Foot Problems As We Age

Just like every other part of our body, our feet show signs of age as we get older. I tell my patients that foot pain is just a sign of growing up, which sometimes makes them chuckle, but the truth is it happens to us all one day and most people can get great relief with appropriate treatment. Four out of five people report serious foot pain at one stage in their lives, and a trip to your local podiatrist might just be the answer.

The human foot is a strong, mechanical structure that contains 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons and numerous ligaments. But we ask a lot of our feet in day to day life.

For example, over the course of a normal day the force that our feet impart would be in the order of hundreds of tons, or the equivalent of a fully loaded cement truck. That’s every day! Jumping down off a step with the forces of gravity can mean that we reach up to 9 times our body weight through our feet.

Have you ever thought how amazing the architecture is in the human foot? With 26 bones in each foot, that totals one quarter of all the bones in our body and each bone is laid out into archways, the most efficient architectural position.

Just like the stone arch bridges that were built by the Romans, such as the Pond Du Gard in the South of France, which is still standing over 2000 years after it was built, the arched structure can be very resilient. These stone bridges that have stood for millennia all have one thing in common, a keystone. The last stone that was laid in each arch is the keystone and it is the most important stone in the entire archway because it locks the arch into a stable position.

Unlike stone bridges the human foot arches are very mobile and rely heavily on ligamentous and muscular support to help hold them up under the effects of gravity as we walk around some 216 Million steps, or 170,000km in our lifetime. The other problem is that our feet were designed to walk on softer surfaces like dirt, grass and sand, not hard concrete and ceramic floor tiles. Over time the arches can begin to collapse which causes strain on the ligament that supports the arch, the plantar fascia. This causes a very painful and debilitating condition called plantar fasciitis, where the ligament pulls off the heel bone, due to over-stretching.

Foot X-RayIt also leads to compression between the bones as the keystone begins to drop, leading to wear and tear of the protective articular cartilage on the bones, resulting in osteoarthritis. This is a relentlessly progressive condition that only gets worse as we age, so it’s best to wear good shoes with a firm heel counter, cushioned soles and some arch support, especially if you are standing on hard surfaces that further flattens your arches. Other problems that occur are bunions, calluses and tightening of the calf muscles especially if we don’t stretch anymore

Fat pad atrophy, where the cushioned fat pad under our feet wears out is also common in older feet. Fat pad syndrome requires treatment with cushioning and arch support to redistribute the pressure away from the bony prominences under the foot.

Podiatry is covered under some levels of private health insurance, DVA, WorkCover and Medicare Team Care Arrangements and there are many things that your local podiatrist can do to help, so don’t let foot pain hold you back any longer.

Greg Dower, Podiatrist & Co-founder of my FootDr podiatry centres


Greg Dower
Podiatrist & Co-Founder of my FootDr podiatry centres.


Ultra-Slim Foot Orthotics

Many people are required to wear custom foot orthotics to manage or resolve their foot pain. One major limitation in treating feet and lower limb conditions, especially in the city environment is working with and sourcing footwear that is comfortable but still suitable for formal office wear. Typically, these shoes are quite minimalist with limited room inside these shoes, making fitting orthotics difficult or even impossible. Thankfully two new innovations in orthotics are now available exclusively through my FootDr podiatry centres.

Womens Dress Shoe Stealth Orthotic

The Stealth Orthotic

Womens Dress Shoe with Stealth OrthoticThis ultra-slim orthotic design is made out of a thin and flexible plastic material sandwiched between cushioned Ortholuna base, with a Orthoplush top surface that is odour resistant. The Stealth orthotic is semi-custom made and has contoured arch support and a soft metatarsal dome. They are very effective in alleviating symptoms of the heel, arch and forefoot pain such as neuroma’s and bursitis. They fit famously into many formal and casual footwear styles including high heels, wedges and ballet flats.

The stealth orthotic is often used in conjunction with a full length custom orthotic to give the patient an alternative option when at work. Coupled with a comprehensive treatment program it offers patients the best chance of curing their foot pain once and for all.

