This year shows continued growth in the number of individual patients who want to seek out a solution to their foot and leg problems.
There is an ongoing increase in the incidence of plantar fasciitis (arch strain) and heel spur syndrome. Likelihood is that one of the main factors for this is the increase in awareness of the importance of active lifestyle, particularly in the mature-age population and more of those subjects seeking out meaningful levels of physical activity.
Foot instabilities that may have been present before are often brought to front-and-centre when we add the influence of increased physical activity.
Chronic achilles tendon pain is another condition that continues to present regularly and in many cases it hasn't responded well enough to other treatment(s) before they see us.
Joint degeneration through the influence of osteoarthritis and sometimes prior injury often gives rise to significant discomfort during activity. Unfortunately we can't cure the condition but we can very often lessen the pain by letting the feet perform more properly.
Knee pain, particularly around the knee cap (patella), is now one of the most significant problems that presents at our clinic - in all age groups.
Children are commonly presenting (most often at ages between about 9 and 15) with patella-femoral joint pain that is almost always activity related. The foot is a MAJOR influence on the (required) smooth travel of the patella in the femoral groove (above the patella) and there is a very strong correlation between excessive foot instability and this debilitating anatomical condition.
Many parents present their children to us and believe that their child is suffering from "growing pains". This is not a medical condition - merely a generalised term for those who suffer pain or discomfort in various foot/leg regions and they are still growing. Very often these patterns of discomfort can be traced back to poor functional foot/leg alignment.
Children also present regularly with heel pain that is particularly bad with activity. A simple test for its origin is to squeeze the sides of the heel. There is a cartilage growth plate in this bone and it is often irritated by excessive traction on it from the achilles tendon at the back and the ligament attachment underneath.
Referrals continue to arrive for patients who are suffering with discomfort in areas such as the side of the hip (not the ball-and-socket joint). Commonly they are referred for a condition called greater trochanteric bursitis. This is, like so many of the conditions that we see - one of essentially mechanical origin. That is; the pain associated with the problem can very often be traced back to anatomical malalignment. This is something that can be altered for the better - especially when there is complimentary management being offered by other health Professionals who specialise in alleviating musculo-skeletal conditions.
We have been perfecting all the variations in prescription, made-to-measure foot orthotics for several decades now. That work continues to interest us and we are updating the techniques used as well as the best available materials to get a great result for our patients. Big advancements have been made in material science, casting and modelling of the foot and, more recently, 3D scanning of corrected-position foot contours. There is more choice for us than ever before in the methods of manufacture for orthotics. Computer-controlled machining and 3D printing are two of the most innovative technologies that we will have in our arsenal.