Here at Sarah Sweeney Podiatry, we treat a range of lower limb and foot conditions. We believe prevention is better than cure and that early intervention is best. As a rule of thumb, the longer you leave a problem, the longer it is going to take to fix. So the earlier you can get in to see us, the better.
If your child has pain or if you have noticed they’re walking a little “funny,” make sure you book them in for an appointment. We also believe that conservative treatment is best and we will always try and fix your pain in the least invasive way possible. We are passionate about continuing education to ensure we are using the latest technology and most up to date treatment methods.
Heel pain (Plantar Fasciitis) is probably the most common condition Podiatrists treat. The pain can occur in one or both of the heels and can extend into the arch and around the sides of the heel. It often hurts first thing in the morning, after a long day on your feet or after a period of sitting, when you get back up and start walking. Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. The pain can be a dull ache, a sharp shooting pain or a crippling pain that stops you from walking. Left untreated, Plantar Fasciitis can last years, or worse, may never go away.
A heel spur is a bony ossicle that forms on the underside of the heel bone, causing a bony protrusion. A tight plantar fascia will constantly pull on the heel, causing an ossicle to form. The heel spur usually coincides with Plantar Fasciitis (inflammation of a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes) and that is what causes the pain. A heel spur is often diagnosed by Xray and is a good indication that the plantar fascia has endured trauma and that it is tight and pulling on the heel.
People with flat feet (pes planus) have a very low arch or no arch, meaning that their feet may be on the ground or close to the ground. As we age, our arches collapse and we can develop adult acquired flat foot. Unfortunately for people with flat feet, they are more likely to experience pain and problems with their feet. People with flat feet are often hypermobile, so their feet tend to roll in when they walk. Once again, this can cause pain and can contribute to many musculoskeletal conditions in their feet, ankle, knees and back.
Morton's neuroma is a painful condition that affects the ball of your foot, most commonly the area between your third and fourth toe. A Morton’s neuroma is a nerve that becomes inflamed due to your foot structure, the way you walk or ill fitting footwear. A Morton's neuroma may feel as if you are standing on a pebble in your shoe, you will usually experience nerve pain (tingling, pins and needles, electric shocks) and often your feet hurt when they are in tight shoes or when they are squeezed. A Morton’s neuroma may require surgery if not addressed.
Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa sac. These bursa sacs are all over our body including our feet. They're filled with fluid to provide cushioning and to prevent friction between bones, tendons and muscles. When the bursa sac becomes inflamed, it can cause tenderness, pain and swelling in the ball of your foot. This often occurs due to excess pressure in the forefoot due to your foot structure or the way you walk.
Sesamoids are bones that are connected to muscles by tendons. There are two small sesamoids in your foot, in your big toe. Sesamoiditis is a condition that causes inflammation in those tendons surrounding the sesamoid bones. It is common among runners and ballet dancers. Sesamoiditis can be a difficult condition to settle down so it is recommended to book in as soon as onset occurs.
Ankle pain can be caused by a range of pathologies. Common conditions include an Ankle Sprain, Ankle Impingement, Sinus Tarsi Syndrome and Ankle Fracture. Tibialis Posterior is one of the most important muscles in the foot and Tibialis Posterior Tendonitis is a very common cause of ankle pain. The Tibialis Posterior’s job is to stop the foot from rolling in and to support the arch. If you roll in when you walk or if your arches are collapsed, this tendon is constantly working hard and becomes sore and inflamed. An overworked Tibialis Posterior Tendon can develop into Tibialis Tendon Dysfunction or Adult Acquired Flat Foot. This is a debilitating condition if left untreated and can cause severe Arthritis, a collapsed and deformed foot and limitations with mobility and walking.
Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. Arthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones wears down over time. There are over 100 different types of Arthritis with the most common being Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear of the joints and old age. If you have had trauma such as a fracture, a ligament injury or a dislocated joint, the cartilage becomes damaged, leading to Arthritis. Arthritis can also occur in people with a poor foot structure or poor biomechanics. The foot is not in the correct position when standing and walking and so, wear and tear occurs at an increased rate. An orthotic can help support the foot and prevent excessive wear and tear on the joints.
