Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Pain, my foot

Ever since Andre started playing badminton in school at p2, he's complained of pain in his heels. His coach said the muscles and tendons in his feet were probably very tight and set him some stretching exercises.

Then as he grew older, he would often complain of pain in his soles after running, walking or standing, even for a short period of time. When he went on his secondary school badminton camp night walk (which was around 20km), he would start limping after 2km or so, even while wearing two pairs of socks. We thought he might have flat feet but his feet looked normal to our laymen eyes, so we dismissed it and told him to keep stretching.

Before he started poly, we finally decided to send him to a podiatrist to check out his feet. We took the polyclinic route and received a referral to Geylang Polyclinic which has a podiatrist clinic. Well, there's a reason we parents are not doctors because the podiatrist took one look at Andre's feet and declared that he was "extremely flat-footed".

Flat feet (or fallen arches) is a condition where the feet don't have a natural arch. Because of this, pain is often experienced with prolonged standing, walking or running. In fact, high impact sports like badminton, with constant jumping. can trigger severe pain.

I'll tell you what else it triggers - it triggers severe feelings of guilt in parents. Because we have dismissed the problem and let him do sports in pain all these years. 😱😱

Of course, I glibly told him, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger!" And "better late than never!" (When in doubt, spout idioms.)

The podiatrist recommended a few ways to remedy the problem. One of them was stretches but the most impactful method was making special insoles to correct the fallen arches. According to him,  some flat-footers can get away with buying off-the-shelf shoes with arch support, but Andre's condition was pretty severe and would function best with insoles customised specially for his feet.

Geylang Polyclinic takes the dimension for the insoles on the spot, using special equipment that scans the feet.

The scans are then sent to Australia where the insoles are custom-made. They're not cheap - $260 per pair. Ouch! However, I later found out that this price is much lower than what you'd have to pay at private specialist clinics. Anyway, the insoles can last three years even with daily wear, and can be removed to fit other pairs of shoes, so I guess you get your money's worth.

Funny aside: The morning of the appointment before we left home, Andre asked me if he needed to "dress up". Of course I said no. Why would one need to dress up to go to the podiatrist? It was only when we were sitting in the waiting room that I noticed his t-shirt had two big holes at the shoulder. Alamak!

On the plus side, as someone told me, maybe the podiatrist took pity on him and gave him a discount on the insoles.

Andre has been wearing shoes with his new insoles for the past few months and they work like magic. He no longer experiences pain when standing for prolonged periods, which was a life-saver when he was working as a waiter. I guess you could say the insoles got him back on his feet...literally.


Rachel Tan said...

Thanks for the tip Monica! I have extremely flat feet but am without pain - my feet are so flat they can suck the floor haha :) Maybe I should go to the polyclinic and get them checked! And my kids' too.

monlim said...

Rachel: If they don't cause you any pain, then no problem!

mylilbookworm said...

On a +ve note: less shiong in NS! ✌

monlim said...

Lil Bookworm: If I'm not wrong, flat feet is no longer a valid reason for a downgrade.

Anonymous said...

I am a student who has severe flat feet with bunions, so I can totally relate :) However, I heard that the insoles only ensure that the foot condition does not worsen. If an individual wants it to be fully corrected, he has to go for hypocure surgery.

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