: Why A Podiatrist Is Your Best Bet For Foot And Ankle Pain

Foot and ankle pain can not only be debilitating, but also affects both our mobility and our overall quality of life. When faced with these issues, seeking the right professional expertise is crucial for accurate diagnosis, effective treatment – and getting back to feeling and moving well, as quickly as possible. In the realm of foot and ankle health, your podiatrist is your go-to foot and ankle expert. Here’s why.

Understanding The Role Of A Podiatrist

A podiatrist is a medical professional who specialises in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of conditions related to the feet, ankles and also the lower limbs. Their extensive training equips them to handle a broad spectrum of issues, ranging from common concerns like ingrown toenails to complex biomechanical problems influencing gait and posture including Achilles tendon pain, heel pain, shin splints, leg length differences and much more.

Why Choose A Podiatrist For Foot And Ankle Pain?

There’s a wide range of reasons that a podiatrist is the right health professional to see for your lower limb pain. These include:

They’re Experts In Foot Anatomy and Function

Podiatrists undergo extensive training focused specifically on the anatomy and function of the feet and ankles, as well as the lower limbs. Their in-depth knowledge allows for accurate diagnosis and targeted treatment plans tailored to address the unique challenges posed by this intricate area of the body.

Specialised Diagnostic Skills

Podiatrists possess specialised diagnostic skills honed through years of training and clinical experience. From identifying structural abnormalities to pinpointing the source of pain, their expertise ensures a thorough assessment of foot and ankle issues.

Comprehensive Treatment Options

Podiatrists offer a wide range of treatment options, including conservative measures, devices like braces, physical therapy, and minor surgical interventions when necessary. This comprehensive approach allows for the right, personalised care based on the nature and severity of a specific condition.

Management Of Chronic Conditions As Well As Acute Injuries

Chronic conditions such as arthritis, diabetes-related foot complications, and neuropathy require ongoing management. Podiatrists are well-equipped to provide continuous care, helping patients navigate the challenges associated with these persistent issues.

Biomechanical Expertise

Many cases of foot and ankle pain stem from biomechanical issues affecting gait and posture. Podiatrists specialise in assessing and addressing these concerns, utilising orthotics, exercises, and other interventions to restore proper biomechanical function.

Preventative Care

Beyond treating existing issues, podiatrists emphasise preventive care. Regular check-ups with a podiatrist can identify potential problems early on, allowing for proactive measures to prevent the development or progression of foot and ankle conditions.

Evidence-Based Practice

Podiatric medicine is grounded in evidence-based practice, with treatment approaches informed by the latest research and clinical guidelines. This commitment to evidence ensures that patients receive care based on proven methods and advancements in the field.

Podiatrists vs Physiotherapists

While physiotherapists play a crucial role in rehabilitation and overall musculoskeletal health, the specialised focus of podiatrists on the feet and ankles sets them apart in the context of foot and ankle pain.

Specifically, physiotherapists tend to have a broader focus on the entire musculoskeletal system, addressing issues related to muscles, joints, and movement patterns. Podiatrists, on the other hand, concentrate specifically on the lower extremities, making them more specialised in the intricacies of foot and ankle conditions. This enables podiatrists to provide more targeted interventions for foot and ankle pain, leveraging their focused skillset to address conditions ranging from toenail problems to complex biomechanical issues. 

Podiatrists are also trained in both conservative and surgical interventions for foot and ankle conditions, where physiotherapists are not, being unable to perform procedures like permanent ingrown toenail correction surgery. This means that in cases where surgery is required, podiatrists can seamlessly transition from diagnosis to treatment. 

preventing re-injury podiatrist

How To Stop Your Old Injuries From Flaring Up

We all know the feeling: we get excited about a new activity or sport, we head into it feeling confident and strong – and then we feel incredibly disappointed when an old pain, ache or injury flares back up – and sometimes feels worse than ever before. This is where prehab comes in – the rehab you do to help prevent old injuries that you’re concerned about from coming back, and it’s being used by sports teams, weekend warriors and leisure enthusiasts alike. As podiatrists that work extensively with managing foot and leg pains resulting from muscle, tendon and ligament injuries, and as those that believe that knowledge is power, today we’ve shared why your old injuries keep coming back and the ways in which you can best manage them before they start to bother you again.  

Why do my old aches and pains keep coming back?

