Jessica Spence

Jess qualified in 2009 with a degree in podiatry and has a passion for helping people with lower limb problems. She began her career by working in physical rehabilitation and developed a special interest in biomechanics and kinetics. Jess has a keen interest in sports and treating sport injuries has become a natural extension. Jess is a member of the Podiatry Association of South Africa (PASA) and is registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HSPCA). She has written for Front Shop and Fabulous magazines and keeps her blog filled with articles about feet and biomechanics.

In her spare time, Jess loves to read and write and spend time with her family and friends. She lives in Lonehill, Johannesburg and loves the community feel, and she can often be seen in the park picnicking or playing with her husband and daughter. Jess is happily married to Adam, and has a sweet, little girl who keeps her on her toes.

The practice boasts the latest gait-plate technology which aids in the diagnosis and treatment of various biomechanical and general foot conditions in Johannesburg.

Contact Our Podiatrist

Call Us on - 011 465 2419

What is a Podiatrist?

A podiatrist is a medical practitioner trained in the professional care of the foot, ankle and lower limb. A podiatrist examines, diagnoses and treats foot ailments by biomechanical, surgical and other methods. Podiatry is a branch of the medical sciences dedicated to the study of the feet and lower limbs in relation to the human body and its movement.

What does a Podiatrist Do?:
  • Functions within professional alliance to health and medicine, and is recognised by and registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa
  • Examines the foot for dermatological, biomechanical and other conditions and treats accordingly.

Skin & Nail Conditions

Podiatry involves the diagnosis and treatment of skin and nail conditions affecting the feet and legs. Because the skin is the largest organ of the body and because our feet are in constant contact with the ground and our shoes, the skin on the feet can experience changes resulting in complications. These commonly include bunions, callouses, corns, plantar warts and athlete’s foot. Toenails can become hard, thick and ingrown. A podiatrist will carefully asses the feet and evaluate what treatment is suitable.

Biomechanics

Biomechanics is the study of the impact of internal and external forces acting on the body. All activities require the body to integrate multiple movements and motions to obtain the necessary outputs required for that activity. For example, walking uses many, if not most of the muscles in the body; muscles in the feet, legs, back, trunk and even arms. Should any one of these elements not function according to its specific plan or design, dysfunction can occur.

A podiatrist examines and analyses these patterns to identify and treat problems within the walking, running, or cycling system. Many painful conditions like leg and foot pain, back pain and even headaches can be blamed on poor biomechanics.

Treatment can involve the use of orthotics to correct and support the foot structures and implement the stretching and strengthening of the relevant muscle groups. Treatment is often coupled with physiotherapy and biokinetics to attain complete healing.

Concourse Medical Centre boasts an advanced gait analysis system that is used to measure the plantar pressures of the feet. This is useful in confirming biomechanical diagnoses and in displaying where problem areas lie.

Diabetes

Diabetes is the world’s newest pandemic and South Africa is no exception to this ‘disease of lifestyle.’ Due to the increase in junk foods and the sedentary nature of the working environment, diabetes, more specifically type II diabetes, affects an ever increasing percentage of the population.

Diabetes is a serious, chronic condition that affects the pancreas causing widespread problems throughout the body. As this condition favours nerve fibres and vascular vessels, the feet need to be checked regularly for signs of skin breakdown and vascular degeneration. This is done by a podiatrist who is able to determine the risk category that one would fall into and treat or refer accordingly.

All diabetic patients need to consult with a podiatrist, about their feet, at least once a year. This is generally called a foot screening. All major systems within the feet and lower limbs are evaluated in
terms of the progression of the disease. Should any further treatment or evaluation be required by a surgeon or another medical practitioner, a podiatrist is able to point you in the correct direction.

Common Foot Disorders

The feet and legs are part of a complex system used for walking, running and almost all activity. All the muscles, bones and nerves work together forming intricate patterns for normal day to day life: picking up your children, walking to your desk at the office, driving to work, all these things require the feet and legs to function correctly and efficiently. Should the feet function in a way that limits or prevents productivity and efficiency, pain and problems arise.

Common foot disorders include heel pain, arch pain, flat feet, and fatigue and pain in the legs. These conditions can be very painful and limiting. Podiatrists evaluate the feet to provide diagnoses and pain relief.

Sports Injuries

The human body is a complex mass of nerves, muscles, bone and other soft tissues. The athletetakes this intricate structure and places it under varying levels of stress and fatigue. Most, if not all sports, use the legs and feet in some way. For any weight bearing activities (like walking, running, soccer, and tennis) the legs and feet are responsible for propulsion, support, shock absorption and many other important functions. Even your non-weight-bearing sports (like cycling, motorsports, and swimming) utilize these functions. Because of this lengthy list of tasks, the feet and legs are often the first structures to experience pain or dysfunction.

Common injuries include ITBFS, runner’s knee, patella-femoral syndrome, Achilles tendonitis, and shin splints. Podiatrists evaluate and diagnose these injuries and provide treatment plans. Treatment often requires a multi-disciplinary approach utilising physiotherapy and biokinetics to ensure complete healing and return to activity.

Paediatrics

Paediatric podiatry is differs from general podiatry in a number of ways. Firstly, the developing foot provides unique challenges that are not encountered by its adult counterpart due to the nature of its growth and development. Not only is the foot subject to the many changes forced upon it by development and growth, but the foot is required to adapt and compensate for these changes. This often requires the whole body to adapt resulting in postural and biomechanical changes. The foot, legs and pelvis are most often affected as these structures are so closely linked to walking and normal functioning.

Podiatrists evaluate gait and structure of the developing legs and feet to identify problems with normal walking and activities. Common problems include ‘pigeon walking,’ ‘knock knees,’ ‘toe walking,’ and flat feet.