Pamela Cottrell came to The Hartswood having already spent several years trying different methods to relieve her painful feet. When her consultant referred her for physiotherapy she suspected they would not be able to help. 18 months later she claims her bespoke treatment has been 'revolutionary'. Mrs Cottrell tells her story in her own words below:

"I am indebted to some new technology to get me ‘out and about’. I had been suffering with ever increasingly painful feet for some 6 years. My feet were ‘settling on their foundations’ like an old cottage as I hobbled towards retirement. They are hypermobile and spent their teenage years in dance and sports and then had 40 years of very active service at work as a physiotherapist.

My footwear had always been well supported hospital lace-ups, and out of work I rarely wore heels since I had never had enough time to practice staying upright in them. But during those painful years, I became increasingly reliant on walking boots to help get about more comfortably… so for several years I could only wear trousers, which meant no cool skirts or shorts in summer.

When I retired, having tried all orthotics known to man, and having done ‘every exercise in the book’, I decided to find a specialist who enjoyed treating feet and so referred myself to Mr Gordon MacLellan, wondering what could be done that hadn’t been tried.

Ultrasound scans showed both feet had Morton’s neuromas, but I couldn’t believe that that alone could be producing so much discomfort. Mr MacLellan felt that there were other things connected with the tendons and joints also producing pain, so he referred me to Louise Larner, a Chartered Physiotherapist at Spire Hartswood. 

I wondered how physiotherapy could help since I had already done everything, but Louise introduced me to gait scan technology – a mat connected to a computer specially programmed to measure the pressures from different parts of my foot as I walked. Her patience and expertize on taking the readings meant that I could have bespoke orthotics produced for my specific needs, taking the pressure off parts of my feet.

I wasn’t too sure that the orthotics would withstand the amount of walking that I like to do, but apparently these orthotics are tried out in the roughest of tests by our troops and I can confirm that the first pair have lasted 18 months of 4+ miles a day and are still in active service. 

I also wondered whether they would cope with getting wet and yes they do, as long as they are dried out of the shoes, but I wouldn’t do it often. Now that I have a second pair, I have used the first ones without socks as you would in sandals, and hot feet don’t seem to be a problem to the material either.

I discovered that the orthotics will fit inside extra width shoes too, so I can now wear “pretty” flats with skirts or shorts if the weather is warm. It also means being able to ‘dress up’ for something special and not wear yet another trouser suit.

Now I can walk comfortably as far as I need using the orthotics. I would go so far as to say they have been revolutionary!"

Physiotherapist, Louise Larner, says...

The gait scan equipment at Spire Hartswood Hospital allows us to accurately assess the mechanics of the moving foot and where orthotics are the appropriate treatment method we are able to use the images taken to produce custom made insoles for the patient to wear in their shoes.

There are many pathologies that can affect the foot, in some cases where insoles are the perfect solution the results can be fantastic; allowing people the opportunity to enjoy leisure pursuits they would otherwise miss out on due to painful feet.