The Cobra Device

Womens Dress Shoe Stealth Orthotic "Cobra Device'"Made with the same orthopaedic material and manufacturing process as our well known Orthema CAD/CAM orthotic manufacturing system, the Cobra device is a full custom made alternative.

What do we mean by fully custom made? Well, exactly what it means! The orthotic will be made to measure, for you based on the exact contours of your foot. With the luxury of having access to CAD/CAM orthotic design technology on site we are able to contour the orthotic to match your foot perfectly, as well as make modifications to give you the maximum amount of support possible whilst maintaining a slim design.

If you think these are a great alternative for you, or you are suffering from any form of foot or lower limb pain contact any of our my FootDr podiatry clinics for a consultation with one of our podiatrists. Visit to book your appointment today!

Womens Dress Shoe and Stealth Orthotic


Feet In The City

The New Year brings a return to work in the office buildings of the Brisbane CBD. We also see a significant increase in activity levels as everyone attempts to fulfil those New Year Resolutions that included going from couch potato to marathon runner by June. It is a round this time of year that our Brisbane CBD clinic sees a definite influx of certain injuries and foot conditions.

Feet  In The City - my FootDr podiatry centresBy far the most common ailment patients present to the clinic with is heel pain. Through thorough biomechanical assessment this is often diagnosed as Plantar Fasciitis. The sudden increase in load coupled with poor foot mechanics and inadequate footwear are a recipe for disaster for these new found lovers of running. Luckily, with the correct advice and treatment modalities, my FootDr has the ability to get patients back running as soon as possible, albeit with a slightly modified training program to ensure appropriate progression and increase in loads.

This time of year many ingrown toenails also present to our Brisbane clinic. As patients transition back into their court shoes, pointed high heels and firm fitting leather shoes, issues with toenails become quickly apparent. The most common cause of ingrown toenails is poor cutting techniques but other factors including trauma to the nail and/or fungal infection resulting in deformation, particular footwear abnormalities, and various nail shapes. Your podiatrist is able to provide an assessment of the nail, almost instant relief from the discomfort associated and advice on future treatments that may be required such as Nail Surgery (Partial Nail Avulsion).

Finally, another common injury presentation is forefoot discomfort. Unfortunately this is often attributable to the fashionable high heels worn whilst walking around the CBD. The significant increase in pressure directed on the centre of the forefoot has the potential to cause several soft tissue injuries as well as stress fractures to the metatarsal bones. With limited room inside these shoes it can often be difficult to provide any kind of support, however my FootDr have developed our “stealth orthotic” which is effective in relieving the central forefoot pressures whilst also supporting the arches to offload stress and strain. Stay tuned for our next post on these “stealth orthotics”!

If you are one of those Brisbane CBD workers currently suffering with any form of foot or lower limb pain, contact our Mary St clinic for a consultation with Chris or Sam.

my FootDr podiatry centres Brisbane CBD - 25 Mary Street


The Beard Is Back At Indooroopilly

We’d like to welcome podiatrist Joshua Condon to my FootDr™ podiatry centres at Indooroopilly.

Joshua brings a wealth of experience with over four years in this local area as well as in London’s leading hospitals. Joshua is passionate about new and progressive treatment options to assist his patients recover from a broad range of foot and lower limb complaints. Particular interests lie in children’s feet, running and sports injuries, management of heel pain and provision of custom foot orthotics.

Joshua is available for consultations Monday through Saturday at 180 Clarence Road (Cnr Lambert Road) in the big blue house.




Do You Have Smelly Feet – The shUVee UV Shoe Deodoriser Can Help

The shUVee™ UV Shoe Deodorizer uses UV light to clean the surface areas inside your shoes. No chemicals or other biological agents are needed.

shUVee UV Shoe Deodoriser

shUVee UV Shoe Deodoriser

The power of UV light, along with time is all that is needed to clean the inside of your shoes. Normally this damp and dark area is a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus that can attack the feet and cause foot odor.

The shUVee™ Ultraviolet Shoe Deodorizer – Stops Odor, Kills Germs, Works in One Hour!


