Even little bubs before their first birthday get to meet Luke Bertram. So do 90 year olds – and all ages between. And they all leave with either expert solutions or reassurance that all’s okay.
Luke, a sports podiatrist from PhysioPod Co., has been looking after all-aged people’s foot health for 10 years, but here he shares his experience with kids’ podiatry issues in particular.
A super-friendly professional, Luke went to a podiatrist as an 11-year-old to find he had a very common condition of children aged between eight and 14 known as Severs, which is pain in the heel in the growth plate.
He says that while this probably wasn’t the catalyst for becoming a podiatrist, it did leave him with a positive impression – something he now aims for with all his patients.
He explains just why a parent may bring in their baby to see him.
“Sometimes a parent may be concerned about the shape of their baby’s toes, an ingrown toe nail or turned feet,” he says. “Other times the child may appear flat-footed which can be quite common but doesn’t usually pose a problem. However, an assessment is recommended, particularly if they’re unsteady or tripping a lot, to determine if it’s structural. Most children, though, will grow out of it so we can mostly reassure concerned parents.”
“The Severs condition I had as a kid can happen when children play sport or do a lot of running around at school.
They’ll have a painful heel and limp around. Changing footwear or sometimes using an orthosis will ease the load on the heel. I work with youth sports teams so come across Severs fairly often.”
Other common kids’ feet issues managed by Luke include Osgood Schlatters and knee pain; shin and ankle pain; and toe walking and in-toeing.
“In-toeing can indicate a rotation of hip or pelvic bones so we assess the joints. Sometimes in-toeing is a formed habit but with the right shoes and sometimes orthoses, 90 per cent of kids will grow out of it.”
Luke says one young girl, about 10 years old, was a ballet dancer and came in with pain in the middle of her foot.
“This was a bit unusual, but it ended up being a stress fracture which, with a few months’ rest and lots of strength work, she came good.”
As Luke says, our feet carry us around and issues shouldn’t be ignored.
And by the way, with footy season fast approaching, it’s important for kids to wear the right boots to ensure problems don’t arise. Luke’s just the man to see …
PhysioPod Co., Ground Floor, 59 Yarra Street, Geelong, and 59 Geelong Road, Bannockburn. Enquiries: 0474 329 219 or www.physiopod.co