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Keeping the spring in your step with less pain: The most common foot care questions answered

BioPed’s Guelph Clinic Manager sheds some light on some common questions regarding foot and lower limb care.

My feet take a pounding and like many of you, I live with ongoing foot and lower limb pain. I recently sat down with Meghan Knox, Canadian Certified Pedorthist and Clinic Manager of BioPed’s Guelph location, to talk to her about what I can do to get the spring back in my step.

First of all, is it normal to have foot pain or discomfort?

“That's a very good question. A lot of times people will think that their feet are supposed to hurt. They might stand all day and assume that foot pain is normal. That’s not the case, though. They’re not supposed to hurt and there are definitely solutions available that can help.”

Can orthotics help people of all ages?

“Absolutely. At BioPed, we help people of all ages from new walkers through to the elderly. A lot of young people wear orthotics, especially athletes.”

What is the difference between an orthotic and an orthopedic shoe?

“An orthotic is a custom molded insert that fits inside a shoe while an orthopedic shoe is a shoe with certain features that help to make your feet feel more comfortable. Orthopedic shoes come in all different types including really good athletic shoes and comfortable dress shoes.”

Warmer weather is coming. Can I wear sandals and still take care of my feet?

“There are comfortable molded sandals available or we can modify sandals in the lab. We also have sandals that you can insert orthotics directly into. You can free your feet from enclosed shoes in the summer and still be comfortable.”

I’ve heard that a new orthotic can be painful. Is that true?

“It should not be painful or uncomfortable. There is definitely a break-in period to go through, but we instruct our patients on how to gently break them in properly. We make sure to see our patients after a week or two of wearing their new orthotic so that we can adjust or tweak a specific spot to make them more comfortable.”

Are all of the treatment options expensive?

“No, not all options are expensive. We offer a huge range of solutions that help to correct lower limb biomechanics because we have an onsite lab. We also offer over the counter solutions that can be more affordable as well. Sometimes, we might be able to customize a bit of support into someone’s current shoes. The best thing you can do is to be open about your finances when you are having an assessment. We definitely want to work with you to be able to make sure that you are comfortable. Most people’s insurance covers almost all of the cost, but you should check with your individual plan to make sure.”

One last question is one that I’ve always wondered about. What is the difference between a pedorthist and a chiropodist?

“That is a very common question. A pedorthist is a biomechanical specialist and we are designated to actually manufacture devices ourselves. We focus on the biomechanics and alignment from the hip down. A chiropodist specializes in the soft tissues of the foot. They do minor surgeries like ingrown toenails, corn removals, and clipping nails. At BioPed, we work side by side to offer the best patient care possible.”

If you have any further questions for Meghan and her team, or if you would like to schedule a lower limb assessment, call BioPed at (519) 821-7310 or visit them online. BioPed is located at 102 Wyndham Street North in Guelph.