Best Foot Forward

Our feet form the basis of our whole skeletal structure which means they are at much higher risk of damage or injury than any other body part. Keeping them in tip top condition should be a priority for everyone! Photography: Michael Porter

We’ve all had occasions when we’ve had pain or discomfort in our feet and know how debilitating it can be when this prevents us from walking, running or simply carrying out essential daily activities. Good foot health plays a critical role in in our overall health and well-being, but often goes unnoticed until problems arise. Understanding the importance of good foot health and how biomechanics and the use of custom-made orthotics can help address various conditions, is essential for maintaining mobility and preventing future issues.

David Nicholls is the founder and lead practitioner of That Foot Shop, a highly skilled podiatrist with over 20 years’ experience with specialisms in biomechanics, sports injuries and orthotics. As a member of the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC), procedures are performed in a safe, caring environment by fully trained podiatrists who provide a professional, friendly service and expert care and advice so you can rest assured, knowing that you are in safe hands.

David explains: “Common conditions such as corns, bunions, cracked heels, fungal infections and ingrown toenails, often indicate the feet are being put under stress and need to be managed with a visit to a reputable podiatrist. However, routine treatment may not solve the underlying cause of the condition, this is where the biomechanics of how you walk can identify a structural imbalance which may be the problem.”

Even simple conditions such as those detailed above, if left untreated can have a detrimental effect on our quality of life. Ignoring the first signs of discomfort can further complicate existing conditions or lead to compensatory movements and postural imbalances, resulting in pain in other parts of the body such as the knees, hips and lower back.

That Foot Shop utilises the ‘Gait and Motion Technologies Footscan’ system combined with years of experience to assess, diagnose and effectively treat problems associated with the musculoskeletal system using custom-made orthotics made to fit into shoes. The orthotics are designed from the dynamic data from the foot-scan which, auto-corrects any imbalances between the left and right foot, easing strain on muscles and joints by improving weight distribution.

The value of biomechanical assessment is now recognised as far reaching and is widely used in areas such as development gait analysis in children, rehabilitation after life-changing injury, sports performance and the prediction of biomechanical injury in new recruits to the armed services.

A comprehensive initial assessment at That Foot Shop includes postural analysis, gait observations, range of movement of joints and the use of the foot-scan technology to assess static foot posture, balance and dynamic movement of the foot during gait.

“It’s a common misconception that biomechanic assessment is something that’s only utilised by athletes and sportspeople and this is definitely not the case. While it is widely used in this field, it is also used to help correct issues such as flat feet, high arches, pronation, plantar fasciitis and with elderly clients who may experience problems with their balance. For me in practice, it’s the critical first step to a successful diagnosis by providing a detailed analysis of an individual’s gait and weight distribution,” adds David.

Information collected by walking over the foot-scan can instantly be observed using sophisticated computer software helping to identify any weakness or imbalance allowing David to target specific areas for treatment, improving function and reducing pain.

Using the information gathered from the biomechanical assessment and dynamic scan, David can make recommendations for treatment and if required start the process of creating a custom-built orthotic. The foot-scan is one of the only technologies which processes the dynamic data taken and autocorrects imbalances at the design stage of an orthotic. Orthotics once designed are sent through to a 3D printing facility in Belgium using the very latest in 3D printing technology. Manufacture of orthotics in this fashion enables them to be repeatable if other sets are required even years later!

It’s not unusual for David to see clients suffering from back, hip or knee pain who have initially sought help through other channels such as physiotherapy with limited success. This pain can often be a symptom of a different problem and in cases such as these, it’s always a good idea to start with the feet and work upwards, not only does this avoid weeks and possibly months of pain or discomfort and potential long-term damage, but it can also be more cost effective to quickly identify or rule out other possible causes.

To arrange an appointment at one of our clinics, or simply to find out more about how this service might help you, please contact David.

South Ribble Tennis Centre
Cuerden Way
Bamber Bridge PR5 6BJ
07809 362734
07751 203702

152 Bury Old Road
Greater Manchester M45 6AT
0161 766 3078



Tedd Walmsley

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Tedd Walmsley managing director of Live Magazines shares his views on the latest topics in media.

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