First thing’s first. The most common reasons we see in our clinic for the same injuries continuing to rear their heads include:

1. Whatever is causing the injury hasn’t been fixed

If your unsupportive, worn-out shoes were the reason that your Achilles pain started, and after rehabilitating your Achilles tendon you got right back into those shoes, that will explain the return of the pain. For this example, it could be the low-set heel of the shoe paired with its inability to adequately support your foot that keeps straining the Achilles with every step. While your Achilles may have had a chance to heal and recover during your careful rehab period, once that finished and you got back into those shoes, the same forces kept being applied to your feet and legs that were happening when you sustained the original injury. Before you know it, your Achilles is damaged and sore again. The potential causes vary greatly, and we often see causes include an improper running technique or gait pattern, poor foot posture, muscle tightness, weakness or imbalances, and going too hard too fast when training – before the muscles are ready to handle the load. The solution is simple: address the cause. This is something we always aim to do here at Perform Podiatry as part of your treatment plan, as our focus is always on the long-term and keeping you healthy and happy for the years to come.  

2. Your injury has created long-term effects that need addressing

Our bodies are truly amazing – but they’re not invincible. Sometimes, injuries can have lasting effects, especially when they’re not rehabilitated properly or fully. A common example we see is ankle sprains. When patients suffer an ankle sprain, or multiple sprains, and they ‘walk them off’ without proper care, they may be left in a weakened state. Given the role of these ligaments is to stabilise the ankle, if they’re not functioning at 100%, the ankle is left vulnerable to the cycle of future sprains – and further weakening. The solution is to work on reversing or accounting for the damage or long-term effects. For this example, this may be done by implementing an ankle strengthening program and wearing an ankle supporting brace until the strength has been regained. Strapping may also be used to temporarily support the ankle to prevent sprains. Your podiatrist will let you know when the impact has been sufficiently addressed and you no longer need to take additional precautions.  

3. Your ‘time off’ has affected your feet or legs

There are good reasons why you’re often advised to keep moving and start a specific strength or exercise program shortly after an injury, surgery and the like. When we’re immobile, or we avoid using muscles a certain way because of pain, activating our body’s use-it-or-lose-it framework – meaning that if we stop using certain muscles for a prolonged time, they’ll weaken and become less flexible. Once enough healing has occurred for you to move without pain again, these areas are still weak – and so you’re more vulnerable to injury. The solution: exercise programs. While many people give us a shy smile when we ask how their rehab programs are going – there’s a good reason we give you these exercises – and will continue to do so. Stretching tight muscles and strengthening weak muscles is proven to enhance your recovery and overall performance. It’s not a ‘maybe’ or a ‘possibly’. We see a large difference in the rate of recovery for those that complete their exercise programs compared to those that don’t, and we’ll always create a tailored program for you that works with what you’re able to do and your life.  

Preventing injuries: Know if you’re at risk

If you’re at that crucial point where you’re about to start something new but you don’t want a previous injury to return and stop you in your tracks, it’s important to find out if you’re at risk, and how vulnerable you are to getting injured again. We can do this by performing a lower limb biomechanical assessment that checks the integrity, function, strength and health of the previous injury site, as well as your overall foot biomechanics, to give you an idea of your risks. From there, we design a personalised management plan to help keep you from sustaining the same aches and pains, helping to keep you strong, active and pain-free. We recommend that you:
  • Always follow your stretching and strengthening plan as each exercise will have specific benefits to help prevent your previous injury from coming back
  • Warm-up and cool down appropriately before exercise – when we warm up, we increase our heart rate, our body (and muscle) temperature, improve our flexibility, get our circulation going and boost our mental focus. Each of these elements helps our body to reduce the risk of injury
  • Don’t go too hard too fast if you have recently recovered from an injury
  • Wear the right shoes for your foot type and the type of activity you’re doing to help stabilise, support and control your feet and legs
  • Let your body recover – with the right hydration and nutrition – between training sessions and matches
  • Use braces or strapping as directed by your podiatrist
  • Don’t ignore niggles – no matter how small. If you start to feel a dull ache at your previous injury site, it may be a sign that damage is starting to recur and you need to act immediately to prevent it from turning into another injury 
  • If any pain or swelling does begin, follow the RICER principles – rest, ice, compression, elevation and book in with your podiatrist

Need help with aches or pains?

We love helping Auckland families stay injury and pain-free. If you’re worried, we’re here to help. Book your appointment online here or call us on 09 523 2333

Fixing Curly Toes: Hammertoes, Claw Toes & Mallet Toes

So you’ve developed a hammertoe – or maybe you’ve noticed that your child’s toes are starting to curl. So what can you do about it? Should you do anything about it? What if there’s no pain – is it fine to leave them? Today, Auckland’s premier podiatry team, Perform Podiatry, talks about the causes and treatment of curly toes.