Deodorize: UV light kills odor-causing germs in your shoes. Your nose will agree!
Refresh: Daily use keeps your shoes smelling fresh. Even shoes can use a mini-vacation.
Easy: Place your shoes on the wands, press one button and allow the advanced UV light to do its job. That’s it.
Green: No corrosive chemicals used – just the same UV light produced naturally by the Sun. Step into the light, pun intended.
Affordable: Only a single shUVee™ is needed for the whole family. Of course, you know who needs it.

Buy  a shUVee UV Shoe Deodoriser 

The shUVee UV Shoe Deodoriser is a great complement to our Fungal Nail treatment


Skin Under The Microscope

Did you know that our skin is the largest organ in our body? Our skin plays an essential role in keeping us healthy by acting as a protective layer against pathogens as well as regulating our body temperature. Our skin also helps to hold us together and provides the sensation of touch through millions of pressure and pain receptors.

To the naked eye our skin looks smooth and uncomplicated, but when studied up close it has four separate outer layers (epidermis), plus deeper layers containing hair follicles, sweat and oil glands, tiny muscles, nerve endings and blood vessels. Take a look at this diagram!

Sebaceous Gland

Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting images of different skin lesion photographed using a podiatry skin microscope, with up to 200x magnification. The skin of your feet is a prime target for pathogens to attack and this revolutionary skin scope allows us to view and diagnose them like never before.


Have a look at these images of a plantar wart (verruca plantaris), caused by localised infection of the human papilloma virus. See the way it invades the skin, pushing the normal skin striations apart established its own blood supply. The outer layers and scaly, nodular and irregular. They are often painful when on a weight bearing part of the foot.

Plantar warts are easily treated by a skilled podiatrist via local destruction of the wart tissue, normally using cryotherapy (freezing using liquid nitrogen) or chemical methods. Delaying treatment may cause pain or allow the virus to spread to other areas of the foot, or even to others that share a common shower or bathroom.

Verruca Under Microscope


Jonathon Brown tears plantar fascia in his foot

Brisbane Lion’s fans on Saturday night were shocked to see their captain, Jonathon Brown limp from the field during the middle of the opening term with a suspected foot injury. The injury was confirmed today as a tear of his left plantar fascia, the strong ligament type structure that spans the arch of the foot. A true frank plantar fascia tear is not all that common, and is generally the result of violent force pushing the front of the foot upwards and overstretching the arch, or repetitive force on a weakened and degenerative plantar fascia.plantar-fasciitis-tear-foot-heel-paint-diagram

In Brownies case, the 31 one year old would have landed heavily from a contest to have sustained such an injury. ‘At 102kg, the forces going through his foot at the time of contacting the group could have been 3-4 times his body mass. A 400kg load though the plantar fascia of any athlete’s foot can certainly be sufficient to cause this type of acute injury’ says Mr Stewart, sports podiatrist.  The typical symptoms of a torn plantar fascia are a pop or snap in the foot at the time of injury, immediate sharp pain in under the sole and swelling and bruising. It can be difficult or impossible to take weight on the foot, and scans are required to assess the full extent of the injury.

The injury is not to be confused with plantar fasciitis, which is repetitive micro tearing and subsequent inflammation of the plantar fascia. People suffering this condition, often referred to as a heel spur, have a gradual onset of pain with no known insult or injury to the foot. This overuse condition can strike people of any age and also requires early treatment to prevent the condition becoming chronic.plantar-fasciitis-tear-photo-foot-heel-pain

The medical team at the Brisbane Lions have advised they will wait 1-2 week before making a decision on the chance of Brownie returning before the seasons end. The team at  my FootDr wish Brownie all the best for a rapid return to fitness.

Oxfam Trailwalker - my FootDr

Oxfam Trailwalker

Oxfam Trailwalker - my FootDrWell it’s that time of the year again! Oxfam Trailwalker is for a wonderful cause and every year raises much needed funds and awareness. Unfortunately, it also goes hand in hand with some foot and lower limb injuries that could easily be avoided with a little preparation!

So here are 10 friendly suggestions from the team here at my FootDr podiatry to help you get through the hard yards relatively unscathed!

