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Podiatry for Midwives

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Written by Airlie Waller, Owner of Willunga Podiatry


Love your feet.  As a midwife - your feet allow you to do your job.

Standing for long periods of time, or walking a lot, hard floors and moving equipment and people are all a part of a day's work. You also work with Women and babies - 2 very unpredictable creatures. You are well trained and good at what you do. You pay attention in OHS seminars but the reality is that sometimes you are not always in control of your posture and to be realistic, the health of your feet is often not a high priority!

The bones of the body are supported by ligaments and muscles which help the different limbs hold their shape and undertake movements. In your feet there are 26 different bones - that is a lot of little ligaments and muscles that can be stretched or damaged. Streching or damage can lead to pain or discomfort in your feet or may even impact the way that your knees, hips or back move and feel

Taking care of your feet whilst you are working is therefore vital for your whole of body health.  Here are some ideas for things you can do to look after your feet.

Muscle strength is important - you can activate the little stabilising muscles in your feet simply standing on one leg. Stand barefoot, nice and tall like someone is pulling a string through the crown of your head. You can also do this in shoes on a break - it’s not as effective but it’s better than nothing.

Ankle movement - while you are sitting doing paperwork, rock your feet for a few minutes - all the way from the heels to the ball of the big toes. Then rotate them 10 times one direction then switch.

Stand Up - Try not to sit for more than 20 minutes. If you are sitting make sure your feet are flat on the ground, not wrapped around a chairs legs or dangling for the floor. If you have little legs get a stool to put your feet on or lower your chair.

Give your feet some love - stand on a tennis ball or foam roller - a rolling pin will also do. Remember, there are 26 Bones and a myriad of muscles and ligaments in the foot so light pressure into the arch offers a slight traction and movement into joints that can get a bit stiff.

Maintain your muscles -  get some exercise on your days off, it’s as simple as going for a walk. Try exercising on various surfaces to challenge the neurological structures that offer balance, strength and support. Exercise is also great for stress release. If you feel too tired - try just 10 minutes.

Check your shoes – they are a major part of your foot health and comfort.

  • Make sure they fit.  Take the time to get them fitted correctly. Walk around in the shop on different surfaces (not just carpet). I like to try 2 different shoes on different feet when comparing.
  • Material - Leather will offer some water resistance - either on the commute to work or in a healthcare setting where any bodily fluid can jump out at you. Goretex is also a good option but not as breathable or washable and will not stretch.
  • Durability - usually you get what you pay for - cheap shoes are often made with cheap materials such as cardboard and nails. More expensive shoes use plastic, strips of metal and higher density rubber.
  • Style - You can cover a lot of steps working as a midwife - if you wear walkers or runners for recreation you should have the same amount for cushioning and support at work.
  • Lace-ups are great because you can adjust them. Did you know there are more than one way to tie laces to best suit your feet? A good shoe shop or podiatrist can help.

 

See a podiatrist - If you have foot pain do not ignore it - visit a podiatrist to help you identify the issue and get back on your feet. Podiatrists are trained to assess the feet - the joint movement, muscle strength and walking pattern.

October if Foot Health Awareness Month (http://www.foothealthexperts.com.au/) with 8th October  being dedicated to International Podiatry Day (https://www.fip-ifp.org/ipd/).

So, if you have been taking advantage of your feet start to show them some affection today - take a few minutes to stretch them, massage them or practice some balance.

The Australian Podiatry Association has some great resources for the public as well as a Find-A-Podiatrist tool to help find a Podiatrist near you.


You can reach out to Airlie for some foot health care using the following details:

Airlie Waller

Owner,  Willunga Podiatry

PO BOX 775 Willunga 5172 SA

Phone: (08) 7078 0357

Email: airlie@willungapodiatry.com.au

Website: www.willungapodiatry.com.au