What are the different kinds of curly toes?

Hammertoes, claw toes and mallet toes are the three most common kinds of ‘curly toes’. These are medically known as clinodactyly, which translates to the ‘curvature of a digit’. The difference between the three lies in which joints the curvature is found and in which direction it is occurring. The lesser toes contain three joints – one at the ball of the foot and two within the toe. Here are the differences between the three conditions:

What causes these changes to the toe shape?

We have muscles and tendons running across the toes and attaching to the joints. When these muscles and tendons pull on the toe (which can happen from various causes), an imbalance occurs and the joint moves, curling the toe upwards or downwards. While these changes may be flexible at first, over time, the joints can become stiff and rigid. The causes of the imbalance may be:
    • The length of your toes – a common place for a hammertoe is at the second toe, when the second toe is longer than the big toe
    • Footwear – wearing tight or narrow shoes where your toes bump against the end of the shoes or are kept in a bent position can cause the toes to curl permanently
    • Toe injuries – when your toes or feet are injured, curly toes are more likely to develop
    • Poor foot posture or alignment
    • Arthritis and other medical conditions – when you have medical conditions that affect the joints, the toes may be more likely to curl

Do curly toes cause pain?

While the changes to the joint shape and position do not typically cause pain, the resulting position of the toes can lead to painful complications. These include corns, callus, blisters, thickened nails or nail damage, metatarsalgia (forefoot pain), and difficulty fitting closed-toe shoes comfortably. This is a particular risk for those with diabetes or issues with circulation, as they are more likely to develop ulcers from areas of friction on the toes as a result of curled toe shape.

How are curly toes treated?

Curly toes fall into two distinct categories – those that are still flexible and may respond to treatment, and those that are stiff and will not respond to regular care. For those that are stiff, the goal is to keep your feet as comfortable as possible while reducing the risk of the complications we mentioned above. This can be done by wearing shoes with a wide toe box, using devices to offload the toes, and caring for any corns, calluses or other problems that arise. For curly toes that have recently developed and are still flexible, we have a range of toe props and other devices that can be worn to encourage the toes to straighten. The best device will depend on which toes and joints have been affected.

Is your goal to get back to straight toes and comfortable feet?

Then our experienced podiatrists here at Perform Podiatry are here to help. Book an appointment by calling 09 523 2333 or book online here.

Stretching For Recovery – Is What You’re Being Told TRUE or FALSE?

Here at Perform Podiatry, we treat a lot of foot and leg pain. It’s our speciality! And while orthotics are a very important component of the treatment plan, there are other components too – namely stretching and strengthening, as well as having the right footwear during your recovery. Because we’ve recently seen a few patients who had either been given advice by a professional or read online some pretty crazy advice about stretching when you have foot or leg pain, we thought we’d set the record straight with some statements we’ve heard. We’ve put together some true/false statements that may turn what you think about stretching upside down, or just completely confirm everything that you already know. Here we go…   FALSE: You should start stretching from the moment you sustain an injury. TRUTH: You should start stretching and strengthening once your initial painful symptoms settle, some healing/repair has occurred and you’re on the path to recovery. The reality is that if you’ve got a damaged, swollen and painful tissue that has recently sustained an injury and you go and try to stretch it straight away, it’s going to be very painful and may potentially further damage the vulnerable tissue. That’s why you wait until the initial symptoms have settled and you’ve begun the treatment plan.   FALSE: You should spend as much time stretching as you can, doing over 100 repetitions a day as the goal. TRUTH: You should ease into stretching and strengthening, starting off slow and mild and gradually increasing to 10-15 minutes a day. We recently had a patient tell us that she was instructed to do 100+ single limb raises (which means going up to the toes on one foot while having the other off the ground) for her painful plantar fasciitis and to say we were shocked is an understatement. Stretching and strengthening following an injury must be a gradual process, to gently begin lengthening and strengthening the tissues and returning their function while being very careful not to cause further damage or overdo it. It’s just like running a marathon – you don’t begin by jumping into a 42km run – you start with a slow couple of km’s and work your way up.   FALSE: You should keep doing stretches, even if they’re painful. TRUTH: You should feel a tightness when you’re stretching, but never pain. If you feel pain, stop immediately. Pain is our body’s way of letting us know that something is wrong. LISTEN to your body. It’s completely normal to feel a ‘tightness’ when you begin stretching a muscle or tendon that isn’t used to being stretched, but if you feel pain instead, it means you’re pulling on a damaged site and potentially causing more harm than good. When the damaged tissue has recovered enough to withstand some stress and stretching, then begin again.   FALSE: Stretching and strengthening alone will fix your foot injury. TRUTH: Stretching and strengthening will assist your recovery from your foot injury AND can reduce the risk of future re-injury. Any treatment must address the various causes of the injury. If the wait you walk combined with your footwear and an increase in physical activity has resulted in an injury, then stretching and strengthening alone won’t help you fix the problem. That’s because when you start getting active again in the same shoes and with the same gait, you’ll strain the same muscles again and the pain will return. However! If the way you walk has also resulted in some tight calf muscles that contributed to the development of your problem, then stretching them will definitely help, especially with reducing the risk of the injury happening again in the future. Regardless of the cause of your foot or leg pain, our team have years of biomechanical experience to get the best outcomes for you – and keep the pain gone! We never just look at your symptoms but get to the root of the problem to make sure you recover well and the problem doesn’t return. For more information or to book an appointment, you can give us a call on 09 523 2333 or book online here.