1.      Prepare

First and foremost, prepare your body for the challenge with some training. Covering a distance of 100 km in one hit with no training is a great way to get injured. Start preparing a few months out from the big day by going for regular walks (beginning with a smaller distance for novices) and progressing to a bigger team walk on the weekends (for instance 30 km) over varying terrain. The course incorporates a variety of surfaces and gradients so choosing walking trails that are similar will help you adapt when in the big event! Regular walks will also increase your fitness and get your body comfortable with walking/jogging long distances.

2.       Address any problems early!

If you have had any pre-existing injuries or worries with your walking/jogging style; seek advice on support/guarding against major injury. The team here at my FootDr podiatry centres conduct biomechanical assessments regularly and would only be too happy to advise you on best course of action!

3.       Wear in your footwear!

The shoes you choose to wear for the event should be supportive (adequate cushioning) and suited to your particular foot type.

The shoes should NOT be brand new. New footwear takes time to shape specifically to your foot; wearing them straight up for 100km WILL GIVE YOU  FootDr podiatry - blisters

It is best to wear the shoes for a couple of weeks prior to the event for some bigger walks to make them comfortable. Resting the shoes for 3 days prior to the event will also make sure that the rubber in the soles is at it’s full potential!

4.       Stretching

Regular stretching and massage can help keep the muscles pain and injury free. A tight loaded muscle is more likely to suffer injury when fatigued. Keeping flexible will help protect you from major injury; so stretching after warming up during regular exercise and after warming down will go a long way to conditioning yourself for the major walk. Through-out the course there are a number of health professionals including podiatrists and physiotherapists who can help you in the event of minor injury or pain.

5.       Stay hydrated!

In the days leading up to the walk drink plenty of fluids to prepare your body; starting a 100km walk/jog dehydrated will only lead you to fatigue quickly and predispose you to injury. Exercise causes the body to use up it’s water stores whether for fuel or perspiration. There are regular drink stations along the trail walk, do not hesitate to use them!

6.       Blistering!

my FootDr - BlistersThe dreaded blisters will inevitably make an appearance during Oxfam due to the constant friction war of skin vs shoe! There are a number of ways to reduce the friction including good socks, checking you footwear fits correctly and if you are aware of any specific points you are prone to blistering, a few well-placed bandaids or strips of strapping tape can also help to prevent the blisters.

Podiatrists and medical staff will be on-hand at the check points to help relieve any discomfort, but being proactive will help reduce the pain!

7.       Toenails!

Yes Toenails! Cutting your toenails 3 days prior to the event will ensure that they are not too long that they will cause injury but also not too short that they will cause discomfort!

8.      Health Professionals are there to Help

If at some point during the walk you feel you have injured yourself and are in worlds of pain, CONSULT A HEALTH PROFESSIONAL at the nearest check point. Everyone who participates in Oxfam is a hero in their own right, but major injury is not part of the legacy. Seek medical assistance even if you are unsure, it is better to be safe than sorry!

9.      Assess the damage

The finishing point! You will be very tender towards the end of the walk/jog, not only have your muscles and joints in your legs taken a bashing but so have your feet. After finishing the big race, it’s a good idea to assess for any damage and have it seen to- whether it is blood blisters, skin irritation, lost toenails or major callus build up the last thing you want is infected feet!

10.  Recuperation

The following day- you will be sore. It is important to rest and recuperate; basic first aid Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation is a good treatment for the residual soreness; especially for the feet and legs! So put them up, throw on some ice and rest easy knowing what a great job you’ve done!

If you have any queries regarding footwear advice, biomechanical assessment or injury prevention don’t hesitate to come in and see one of our helpful, friendly podiatrists.


Mid-Season Junior Football Injuries

Now that we are well and truly into the winter sport season our young sporting stars may be complaining of some aches and pains. Due to the nature of football codes it is not uncommon for our kids to suffer from foot, ankle and leg injuries at this time of the season.

These injuries may range from a bump or a bruise, sprained ankle or something a bit more serious like a fracture. Participating in sport should be an enjoyable experience and therefore attending to pain and injury is essential to ensure our children continue to enjoy their sport.

