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Finding the right fit for feet at Pedorthic Symposium

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Steve Spinks
Published
20 September 2013
Forensic podiatry, diabetic footwear, athlete performance and orthoses manufacturing will be just some of the topics covered during the 2013 International Pedorthic Symposium at Southern Cross University’s Gold Coast campus from Friday, September 20.

The three-day conference, hosted by the School of Health and Human Sciences, will include specialists from Japan and Thailand and will highlight the state-of-the-art manufacturing lab recently installed at the University’s Gold Coast campus. The Symposium is being organised by the Australian Pedorthic Medical Grade Footwear Association (APMGFA).

“Pedorthists specialise in the use of footwear and supportive devices to address conditions which affect the feet and lower limbs,” certified pedorthist and SCU Adjunct Professional Fellow, Karl-Heinz Schott said.

“They are trained in the assessment of lower limb anatomy and biomechanics and the appropriate use and manufacture of corrective footwear, including shoes, shoe modifications and lower limb orthoses. We will be holding hands-on workshops in the new manufacturing lab and manufacturing orthotic devices.

“We will be having lectures on orthotic alignment systems that can have specific impacts on cyclists and runners. Both of these types of athletes can suffer from alignment issues that can impact their long term health. Indeed, pedorthists can enhance the performance of most land-based athletes who wear footwear.

“We have a couple of lectures on forensic podiatry and its application to pedorthics. Forensic podiatry is a new area of study and is being used to examine foot-related evidence in a legal or criminal investigation context. This includes things like footprints, footwear and analysis of gait.

“And of course we will be talking about diabetes and its effect on footwear and pedorthics. Diabetes, which is almost in epidemic proportions in Australia, part of its pathology is that it affects the blood supply to the feet and can also effect the operation of nerves. It can affect feet by altered nerve sensation or it can be so bad that diabetes can lead to foot amputation.”

A Bachelor in Clinical Science majoring in pedorthics is now being offered at Southern Cross University. Historically, pedorthics has been studied via vocational education and training, but this is in the process of changing with the University offering the first pedorthics degree in Australia and indeed the Southern Hemisphere.

Photo: Adjunct Professional Fellow Karl-Heinz Schott.

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