A Bunion is a bony protrusion that forms on the joint at the base of the big toe. Bunions can also form on the 5th toe (a Talar’s Bunion). Bunions in the big toe form because the big toe shifts to the side towards the smaller toes causing the joint at the base of the toe to protrude out. The skin over the Bunion can become red and the joint may hurt to walk or stand on. Bunions can occur for a number of reasons. Footwear has always been blamed and although this can worsen the condition, Bunions are generally a biomechanical issue, caused by the way you walk. Your Podiatrist can explain how to prevent Bunions from worsening and how to reduce the pain.
Arch pain is pain that is localised to the arch of the foot. It can occur in people with high arches or in people with flat feet however it does tend to be more prevalent in people with flat feet. Arch pain can be a result of Plantar Fasciitis or pain and inflammation in another tendon or muscle, a stress fracture, poor foot structure, poor biomechanics, Arthritis or muscle tightness.
Midfoot pain is pain in the middle of the foot. Midfoot pain can occur gradually through biomechanical issues and overloading or instantly through trauma such as a sprain or a fracture. Common conditions that occur in the midfoot include Arthritis, Fracture, Peroneal Tendonitis or a Lisfranc injury. The Lisfranc area is made up of a group of small bones that help form the arch of the foot. If one of these bones is broken or a tendon is torn or inflamed, the midfoot can become very sore, swollen or red.
Our feet are designed to move while we walk. It is a natural motion that we roll in or roll out. We need to get our feet to the ground and we need to absorb shock. However, if somebody is rolling in (pronating) or rolling out (supinating) too much, pain and problems can arise. The foot is full of many muscles and tendons. If these muscles and tendons are moving too much due to the foot rolling in or out, they are overworking and become stressed and strained and will get sore. Arthritis can occur when the feet are excessively moving, causing accelerated wear and tear on the joints as they are sitting in the wrong place. Conditions like bunions can occur when someone is rolling in or rolling out too much. In a supinated foot, there is often not enough shock absorption.
Achilles Tendinopathy or Tendinitis is an inflammation of the Achilles Tendon. The Achilles Tendon joins the calf muscle to the heel bone. Achilles Tendinopathy is a very common injury as the calf muscle is a major muscle group (made up of the Gastrocnemius and the Soleus). Any motion of the foot or leg involves these muscles. Tight calf muscles, flat or pronated feet or overuse can cause the Achilles tendon to become inflamed and sore. You may experience pain or swelling at the back or sides of the heel or halfway up the calf. Retrocalcaneal Bursitis, Haglund’s Deformity or an Achilles Tendon Tear may occur in conjunction with the Tendinopathy.
Children's feet are constantly growing and changing. During this growth stage, pain and problems can occur. Some of the common conditions we treat:
Sever's disease (also known as Calcaneal Apophysitis) is one of the most common conditions we treat in which boys age 9-15 and girls age 8-14 experience heel pain. At this age, kids are experiencing huge growth spurts. Their calf muscles can become really tight, pulling on the growth plate in the heel. It’s this pulling that causes an injury to the growth plate and leads to pain. Children usually feel pain under the heel, on the sides of the heel and it may radiate up the Achilles tendon. The pain can last for a few months or a few years while they’re going through these growth spurts. It is easily diagnosed and treated by a Podiatrist and early intervention is best.
A Podiatrist can help improve hip and lower back pain. One of the major causes of lower back pain can be due to incorrect foot biomechanics and poor alignment of the lower limb. Flat feet, over pronation or over supination, limb length difference and asymmetry in the feet are all potential causes of hip and lower back pain.
Knee pain is a common condition that affects people of all ages. A lot of the time poor foot posture or poor biomechanics (the way you walk) could be causing or contributing to your knee pain. Custom orthotics are often beneficial in treating Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, Patella Tendinopathy and in preventing Arthritis. If you have persistent knee pain, it is important to get checked out by a Podiatrist to see if we can help you.
Shin splints (Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome) refers to pain felt anywhere along the shinbone from the knee to the ankle.Walking or running can place excessive force on the muscles and tendons in the lower limb. If there is overuse or a biomechanical dysfunction, these tendons can literally pull on the bone causing inflammation and pain. The pain may be felt before, during or after sport. Causes of shin splints include flat feet or rigid high arches, incorrect running technique including pronation (when the feet roll in), overuse, footwear and high impact exercise.
