Podiatrists at The Foot Clinic are not just highly experienced in treating common and complex foot and lower limb conditions in children. We also connect with children to make them feel safe and welcome.
The foot clinic difference
It can be a very scary experience for children to go to a medical centre. However at The Foot Clinic, nearly all of us are mums or dads, so we’re pretty good at engaging with kids. We even ask for feedback from the parents as to how we did, and to date we have only ever received 8, 9 or 10’s out of 10 for how happy they have been with our services for their kids.
We’ve all got kids so we know how to help them if they are nervous or upset. I have a picture of all my kids up on my computer. I have two young daughters and a son. Having that picture helps to put kids and their parents feel comfortable. It also makes a great conversation starter. The team at The Foot Clinic are always eager to hear about their patients experiences, this helps them to settle and feel more at ease in the appointment. I love being able to look after kids and help them and their parents out.
PERTH CHILDREN’S PODIATRIST EXPERIENCE
"We have built a strong reputation with the doctors and educators in the Cottesloe area," says Suresh. "They know that our podiatrists do a great job with children as well as work to build a lasting relationship with the parents, and we see them all the way through to their adult years."
The team of podiatrists at The Foot Clinic see kids every day. Many are referred by GP practices within the area or from the education centre located next to the clinic.
“Here at The Foot Clinic we ensure everyone is made to feel welcome and all question asked are answered” Says Dr Suresh.
“This starts from their arrival and being greeted by the front desk admin team. We really try to provide an awesome experience for the kids and their parents when they come to see us here at The Foot Clinic. And so far we have only ever received 8, 9 or 10 out of 10 reviews for our patients experience here, with comments like ‘they could feel the positive energy when they walked in the door’, and ‘the loved the clear explanations they were given by their podiatrist’. We treat everyone who comes in the door as if they have joined our family” Dr Suresh says.
Helping kids reach their full potential
“We treated a 10-year-old boy with tarsal coalitions. That is a condition where some of the rearfoot and midfoot bones are fused together,” says Dr Suresh Sivacolundhu, founder of The Foot Clinic.
“This young boy had a lot of foot and shin pain. He was a super fast runner, but was really struggling after footy and athletics. To address this, we had to arrange surgery on each foot to remove the bony fusion. Next, a pair of prescription orthotics were made for him so his foot was held into a supported and more functional position. He wears his orthotics all the time, he’s pain-free and he loves them. He’s even faster now and is hoping to make it into one of the West Australian football teams. Helping kids reach their full potential is what we do here at The Foot Clinic, and this type of success in the field of children’s foot care is what we live for.”
Common foot problems in children
Other heel pain can originate from biomechanical reasons such as tight calf muscles, pronated or flat feet, poor shock attenuation or even high arches. “Often these issues can often be resolved with shoes, orthotics, stretching and strengthening exercises”.
Here in Perth our footy grounds and other sporting grounds are very hard and unforgiving. This is undoubtedly one of the reasons why we see so many heel pain issues. But often it’s also because they are growing very quickly, the structures are exposed to repetitive stress or increased load on the growth plate in the heel
The team of kid's podiatrists at The Foot Clinic will start with a comprehensive paediatric assessment which tests the range of motions of the joints in the legs and lower limbs. This shows whether the child’s biomechanics are within the normal range and helps identify any abnormalities. Many conditions may resolve in time, however if we see anything that may suggest a problem in the future, we will intervene to prevent these issues and monitor the patient’s feet over 6 or 12 months to see how they are progressing.”
Getting young children to be compliant with their exercises can be very difficult. This is why the podiatrists at The Foot Clinic use alternate treatment strategies and support devices such as shoes and orthotics. “We also recommend our younger clients begin a stretching programme, often including help from parents... but not with their dads” jokes Dr Suresh.
“Dads use too much force and overstretch their poor kids. Mums do a much better job! Mostly however, we focus on things that are quick and easy as mums and dads often have very busy lives and find it difficult to do be committed to doing the exercises with their kids. Kids have great elastic collagen synthesis so their daily running around will usually result in enough stretching and strengthening for their bodies. So instead, we focus on supporting their feet and legs.”
Children's podiatrist: it's about strength!
Prevention is the best medicine. “To help prevent your kids from developing feet problems, staying fit, strong and active is important,” Dr Suresh says, “and if your child has a problem with flat feet or high arches, get it checked sooner rather than later." Not all kids with flat feet need orthotics. The Podiatry team at The Foot Clinic also does a lot of strengthening work with tailored exercises in addition to recommending kids remain active through sport, “Gymnastics, martial arts, little athletics or ballet are awesome foundational strength and flexibility exercises which will keep kids strong and flexible. And we can now add Parkour to that list. Those types of exercises are the best way to keep kids fit, strong, flexible pain free and happy.”
Some foot, knee, hip and back problems can be genetic, that is, they get it from their mums or dads. The Foot Clinic podiatrists look at how parents walk and assess their posture and compare to what their child is presenting with. If they see similar problems in the kids, then the goal is to address any issues before they become more serious problems.
Are you a Family Podiatrist?
I’m a family man, and my colleagues all have children. But we love helping out our patients of all ages and abilities. It’s more about helping each person reach their full potential. We are known for our great engagement and building a strong rapport with our patients. That’s why we have many generations of the same families coming to see us, and we get to see them grow and develop throughout all stages of their lives. We get to experience the joy of seeing a long term patient’s newborn baby, and we get to share the grief of losing an elderly parent or partner. It’s those shared experiences that keep us together and in the end, actually provide better and more successful outcomes for everyone.