Free Footwear Health Check

Parents come to Happy Feet Pedorthics truly very worried about their children’s feet. Grandparents also come worried about their grandchildren’s feet! And I am one of them – a grandparent having to be told repeatedly – not to worry – Lucas’s feet are normal!

We know that:

  • Poor footwear choices for children can lead to problems. Apparently this was my failing as a parent – the shoes were too short – so the toes are clawed. Definitely nothing to do with choices being made by an adolescent daughter, having regard of Mum’s view, because what would a Mum know?
  • Mums and Dads know that it is not normal for a child to have problems with co-ordination, stumbling, mobility and excessive shoe wear points and deterioration. Grandparents also know! At a recent review of Lucas’s footwear this very discussion was had and Lucas had a view also! Too long or too short? Safe at play or a trip and falls risk? Bought on special or full price? What will Nanna make next?
  • Children with disabilities may have very special footwear needs. Recently we have provided corrective footwear for a little one – split fit corrective piedro boots, LLD raise and strap extensions
  • Most feet problems in childhood can be successfully treated through appropriate footwear choices to ensure these little feet grow into healthy, happy ‘big’ feet.

Children – free as the wind

So when to intervene is the question. In working with several experienced podiatrists the advice has been that two of the following factors need to be prevalent:

  • Hereditary factors from Mum, Dad or the Grandparents
  • Severe pain
  • Gross deformity

The pain is a tricky one for parents – how do we know? Often the key is that the child does not want to wear the footwear. But for the parents is the child being irritable, naughty or non-compliant or is the child telling us something in his or her words – that the feet are sore?

Trips and falls are usually not so tricky when asked about. Parents know if their child is tripping and falling more than other children. However the child can be described as just being clumsy and un-coordinated. Or often times the shoes the child is wearing are just too big – with way too much growing room! The other one we can forget about is growing pains!

So at Happy Feet Pedorthics what can we do? We have:

  • Quality shoes and sandals including corrective footwear
  • Have inserts which
    • Provides biomechanical support to the longitudinal arch
    • Assists to stabilise the heel
    • Cushion the heel
    • Support the arch and re-aligns the foot & ankle
    • Help to relieve growing pains in the feet and legs, especially Severs Disease which is pain at the back of the heel
    • Are 3/4-length and are suitable for all types children’s footwear, including school shoes, joggers and runners
Children – free as the wind

That all children be free as the wind!

Clare Nelson C Ped CM AU
Feb 12 2016

Once upon a time there is a man call Lothar Jahrling. Lothar lives in Germany. At the same time and in the nearby land of Austira there is a man called Dr Wolfgang Laube. Lothar was the first to publish the story about the sensomotoric® orthotic concept and Dr Wolfgang who is an MD, Sports Physician and elite athlete in his time has written about the sensomotoric® theory. It is well documented as a theory in rehabilitation, manual therapy and physiotherapy. Then there is another man called Karl Schott who was born and worked in Germany and now he lives in Australia. This is where Clare Nelson met Karl through the Pedorthic Association of Australia. Karl has taught Clare about the sensomotoric® theory and the sensomotoric® orthotic concept.

So now at Happy Feet Pedorthics we can tell you the stories of Happy Feet.

A little boy possibly with cerebral palsy but too young at the time for an official diagnoses was delayed in walking by months and months. The sensomotoric® orthotics did the trick. Up and not just walking – running in no time creating havoc.

A middle aged woman who thought it was normal to walk on her toes as the routine. The Finn shoes with the foot bed saw the heel down first and then the sensomotoric® orthotic along with a physiotherapy re-hab program saw a new routine of a heel to toe gait.

A most flat footed client who works as a prosthodontist wears our accommodative orthoses when working and the sensomotoric® orthotic when walking. No more hip pain and describes his feet as being more arch like.

A client following an exercise program wears a neutral runner for the program and the sensomotoric® sports runner orthotics for work. Just standing in the sports runner the client feels the muscles being activated!

We are all connected – flat feet and sore knees. The physio tapes the feet to give the experience of less pain to the knees. Then refers on for the sensomotoric® orthotics. No more knee pain!

The following is taken from

Sensomotoric® orthoses are orthotic devices which utilise the proprioceptive system in the body.

The body has various receptors which constantly check body position, muscle tone including movement. Sensomotoric® orthoses use those principles to improve foot function and to guide you to better movement pathways.

The theory behind sensomotoric® foot orthoses revolves around the natural response of the foot and body in relation to how the ground is felt by the feet.

The insoles are designed to alter how the foot ‘feels’ the ground in particular the timing of ground contact. The body has a preferred movement pattern whether it is the best pattern for you or not.

Body movement and functionality is not always perfect, in which bad habits can eventuate and become repetitive. In sport it is well accepted that you have a coach or trainer who points out the “wrong” movement techniques whilst teaching the correct ones.

You then have to learn the improved movement pathways and repeat them until they become your new movement pathways. Sensomotoric® orthoses are your personal trainer for your feet inside your shoes.

The joy of walking with Happy Feet

Clare Nelson CPed CM Au

Shoes make a difference.

Orthotics make a difference.

The questions is where to begin? It is a bit like the chicken and the egg or the horse and the cart! Which comes first? The egg and then the chicken? The cart and then the horse? The orthotic then the shoes or the shoes and then the orthotic? At Happy Feet Pedorthics, it is all about team work as to what comes first.

Before one gets to the team work idea – what is meant by the term orthotic? Are orthotics what one can buy from the chemist? Or did you get yours from the chiropractor or your physiotherapist? Maybe you have a traditional podiatry orthotic from your podiatrist?

The specialization of the podiatrist is to look after your nails, corns and callous; and to also provide gait analysis, recommending orthotics if required. Often times the podiatrist prescribes a rigid / functional / corrective orthotic which is aimed to improve poor biomechanics such as when a person has flat feet or true pes planus.

Many allied health professionals prescribe and supply many different takes on what is called an orthotic. People in the market place have also realised that to label a box with an insert in it – an orthotic will make a dollar or 2!

So where does all this leave the consumer. What are the costs? What are the benefits? At Happy Feet Pedorthics our experience is that people know their own stories, and that the logic of the client is good logic. We often have conversations where clearly the person with the sore feet is feeling no better off, they have paid a lot of money and tell us they had been told their orthotics would go into any shoes – which is their experience do not!

So at Happy Feet Pedorthics we err on caution – step by step:

  • Assessment and fitting – with a recommendation in the first place of shoes which fit the feet!
  • A next step may be to try a low entry price point off the shelf insert – labelled as an orthotic, but we see it as a device which will give additional support and cushioning compared to the inserts which come with the shoes.

The percentage of improvement at this point for the Happy Feet Pedorthics client is usually at about 70 to 85%, and with this is the confidence to take the next step of our pedorthic recommendation and to progress with a fuller commitment to custom made orthotics. The commitment is around a higher price point and a strong confidence to achieve a much improved health outcome.

  • The pedorthic recommendation at Happy Feet would be for either an accommodative or sensomotoric orthotic.

Give sore feet the boot!

Clare Nelson C Ped CM AU