Bunions, foot ulcerations and corns are not often spoken about in polite company, but Southern Cross University pedorthics students will make them front and centre at a fortnightly clinic dedicated to helping people get back onto their feet.
The University’s Gold Coast campus has become the first in Australia to offer student-led pedorthics appointments to the public, for an affordable fee.
Every second Thursday from this month until September, Southern Cross University Health Clinic pedorthics students will conduct comprehensive assessments of foot conditions with professional supervision, and will offer solutions such as manufacturing footwear, orthosis and supportive devices.
Final year pedorthics and podiatry student Christie Owen, 22, said the clinic would enable students to work directly with clients, implementing their learning from practical placements and the classroom, then building multiple appliances in state-of-the-art labs.
“Pedorthists are health professionals who assess for, prescribe and manufacture medical-grade footwear which includes customising pre-made footwear and designing and manufacturing custom-made footwear, orthoses, and bracing for the foot, ankle and lower leg for clients,” Christie said.
“We are calling for anyone with foot conditions which require specialised footwear or appliances to book an appointment to see us. Anyone with diabetes which affects their feet, bunions, rheumatoid arthritis in the foot, amputations, misshapen or deformed feet or feet which are very difficult to fit would be ‘the right fit’ for this clinic.”
Christie, a former athlete, moved to the Gold Coast from Sydney to study the unique double-degree at Southern Cross University Gold Coast, the only campus in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere offering both undergraduate degrees.
The swimming and netball champion decided to pave a career helping other athletes recover from foot and lower leg conditions, or anyone requiring specialised footwear or other devices.
Christie said referrals from doctors are welcomed though not required for clinic appointments, and clients were encouraged to bring a copy of their medical history where possible.
The University’s Podiatry and Pedorthics Professional Experience Lecturer Alex Terrill said a trial run for the pedorthics clinic last year was very successful with many positive results for a range of clients, paving the way for a bigger clinic this year.
“Footwear has been identified as a major way to prevent diabetic foot ulceration, and Southern Cross University is training students on best practice,” Mr Terrill said.
“Our podiatry students treat everyone from rugby league players to residents in aged care homes and continue to assist in ongoing research.”
Southern Cross University’s Bachelor of Pedorthics and Bachelor of Podiatry degrees are approved through the Pedorthic Association of Australia, and Australian and New Zealand Podiatry Accreditation Council.
Pedorthics initial assessment appointments cost $40, subsequent consultations are $20 and can be made by calling 07 5589 3252. Footwear and appliances will have additional costs.
Southern Cross University Health Clinic offers student-led appointments across a range of disciplines, including osteopathy, exercise physiology, speech pathology, as well as podiatry and pedorthics.
Photo: Christie OwenMedia contact: Jessica Nelson 0417288794