Leg length discrepancy (LLD) is when the legs are an uneven length meaning that one leg is longer than the other. This can cause pain, problems and compensation in the feet, knees, hip and back. Your Podiatrist will assess your leg length and determine the cause (structural, or functional) and the treatment that is best for you.
An ingrown toenail is a nail that is growing into the corners or sides of the toe. This can cause pain, redness, swelling and can lead to infection. It usually affects the big toe however any toe can be affected. A Podiatrist can clear the nail, giving you immediate relief, as well as educate you on how you may be able to stop this from happening again.
Toenails can thicken up due to micro or major trauma, blood flow issues, Diabetes or a fungal infection. Thickened nails can look unsightly and can be painful. A Podiatrist will thin the nails out for you, reduce the pressure and pain and make them look a lot nicer.
Fungal infections can occur for a number of reasons. The nail can become thick, discoloured, crumbly and unsightly. Fungal nails can worsen over time and can be very difficult to resolve. A Podiatrist can talk to you about your treatment options, cut your toenails with sterile instruments (reducing the spread), make the toenails look nicer and help clear the infection.
A Podiatrist treats all lower limb injuries that occur during sport and exercise. It is important to see a Podiatrist if you develop an injury or if you are experiencing pain during sport. It is also important to see a Podiatrist if you want to improve your performance and prevent injury. A Biomechanical Assessment is a thorough appointment in which we can assess your muscle strength, joint mobility and determine if there are any weaknesses in your foot posture, lower limb or gait, with the goal to keep you pain and injury free while performing at your best.
It is recommended that people with Diabetes see a Podiatrist regularly to avoid foot complications from occurring. If you are seeing your Podiatrist regularly, someone is looking after your feet, looking out for any problems or future issues and educating you about proper foot care.
People with Diabetes are at a higher risk of developing foot problems such as Neuropathy, Infection, Ulceration and Amputation. There are many ways that Diabetes can affect the feet but the two most common are nerves and blood flow. Nerve damage and loss of sensation is unfortunately a very common complication of Diabetes. Loss of sensation in the feet means that you won’t feel when you walk on a sharp object or burning hot ground, when you have a pebble in your shoe or when you have a cut or a blister on your foot. Loss of sensation also affects your balance and the way you walk because you can’t feel your feet. You may also experience nerve pain which can feel like numbness, tingling or a burning sensation in your feet. Circulation issues and poor blood flow means that less blood flows down to your feet which can delay healing, which is why infection, ulceration and amputation is more common in people with Diabetes. Thickened or unhealthy nails and dry and callused skin can also occur due to poor blood flow.
Even if you are not currently experiencing any pain or issues with your feet, we recommend that you see your Podiatrist annually for a Diabetic Assessment. At that appointment we can perform all the necessary tests, check your feet over, educate you on proper foot care and determine if you need to see us more often.
Cracked heels, also known as heel fissures, are layers of hardened skin at the back and sides of heels. Cracked heels usually occur due to dry or exposed skin. These cracks can look unsightly, can be painful, can bleed and can be a portal of entry for infection. A Podiatrist will gently remove the hard skin and educate you on moisturising and how you may be able to prevent the cracks from recurring.
Plantar warts are small growths of skin that form underneath the foot. The warts can be painful and you may change the way you walk to avoid stepping on the painful growth (causing a whole different set of issues). Plantar warts can become bigger if left untreated and can spread. A Podiatrist can discuss all treatment options with you and perform the treatment in the clinic.
A corn is thickened or hardened skin that forms due to excess pressure. The excess pressure may be there due to your biomechanics, foot structure, toe shape or tight footwear. Corns aren’t always made up of hard skin though, sometimes they are soft with a rubbery texture. These corns usually occur between the toes. Corns can be painful and they can become infected or even ulcerate. A Podiatrist will gently remove the corn and educate you on how you may be able to prevent them from recurring.
A callus is a section of skin that becomes hard and thick. Calluses generally form due to excess pressure or exposed skin. The excess pressure may be there due to your biomechanics, foot structure, toe shape or tight footwear. Calluses differ slightly from corns but can be very similar. In Diabetics and patients with poor circulation, the calluses may lead to ulceration. A Podiatrist will gently remove the hard skin and educate you on how you may be able to prevent the callus from recurring.