What Can A Podiatrist At Perform Podiatry Help You With?

Do we trim toenails? Do we correct your foot posture using orthotics? Do we remove your corns? Do we help correct bunions? The answer is a big yes to all of the above – and a whole world more.  Every once in a while, we’re reminded that for those that have never been to a podiatrist, or only had one specific problem treated, they have no idea about the number of people with a variety of conditions that we help every year. So today, we’re sharing ten of the many problems that you may not have known that we can help you with. 

In-toeing in kids

While in-toeing, as well as out-toeing, can be a normal variation when kids are first learning to walk, if in-toeing persists into the primary school years, or if it’s causing kids to trip, fall, be unable to keep up with their friends or causing them pain, they may need a little help with straightening their feet. This is something we absolutely offer, using an in-shoe device called a gait plate that your child won’t even notice! This is combined with some easy and child-friendly exercises to help kids walk straight and feel great on their feet.

Foot drop

Foot drop describes a situation where the forefoot drops down instead of being able to be lifted up to clear the ground. This can be incredibly frustrating for those affected, causing regular tripping with normal gait, or having to lift the knee at the hip to try to compensate, which may lead to pain at the hip, knee or glutes. We use specialised braces that are lightweight, modern and can often fit conveniently inside footwear, these prevent the foot from dropping down and help you clear the ground. 


Bunions describe the bony bumps that develop on the side of your big toe (or little toe!) that make it difficult – and possibly painful – for you to fit shoes properly. We can help with both encouraging the toes to straighten, as well as preventing or at least slowing the bunions from worsening. We have a number of treatments to try for this – and none of them involves surgery.

Falls & instability

Feeling unstable and unconfident on your feet is scary – both inside and outside of the house. We get to the cause of your instability, selecting the best strategies and treatments to help promote stable and confident gait. Whether it’s from years of repeated ankle sprains that have left you with chronic ankle instability, an accident and subsequent surgery that has restricted the movement on your feet, or it’s a condition or disease that has left you feeling less stable, we will work with both your lower limbs and your footwear to help you walk and feel your best.

Poorly fitting footwear

Have good shoes you love but that don’t quite fit properly anymore? Whether it’s a bunion, an altered foot shape following an accident or something else, we’re one of the only clinics in Auckland that offer shoe stretching where appropriate. 

Curly and overriding toes

Toes that are clawed or positioned over one another aren’t just an aesthetic problem – their position makes it difficult to fit comfortably into shoes, and puts you at risks of corns, callus, trapping moisture between the toes that may break down the skin, and much more. We can help by creating custom devices for the toes that will keep them separated and in a better position for regular foot function – and your comfort. We’ll also manage any corns, callus or wounds that have developed as a result of the position.

Retraining your gait (the way you walk and run)

The way you’ve learnt to walk and run can impact your energy output, performance, injury risk and more. We can help you retrain your gait by identifying your current patterns on the treadmill, prescribing stretching and strengthening exercises to help with any insufficiencies, and teaching you different techniques to promote healthy gait patterns.

