Here at Pride Podiatry we have a team of talented and knowledgeable podiatrists, including Ben Westaway, who brings his absolute professional and top-notch care to Melbourne City.
With the increasing demands for evidence-based, person-centred and holistic care Ben has increased his practice in the city to give the feet of Melbourne just that.
So, let’s chat to Ben to see what makes him tick and why he loves working in Melbourne’s CBD offering the best podiatric care around.
Ben, many people will know your podiatric experience from years of working in Pascoe Vale and your time as the face of Mizuno in Victoria and WA for their range of technical sports and running footwear. How does working in the sporting capital of Australia, Melbourne, with Pride Podiatry differ?
Working in Melbourne CBD offering clinical consultation is a big change from working with Mizuno, and is a different experience again from practicing Podiatry in Pascoe Vale.
With Mizuno I was always working with shoes, and considering biomechanical implications of varying footwear, but I was never working directly with patients. I really like the hands-on aspect of podiatry and being able to help Melbourne people stay active and free of foot pain.
The patients I see in the city have unique needs.
Melbourne’s CBD is bustling with young professionals who participate in all levels of sport, or recreational exercise and then during the week squeeze their feet into business shoes to accompany their tailored suit, or high heel shoes.
Melbourne has its own fashion identity, and providing footwear advice and education in the CBD I have learnt quickly that balancing function and fashion is paramount.
We are also lucky enough to be located within Melboune CBD’s premier physiotherapy practice in Pure Physio. I really enjoy having such a knowledgeable group of physios around and we work very closely together to achieve best patient outcomes.
What are the sorts of issues which your patients in Melbourne CBD come to see you about?
In the CBD I see a huge variety of foot-related concerns. The easy ones to help with are the corns or calluses caused by tight or ill-fitting shoes. A corn can be really painful and debilitating but there is relief at hand. Enucleating (removing) a corn gives our city patients instant relief, and they walk out very often with complete pain resolution. It’s great to be able to provide that relief. You can read more on our corn management here.
I’m particularly passionate about the management of general foot and ankle pain. Many of our patients in the CBD need assessment and management of foot pain in sporting and general populations. Biomechanics of the lower limb and the influence of footwear and orthoses is what I find most enjoyable in my podiatry practice.
I find that the active Melbourne city population has a great deal of general foot pain. But only a few act on it in a timely manner.
My message to those people hesitating is don’t wait until pain becomes chronic. We can help you as soon as the problem arises.
Ben, you’re from country victoria. Does that rural background give you a different outlook when helping those with complex podiatry needs in Melbourne’s CBD?
Yes, I grew up in Euroa, a small town in Victoria’s north east. Growing up in the country you develop a real sense of community which you never lose and can always see the value of. By thinking about my Melbourne patients in that same way, as people with robust and committed lives rather than as just feet and injuries, allows me to gain a real understanding around the factors that might contribute to injury. I think that history taking is a really important component of good health care, and my personal touch and genuine interest allows me to understand my Melbourne CBD patients and their foot health needs.
We only have to pick up the newspapers, scroll through twitter or facebook (here, here, here, and here. ) and see that almost daily our favourite sports stars suffer overuse injuries to their feet and lower limbs. Is there anything that we can do as sub-elite and weekend warrior level sportswomen and men to help reduce our own injury risks?
There definitely is. When people come to see us in the CBD, unfortunately it’s very often due to injury. Looking through the common causes of injury a few really glaring trends or similarities stand out.
Training errors are the most common.
What often happens is someone will blow out the candles on a milestone birthday cake, and decide that they must run a half-marathon. They put on their old runners, that were bought on special in 2004, and training goes from zero times per week, to a 5km run on day one, a 7km run day 3 and an 8 km run on that weekend, and then…. injury.
Smart, structured, and slow increase in loading is really important in good training.
Poor footwear, as I just alluded to, is a very close second in terms of playing a role in causing injury. I really highly recommend getting fitted out by a running speciality store that allows you to run in your shoes during the try on process.
Strength deficits are commonly involved, and the most common areas I see are calf muscle and glute muscle group weakness. It’s hard to know if this applies to you without an assessment. Identifying, and then working on any areas of weakness is a major part of our practice in the city. And our close relationship with Pure Physio comes to the forefront here.
I would love to start seeing more of Melbourne’s athletes before injury. Screening for deficits, recommending footwear and developing structured training programs is something every elite sports team practices, the weekend warrior should be no different. It’s probably even more important!
And at the risk of alienating the majority of our audience, favourite team(s)?
My footy team is currently of no threat to anyone, so unlikely to alienate. The mighty Bombers will return to greatness!
I just got back from a trip to the States, and have come home with a basketball addiction. Some real bandwagon work – Golden State!
I am also really looking forward to seeing Orica Green Edge claim a handful of stage wins at this year’s Tour.
And now for a free bit of podiatry advice please Ben. I plan on trekking Kokoda later this year and I know it’s going to be torture on my feet. I’ve got my own ideas but would love to hear your thoughts. What’s the top 3 things I need to be doing to protect my feet to ensure I get through unscathed?
An elite athlete like yourself will be just fine, but be sure to be on top of:
Thanks Ben, finally, for all those out there who need some top level podiatry care and are in Melbourne’s CBD, how would they book in for an assessment with you? Where are you located?
Our Melbourne City office is located within Pure Physio, at Level 4, 52 Collins St, Melbourne. 3000.
To make an appointment please click here.