When it comes to looking after our health, it's easy to forget about our feet.
But given we walk many thousands of kilometres in our lifetimes, healthy feet are vital to our overall wellbeing.
Foot problems can have a big impact on our quality of life.
If they do occur, podiatrists can help. Podiatrists are experts in foot, ankle and lower limb health.
They can help prevent, diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions and treat foot problems that arise from underlying medical conditions such as diabetes and arthritis.
A podiatrist with more than 25 years' experience in the UK and Australia, Louise Law is the friendly face of Soul to Sole Podiatry.
Combining extensive knowledge in her field with alternative therapies and a holistic focus on patient care and wellbeing, Louise is passionate about helping people become pain free.
One of the things that sets Soul to Soul Podiatry apart is the way clients are made to feel at ease in a relaxing, ambient environment from the moment they arrive.
"They are able to soak up sea views of the Halls Head coastline as they are being treated," Louise said.
No matter what your age or level of mobility, Louise said there are many excellent reasons to visit a podiatrist.
For children, a podiatrist can advise on footwear fittings to avoid painful problems down the track.
"Kids also sometimes have growing pains and a podiatrist may help alleviate that," Louise said, adding there were a range of treatments available such as low-level laser therapy on trigger and acupuncture points that had been particularly suitable for children due to their non-invasive action.
For the elderly, the expertise of a podiatrist can make all the difference in staying mobile for longer.
Perhaps you are not able to bend to cut your toenails, or they are too thick and difficult to cut.
You may have a dry callus, or corns on your toes, foot pads or heels.
"Regular visits to have nails cut, filed and cleaned, callus reduced and skin moisturised will boost your foot health and general wellbeing," Louise said.
And of course Louise can help if you require treatment for a painful, ingrown toenail.
You don't have to have an existing pain or condition to benefit from a podiatrist's expertise, as they play an important role in preventative health too.
Indeed, treating your feet can help the rest of your body, Louise said.
"Pain in other parts of the body such as sore hips, shins, knees and heels can stem from an issue with your feet," she said.
"Many people have differences between one leg and the other - that's where orthotics can help balance you out so one side is not compensating for the other."
Louise custom makes these shoe inserts to correct malalignments and control abnormal compensation, reducing pain, improving foot function and preventing recurring injury.
A debilitating condition known as plantar fasciitis, characterised by heel pain as a result of inflamed tissue in the sole of the foot, is a common complaint that prompts many otherwise healthy adults to seek help from a podiatrist so they can resume their normal activities or return to sport.
Louise offers a range of treatments for this and other conditions, including counterstrain, a gentle, non-invasive treatment for acute, chronic, fragile (osteoporotic), post-operative or neurological pain.
"Particularly useful in paediatrics and pregnancy, it is the spontaneous release of pain by positioning the body in a position of greatest comfort. It prevents inappropriate proprioceptor activity that maintains somatic dysfunction," Louise said.
Other treatments include dry needling, where fine acupuncture needles are used to relieve muscle tension and referred pain and treat symptoms like heel, knee and ankle pain, Morton's neuroma and metatarsal pain.
For the more active, Louise offers strapping for sports plus exercise programs.
"In a state of imbalance, a body that is constantly compensating is susceptible to injury. Specific stretching and strengthening exercise programs can be advised to optimise recovery and reduce injury," she said.
Louise said foot health was important for everyone but especially so for those with diabetes: "It's recommended diabetics have an annual health check to make sure their circulation and sensation are adequate," she said.
- For your convenience, HICAPS is available for on-the-spot payments and claims. Soul to Sole accepts EPC bulk billing from GPs, Department of Veterans' Affairs referrals and motor vehicle/workers' compensation-related complaints.