Walkrite just turned 21!

Walkrite just turned 21 years old! It’s an incredible milestone and where we are today as a business is very different to where we were back on 6th May 2003 when we incorporated the company. Since then, we have worked in a number of clinics with clinicians, such as Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Surgeons, Sports & Exercise Medicine Consultants and Physiotherapists and we’ve learnt so much and been given immeasurable support by them.  Our careers have been fascinating since graduating 25 years ago. There’s not much we haven’t seen and yet no one day is ever the same.  Working with patients is a privilege.  We can help to change peoples’ lives and people trust in us to help do this.

Podiatry clinic Peterborough New
The Walkrite clinic in Peterborough opened in April 2021

21 years later we now have our own clinical premises and a growing team, and it is a good time to reflect on our professional lives, what it means to be a Podiatrist and what the future may hold for Podiatry. Sadly, not everyone knows what a Podiatrist is. We are getting smaller as a profession facing the recruitment challenges familiar to other areas of healthcare. You can’t work from home and high-profile strikes in the NHS give the impression of being poorly paid and highly stressed.  Whilst it is true that healthcare has the highest burnout rates of any profession, there are far more positives than negatives if you get the balance right, which hopefully we are doing with our first new Podiatrist, Kayleigh Aldred. 

Our careers so far as Podiatrists have been wide-ranging and Podiatry is a wide-ranging profession, devoted to the treatment of disorders of the foot, ankle and related structures of the leg.  The term Chiropody used to describe our profession, but Podiatry is now globally recognised as the term to best describe a profession involved in the treatment of the joints, bones, muscles, nerves, blood supply and skin of the foot and ankle.  A profession where you can specialise in  diabetes, vascular, dermatology, Podiatric sports medicine, musculoskeletal, paediatrics, Podiatric surgery and Forensic Podiatry, and one where you graduate with a BSc(Hons) Degree in Podiatry that includes being a qualified local anaesthetist, able to dispense certain medicaments such as antibiotics and some painkillers and one where you can then go on to qualify as an Independent Prescriber and, of course, carry on to MSc or PhD level study.

A typical day in clinic for us involves seeing patients from the age of 8 months to over 100 years old and from all backgrounds including professional sports people, amateur athletes, differently abled patients, and patients recovering from surgery or trauma. Complaints range from sports and running injuries, walking problems caused by arthritic joints, neurological conditions, developmental issues in children, dermatological problems and foot deformities.  We use assessment processes including clinical gait analysis, incorporating technology to assess foot pressure and analyse movement, footwear analysis, neurovascular assessment and dermatological investigations.  Treatments range from minor surgical procedures for skin and nail conditions, re-training the way you walk or run, exercise therapy, footwear changes, foot orthoses and ankle braces and prescription of medications where needed. 

So, after 25 years in practice, our main reflections would be that we will never know it all and when we think we do, it’s time to stop practising. No one day of our professional lives has ever been the same, we’ve worked with many, brilliant colleagues that have informed and enhanced our knowledge and the way we practice and we will never stop being enthused about being given the opportunity in our working lives to be a detective, working out diagnoses, thinking of the best way to help our patients as quickly and effectively as possible and hoping that the profession will start to grow again behind us.

We’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to our incredible team and welcome once again to Kayleigh Aldred, our new Podiatrist. Thank you also to all our friends, colleagues and most of all patients for supporting us for 21 years and hopefully Walkrite will continue better than ever way past the end of our own careers!

Nicola Blower & John Chadwick (Co-Directors, Walkrite)

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