Miranda Jessop dips her toe in the water as Alan Juriansz tells her about Twickenham Health Care, the podiatry practice he has been running in Twickenham for thirty years.
The idea of becoming a podiatrist first appealed to me because it is a profession that can often provide instant improvement. It is quite usual for someone to come into the practice in pain and to leave without it.
I trained for three years at the London Foot Hospital. As well as gaining a degree in Podiatric Medicine, it was also where I met my wife, Jennifer. I set up my practice in Twickenham thirty years ago.
We really are a friendly family business. My wife started working with me soon after the practice opened and we were absolutely delighted when our daughter Isabella joined us three years ago.
It is true to say that most people take their feet for granted and only notice them when they start to cause problems. We have a saying in the practice that ‘when your feet hurt, you hurt all over.’ My advice would be to seek help from an expert as soon as you experience any discomfort.
When your feet are not working properly, it has an impact on everything you do. If you are walking badly, it affects your posture and muscles and joints throughout your body. We use Quintic video gait analysis technology to make a thorough assessment of the mechanics of how a person is walking so that poor function can be identified and treated. We also have two osteopaths working alongside us within the practice.
One of the biggest challenges we have is convincing people that, although their shoes may be expensive, they are not necessarily good for their feet. Comfortable shoes are essential especially if you are going to be standing for long periods of time. Slip-ons, in general, tend not to be good for your feet because they are not supportive enough. It is obviously vital for children to have correctly fitting shoes while they are still growing.
People might be surprised to learn that a completely flat shoe can be as much of a problem as a heel. The ideal shoe would have a centimetre or two of heel so that your feet can function properly.
Foot and skin conditions we regularly treat include corns, calluses, verrucas, fungal nails and athletes foot. Foot function problems include flat feet, excessively high arches and ankle weakness. Because people are running so much more and at an older age, we are seeing an increased number of associated injuries such as knee pain and shin splints.
Twickenham is not just our place of work, it is also where we live. Our favourite walk is along the river to Orleans Gallery with a quick stop at The White Swan. Jennifer and I both also enjoy playing on the river and we share an unusual hobby in ‘punt racing’.
I would not be able to do my job without a sense of humour. People can be very sensitive about their feet and can sometimes be reluctant to take their shoes and socks off but nothing shocks me any more; as far as feet are concerned, I really have seen it all.
Twickenham Health Care
88 Heath Road