Every child will take approximately 10,000 steps each day and millions more over their lifetime, which is why it is important to address any issues with their legs and feet early.
This is the message of University of Newcastle podiatry academic, Dr Fiona Hawke, who has established a Paediatric Lower Leg Clinic and clinical training facility for podiatry students, at the Wyong Hospital.
Organised as part of the $2 million state-of-the-art podiatry clinic, operated by the University and the Central Coast Local Health District, children as young as two can receive a free assessment for any issues with their feet and lower limbs at the clinic.
“Early intervention can make a lifetime of difference in ongoing complications for children who have lower limb and foot issues,” said Dr Hawke.
“Parents should consider bringing their child to the clinic if they have any issues with foot, ankle or lower limb pain, or if there is a strong history of biomechanical issues in their family.”
“Our students can help kids keep moving by creating stretching and strengthening programs, issuing foot orthoses, offering footwear advice, or referring them to other health professionals if their issues would be better resolved with another type of therapy.”
Students nearing the completion of their three year degree are supervised by qualified podiatrists to run the weekly clinic which operates from the facility in C Block every Monday during university semester.
“It also gives our students invaluable experience in caring for children and how to communicate effectively to patients and their parents,” Dr Hawke said.
Jarvis Beazley from Mirrabooka has a history of lower limb cramping in his family and had been having some lower back pain in recent months when his mum took him to the clinic.
“I like that you get to sit in a special chair and that they asked me the questions, rather than asking mum,” the six-year-old said.
After being assessed by final year podiatry student Ben Hodgetts, Jarvis was given the all-clear for foot and lower limb issues and was referred to see a physiotherapist or chiropractor to assist with his back pain.
“There is a growing need for podiatrists who are experienced in working with children,” said Ben.
“This is why it is so important to gain this type of invaluable experience and it has confirmed for me that I enjoy working with kids and that paediatrics is one area I would like to focus on when I graduate.”
Community feedback about the clinic has been overwhelmingly positive, with the clinic being booked weeks in advance since its opening in 2011.
To find out more about the clinic or to make a booking phone 4394 7280 or visit the website.