The Hills Medical is a family general practice that has been tending the health needs of our hills’ community for more than 31 years.
We work in close consultation with the owners and technicians at Kinetic Orthotics to provide the best possible orthotic devices, and therefore the best possible results, every time.
Many people of many ages experience heel pain. This is commonly at its worst in the morning, after resting, after driving or working, and after sport or activities such as walking.
If you experience pain in the heel first thing in the morning, or after rest, this is commonly referred to as a “heel spur”. However, the actual cause of the pain is not usually the spur itself. The spur comes about as a result of inflammation and over-stretching the of the plantar-fascia muscle, which attaches into the heel. The resulting pain is actually called “plantar fasciitis”, and can often feel like a “bruised heel”.
Many people leave this condition untreated for months or even years. Plantar fasciitis is treatable, and it is easier to treat the earlier it is caught. There is no need for painful injections or surgery. Podiatrists routinely treat this condition successfully with no pain.
Heel pain in children: not just a growing pain!
Heel pain in children can usually be attributed to a problem called Sever’s Disease. It’s not a disease as such, but is caused by incomplete growth centres at the heels.
It is most common in active children and usually occurs during or after exercise, but can persist at rest.
When the Achilles tendon pulls on the heel, and the plantar fascia on the bottom of the foot pulls in the other direction, and the heel growth area has not closed, this can cause inflammation and pain.
Most children exhibit a limp when they have Sever’s, and symptoms are distinct
Flat feet are known medically as pes planus. This is a common condition in children, particularly “double jointed” children. Flat feet can sometimes cause immediate problems in children, and often cause problems later in life due to the pressure placed on them over a long period of time.
Podiatrists are experts at correcting poor foot function and flat feet in children, preventing any pain, and reducing the chance of pain later in life.
However, not just kids have flat feet. Some adults have them too. Sometimes this causes no pain, but often it does. Not only do podiatrists treat children’s flat feet, we also treat adult’s flat feet with great success.
Many people underestimate the importance of regular foot care and checking in relation to their diabetes.
Even if your feet look and feel healthy, changes can be occurring that we are unaware of. Diabetes is known as an “insidious” disease, in that it quietly damages your feet without you even realising it, even if your diabetes is well controlled.
Such changes can include:
A loss of sensation (peripheral neuropathy)
A reduction in blood supply (peripheral vascular disease)
Cramps in the legs, particularly the calves (Calcification or claudication)
All of this makes people with diabetes more susceptible to problems in their feet such as infections, non-healing wounds, and ulcers.
With regular podiatry check ups and treatments, which can range anywhere from 4-weekly or 6-weekly, to 6 monthly reviews, your chances of developing any serious problems are vastly reduced.
What is a Bunion?
A bunion is known medically as a “hallux abducto-valgus”. This means that the big toe moves into a position where a bony “lump” can be seen and felt at the big toe joint. These can reduce movement and can cause quite a lot of pain. These can be treated by podiatrists if caught early, particularly in children and young adults.
What is a corn?
This is a build up of hard skin with a clear centre or “nucleus” that can cause pain, usually on weight bearing area. Usual causes include friction, excess pressure, shearing stresses and torsional or “twisting” stresses. These can be easily, and painlessly, removed by podiatrists, and affect people of all ages.
Is it wart or a corn?
Two common skin problems treated by podiatrists are warts and corns. They sometimes look very similar and can occur anywhere on the feet.
But how do we tell the difference?
Warts are caused by a virus, the Human Papilloma Virus (or HPV) and often occur on non-weight bearing areas.
Corns are pressure areas often caused by seams in socks or shoes, the way we walk, bony areas, and usually only occur in weight bearing areas. Sometimes they occur in between toes from rubbing.
Both are easily and painlessly treated by podiatrists and it is rare for treatments employed to cause any lasting pain.
If you are unsure whether you have a corn or a wart, call today.
What is that pain at the ball of my foot?
There are two common causes of pain at the ball of the foot, or “fore foot”. These are called a neuroma or bursitis.
But what is bursitis or neuroma?
A bursitis is an inflammation of the bursae in the foot. Bursae are fluid filled sacs that are all over the body in weight bearing areas, or areas subjected to high amounts of stress. They cushion the area like pillows, but sometimes they become inflamed, causing pain, and a common site is in the fore foot.
A neuroma is a build up of fatty tissue on a nerve, causing burning/tingling pains or even numbness. This is most common at the fore foot also, as the nerves run between the toe bones and can be easily irritated. These can be extremely uncomfortable and painful.
How do we recognise them and how are they treated?
In-grown toenails have many causes. From genetically “curly” toes that can grow into the side of our toes, damage to the nail growth area, to spikes of nail not being removed effectively.
Pain is a usual indicator of an ingrowing toenail, and some can get infected and bleed if left too long without treatment. In-growing nails are more easily dealt with by your podiatrist if they are found early and treated before they cause discomfort or even infection.
Not all ingrown toenails need to be “cut out”. Sometimes a small piece of nail can be taken out, with no need for anaesthetic, or “cutting”, as this “nail spike” is a common cause of in-grown toenail pain.
Not all in-growing toenails need to be surgically removed. However, when they do, we are well equipped to perform the procedure. We guide you through the procedure step-by-step before proceeding, and your questions are not only welcome, but encouraged.
No referral is necessary, and there is no need for a general anaesthetic. Nail surgery is performed under local anaesthetic, where the offending piece of nail is then removed painlessly. We then use a small amount of a chemical called phenol to prevent the nail growing back.
We allow for 2-3 follow up appointments free of charge to re-dress the toe, and follow up on the procedure.
If you think you may need an in-grown toenail procedure, please call for an appointment today.
Michael has completed post-graduate courses in dry-needling and injury rehabilitation, as well as advanced anatomy and physiology. This gives him a solid foundation in injury rehabilitation and pain-management.
Dry-needling is not acupuncture. Acupuncture uses Chinese Medicine “Ah Shi” points, whereas dry-needling uses myofascial trigger points. However, in most cases these points are the same.
Dry-needling is a relatively painless way to relieve muscle tension and pain in the myofascial tissue. In conjunction with muscle strengthening, it is an effective way to rehabilitate and recover from many injuries, and helps improve balance and lower-limb function.
We use dry-needling and exercises in conjunction with other therapies including taping, stretching, and sometimes orthotics, to help achieve the best result for our patients every time.
General foot problems, Skin and Nail care, Paediatric Foot Assessments and Sport Podiatry
All consultations accompanied by an EPC referral from your GP are bulk billed.
We are registered with all funds through HICAPS and can process your claim immediately with your private health card.
Podiatrists are the only profession recognised by ALL private health funds to prescribe orthotics.