Managing ulcer risk

Ulcers are one of the leading causes of lower limb amputations aside from Trauma. Whether you’ve recently discovered an ulcer or you’ve had one that hasn’t healed on its own for months, we offer wound care services to manage and monitor your ulcer, and help prevent it from causing you serious complications and side effects. We debride any build-up around the wound where safe and clinically appropriate, have a range of specialised dressings to offer the right level of moisture support and will help you offload the ulcer in a variety of ways. This might be using pads with your dressings or creating specialised orthotics (foot inserts) that have a cut-out or drop-down in the precise location of your ulcer, so that you stop applying pressure to it with every step you take in your shoes. We relay our findings and management plan to your GP and any other health professionals that you request, so we all work as a unified team to help get the best outcomes for your health.

Fungal nail infections

Fungal nail infections can be difficult to treat for so many reasons. Some studies have shown that up to 50% of people who thought that they had a fungal nail infection actually didn’t – their nails were being affected by something else instead! This is why we offer in-clinic testing to confirm that the discolouration and other symptoms in your nails are being caused by a fungus. This simple test takes about 5-10 minutes and is performed by our podiatry team. From there, we can recommend the best anti-fungal treatment and teach you our tips for not just getting rid of the fungal nail infection – but keeping it gone in the future.

Foot & leg pain

Okay, so this one we know the majority of you probably already know that we treat – but given that foot and leg pain is one of the most common things we manage on a daily basis, it’s definitely worth a mention! From heel pain like plantar fasciitis, to Achilles pain, shin splints, knee pain, toe pain and so much more, this is one of our areas of special interest that we know inside out and love helping you with!

Can’t see your problem on the list?

Don’t worry! We offer many more services, including medical pedicures, ingrown toenail surgery, sports medicine and much more. Check out our range of services on our website – or just give us a call and let us know your problem – we’ll be happy to either book you in or point you in the right direction if we’re unable to help with your specific problem. Book your appointment online here or call us on 09 523 2333

Auckland School Holiday Activities 2020

School holidays are here and that means one thing: frantically finding activities that ditch the screen time and embrace the outdoors! 

We’re parents too, and we (like many others) are seeking (physical) activities that will also ensure the kids will have a good, long sleep. We found a good bunch for our kids here in Auckland – so thought we’d share them with you too so you *may* be able to enjoy finishing a cup of hot coffee for the first time in years. Disclaimer: We haven’t managed it just yet.

Sculpture in the Gardens

This is an exhibition hosted at the Auckland Botanic Gardens and is now open daily (8am – 6pm) to the public for this Summer right through until Sunday 1st March, 2020. This 2km sculpture trail is absolutely free (yessss) and a great opportunity to get out and about to let the kids explore and complete activities as you all walk around admiring the large scale artworks. While you sip on a hot takeaway coffee. You can find more information here 

The Enchanted Walk

The Enchanted Walk in Alberton on Mt Albert Road is another goodie. Walk around the pathways looking for all the hidden fairy doors and houses dotted throughout. Complete with a bring and swap painted stone garden, this will provide lots of fun for the whole family (because the kids will love it, and you can relax and snap some great pics of the kids to give to your parents for Christmas). Open 10.30am – 4.30pm, Wednesday to Sunday through until the end of February 2020. Find all the information you need here 

Splash Pads

Splash Pads are such a hit during the hot summer months in our books too! Great opportunity for the kids to get out and run around, cool down and have a whole lot of fun while doing so! A great list of some of the best ones in Auckland can be found here

Climb to the summit of Rangitoto Island

We like this one because ferries + picnics + walks + views = great family day out! We plan on doing this one with friends that also have kids – and are looking forward to it! For information on ferry crossings and how to get around once you are there, find the Rangitoto Island website here

Local bush walks

There are so many goodies in the Auckland area, so you don’t have to drive far. We plan on showing the kids some photos of things they may find in the forest, so they can look for them and hopefully appreciate the little details of what our beautiful country has to offer! We love this curated list of walks that we found here: 

And some more!

We loved finding this list of activities to do these school holidays, but we won’t be forgetting our good-old-faves, such as:

  •  Heading to the Auckland Zoo for a day out. Aaaand it has a South East Asia Jungle Track opening soon!
  • Exploring the Auckland Museum, the Auckland Domain and the Auckland Wintergardens – just keep an eye on the kids around those geese!
  • Finding new awesome playgrounds. In our books, it’s an easy winner!

And if your kids have any pains or niggles this summer…

… Bring them in to see our experienced podiatrists! We love helping kids stay happy and healthy on their feet. You can book your appointment online here or call us on 09 523 2333