Our Patients: From Ballet Dancers To Soccer Stars

Recently, we shared all about the big range of problems that our podiatry team here at Perform Podiatry can help you with. From in-toeing to foot drop, to managing falls risk and instability on your feet, we’re trained to help you with it all – you can read all about it here Today, we thought we’d share with you the different types of patients we see, that aren’t your typical ingrown toenails or corns that need removing. We’re proud to be a diverse clinic with a wide range of offerings in the fields of sports medicine and beyond – so he’s a little insight into how we really spend our days as podiatrists!

1. The post-surgery recoverer

We have fantastic relationships with our local surgeons – and we’re privileged to help so many of their patients optimise their recovery. Whether it’s an unexpected surgery like having pins put in following an injury, a knee replacement, a bunion surgery – or something else, we work efficiently to improve the comfort and mobility of these patients, as well as their confidence on their feet. For these patients, we use a combination of custom foot orthotics, pads, boots or splints, supportive footwear and physical therapy (stretching and strengthening) to help them recover faster while staying as active and mobile as is safe to do so. Contrary to what some may think, staying active is shown to help promote faster recovery and better healing outcomes – compared to staying immobile.

2. The iron man

The iron man, or woman, is the one that is always challenging themselves to go further, push harder, beat personal bests, and enter all the events Auckland has to offer! While these people may need help with pains and injuries that can hold them back along the way, they’re also looking to give themselves a competitive edge by improving their walking and running performance, while reducing their risk of injury before it starts.  For these patients, we start with a comprehensive biomechanical assessment to understand exactly what’s going on with their feet and legs – from the way their muscle strength or flexibility is affecting the way their feet move, to a comprehensive gait assessment to see how we can optimise the way they run.

3. The professional ballet dancer

The professional ballet dancer is one that spends a massive amount of time on their feet and toes – subjecting them to significant force and strain that can leave painful problems. They can see that their toes are changing – whether they’re curling or getting more bumps, and at the same time, also have to manage recurrent blisters, corns, callus and other foot pains to keep doing what they love. For these patients, there are multiple goals. The first is to manage their recurring problems – like the corns and blisters – and put the right measures in place to help prevent them from recurring in the future. Next, we must understand the unique demands that their sport and career place on their feet and legs – and create a plan to best support them so they can keep doing what they love as best and comfortably as possible.

4. The aspiring sports star

This young legend loves his favourite sport – whether that’s soccer or something else. They always give it 100%, while loving the fun they have during training and games with their team. While performance is important, being able to play every week without being limited by the pains and injuries – like growing pains – that other players in their team are facing is equally as important, if not more so. For these patients, it’s about conducting a comprehensive foot, leg, gait & risk assessment to get a complete picture of what’s happening in their feet and legs. Then we create a plan for managing any current problems and discrepancies that are likely to cause pain in the future. We also ensure we consider how to help them generally feel their best doing the sports they love.

5. The soccer mum

The soccer mum is the one that does it all. She runs around after the kids, gets them to all their games and appointments, and still has her own goals – one of which is looking after her health and well-being. Staying pain-free and moving on her feet is critical – if pain develops, she doesn’t have a choice but to push through. We work with these mums to help them recover from any pains or aches as quickly and effectively as possible. Aside from relieving the immediate symptoms that may be slowing her down, we always look to see how we can support her and help reduce the likelihood of the same pains – or new problems – from recurring in the future.

Are you putting up with pain or discomfort in your feet and legs?

If you’ve been putting off getting help for your foot or leg pain in the hopes that it’ll get better on its own – only to realise that it’s still holding you back – our experienced podiatry team are here to help. Unlike other podiatry clinics, sports medicine and injury recovery are two of our specialities, and we’re even equipped with our own orthotics manufacturing lab! Book your appointment by calling 09 523 2333 or book online.

Shin pain when running? You could have shin splints!

As we approach the colder winter climate here in New Zealand, some us will start to struggle when it comes to staying active and continuing, or beginning, our exercise regimes. We don’t blame you – the temperatures are dropping, the rain is starting to set in and the mornings are getting dark. But when you DO find that motivation to go for a run, hit the gym, or engage in your favourite sport, the LAST thing you need is shin and leg pain stopping you in your tracks. Because shin pain affects many of us each year, we thought we’d tell you a little about it and what you can do to treat it and reduce the risk of it coming back or even starting! Let’s start with the basics:

It’s called shin splints

Well actually, it’s called medial tibial stress syndrome if we’re going to get technical. It’s often coined as “too much, too soon” because of the tendency of it develop when people suddenly increase their exercises intensity or duration without working up to it over time.