Inversion Ankle Sprain

The most common injury suffered across all the football codes would have to be an inversion ankle sprain.  An inversion ankle sprain occurs when the ankle rolls and is twisted inwards overstretching and damaging the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. The severity of the injury can vary greatly. In minor sprains this can consist of damage to a few ligament fibres resulting in a small amount of pain and swelling around the ankle. In the most severe cases, rupture of the ankle ligaments and damage to the bone can occur. Severe injuries involving rupture or minor fracture usually result in severe pain, swelling, bruising and often an inability to put weight on the foot.

Initial treatment should follow the regime of rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE).  Depending on the severity of the injury, crutches, ankle braces or cast walkers may be required to offload and support the ankle.  Poorly treated ankle sprains will often result in a recurrence of the injury and consequently a weakness and instability placing the player at an increased risk of further injury therefore a visit to your local podiatrist is recommended to ensure a proper treatment plan is initiated.

Severs Disorder

As a podiatrist heel pain is one of the most frequent problems to walk or hobble through the door.  Active children aged between 8 and 13 are particularly susceptible to heel pain or as we call it Severs disorder. This problem is caused by inflammation around the growth plate on the back of the calcaneus or heel bone where the Achilles tendon attaches. As the child grows the calf muscles and the Achilles tendon will often tighten up resulting in increased pulling on the back of the heel and growth plate resulting in inflammation and pain. This problem responds particularly well to treatment which usually involves stretches for the calf muscles, ice on the area and innersoles or orthotics to help elevate and stabilise the heel to reduce tension around the growth plate.

Shin Splints And Arch Pain

Shin pain (shin splints) and arch pain also top the list as the more common complaints we see in active kids.  These two problems can often come on gradually, starting as a mild ache during sport progressing to become a constant problem, impairing the child’s ability to participate in sport. Some kids will be more prone to these problems and this type of pain can often indicate that their feet and legs are not coping with the extra stress and strain that their sport places on them. Kids who have really flexible flat feet or feet that over pronate (roll in) are most at risk of these problems.  This is because the muscles that run up the inside and front of the shin bone and the along the underside of the arch work extra hard to keep the feet and legs stable and prevent them from rolling in and flattening out too much.

These Problems Are Treatable

The good news is that these problems are treatable and should not prevent our future footy stars from running around the park.

We recommend a check-up with a podiatrist when:

• Your child complains of recurrent pain in the feet and or legs.

• Your child is constantly tripping or falling.

• You notice any skin rashes, hard skin lumps or bumps on your child’s feet.

• Or if you have any other concerns about your child’s feet.


Spotting a Plantar Plate Tear

Plantar plate tear

Plantar plate tear

One of the most common forefoot complaints that presents to my FootDr podiatry centres is a plantar plate tear.   This is seen most frequently in middle-aged women who present with constant plantar metatarsal pain and swelling extending towards the toes (mostly affecting the 2nd toe).  Often swelling and redness can also be noted across the dorsum of the forefoot along with symptoms exacerbated by extended periods of walking or running and the use of high heel shoes.  As the plantar plate tear progresses, clawing and splaying of the toes is seen.

Early diagnosis and management of a plantar plate tear can often be challenging due to the complex structure and anatomy of the foot.  If necessary, furthe

r investigations can be ordered such as plain x-ray or diagnostic ultrasound to appraise the severity of injury.  However, the early stages of a plantar plate tear are best managed when there is only acute plantar metatarsophalangeal joint synovitis and no instability or deformity (clawing and splayed toes).  Conservative treatments primarily include symptomatic relief through NSAIDs, strapping, off-loading padding, footwear and activity modification.  Subsequently treatment will then focus on the underlying cause of the problem ie pes planus, bunions, hammer toes, mechanical stress.  At myFoot Dr podiatry centres we will perform a thorough physical and biomechanical assessment to determine the best course of action to offload the forefoot and decrease mechanical stresses.  Often a customised, soft, CAD/CAM orthotic device and footwear modifications are recommended that can prevent the problem from progressing.

Occasionally in chronic cases, an orthopaedic appraisal and surgery is recommended.  Generally, most patients are able to return to activity in 1 month of treatment and pain free within 3-4 months.