There’s a reason your symptoms have started

Shin splints would never occur without a cause, which is usually relatively simple to identify when we complete a biomechanical assessment and have a chat through your medical and exercise history. This is especially true if you’re a runner (or are attempting to be one!). Associated causes can include:
  • Lots of physical activity
  • Flat feet and pronation
  • Unsupportive or worn-out footwear
  • Issues with your foot biomechanics (mechanical functioning of the feet and legs as you move)
  • Tight or weak muscles

The pain can come and go

For some, the pain, tenderness and swelling around your shins can come and go with activity, as well as being worse in the mornings. Others may instead feel a persisting tenderness and discomfort. The pain tends to affect one leg, but can affect both. Regardless of what you are and aren’t experiencing, if you think you have shin splints or have developed shin pain, come and get it checked.

When it’s not shin splints…

Both stress fractures and compartment syndrome have similar symptoms with pain around the front of the lower leg. That makes it important to get the right diagnosis and treatment from an experienced podiatrist.

It’s about treating your symptoms and your cause

I feel we need to highlight the word ‘your’ because the experience of shin splints can be very different. Some will find it a temporary discomfort, while others may struggle to run and do the things they enjoy because of a crippling pain. That’s why treatment needs to be specific to your clinical assessment, goals, symptoms and circumstances. It also needs to address the initial cause of your shin splints to reduce the likelihood of it happening again in the future. Our podiatrists have years of experience in sports medicine and the biomechanics of the feet and legs, so will give you the best care to optimise your outcomes. Our goal is to help you exceed your goals and get you back to feeling your best! For more information or to book an appointment, you can give us a call on 09 523 2333 or book online

Haglund’s Deformity: The Bump at the Back of Your Heel

If you’ve noticed a bump at the back of your heel, then you may have a bony enlargement called a Haglund’s Deformity. As we’ve been seeing quite a few patients with these ‘bumps’ who have recently started developing painful symptoms at the back of their heels, we thought we’d fill you in on what’s going on the what’s, how’s and why’s of this condition. As patients come that come in with heel pain often assume it’s related to their Achilles Tendon, this is a condition that is NOT directly associated with the achilles, though can produce achilles pain as a result.

So, what is a Haglund’s deformity?

As we mentioned earlier, a Haglund’s deformity describes a bony enlargement of the calcaneus (heel bone). You may hear it being referred to as a pump bump because of the firm backs of pump-style shoes that will often rub against it at the back of the heel.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Generally, you’ll notice a palpable lump at the back of your heel that has been irritated. This irritation can cause pain and tenderness in the area, along with redness and swelling. The swelling can there irritate the surrounding structures and lead to things like bursitis, or even pain at the achilles tendon.

What causes the painful symptoms?

While many people with an enlargement at the back of the heel can go through their lives without developing pain, symptoms can develop from irritation and rubbing of tissues against the bump, for which there may be various causes. Note: it isn’t actually the presence of the bump itself, but the resulting friction with other tissues. Causes of the irritation can include:
  • Injury to the heel
  • Footwear that is tight or has a firm heel counter
  • Tight calf muscles or achilles tendon
  • Structural foot abnormalities such as a high arched foot
  • Abnormal foot biomechanics such as rolling inward or outward excessively
  • Gait abnormalities, such as walking on the outside of the heels

What should you do if you suspect you have a Haglund’s deformity?

If you haven’t experienced any pain or symptoms and just have the bump present at the back of your heel, then you may not require any treatment as the presence of the bony enlargement alone does not mean that anything is ‘wrong’ or that you’re definitely going to develop painful symptoms. It can, however, make you more like to develop symptoms. In this case, it’s all about making small changes to minimise your risk of this occurring. This can include:
  • Avoiding tight footwear
  • Avoiding footwear that has a firm heel counter over the area of your ‘bump’
  • Regularly stretching the calves and achilles tendon to reduce the likelihood of rubbing
  • Managing abnormal gait and foot abnormalities through devices such as orthotics
Where painful symptoms have manifested, treatment looks to reduce the painful symptoms and then alleviate the tension from the back of the heel. Your podiatrist will create the best treatment plan for you based on your symptoms and presentation. This may include:
  • Resting and icing the heel
  • Using anti-inflammatories to reduce painful symptoms
  • Heel lifts to reduce the strain at the back of the heel
  • Avoiding footwear that is tight and rubs against the back of the heel
  • Using orthotics to reduce tension from the back of the heel
  • Physical therapy to stretch tight muscles such as the calves and the achilles tendon
It’s important to have your feet and legs assessed to gain an understanding all of the biomechanical and structural factors that are contributing to your painful symptoms and therefore create the most effective treatment plan for you. Our team here at Perform Podiatry are experts in sports medicine and the biomechanics of the feet and legs, and have the pleasure of helping thousands of Aucklanders each year. For more information or to make an appointment, give us a call on 09 523 2333 or book online.