The Update - Feet First
Finding the most comfortable footwear for each unique pair of human feet that cross Fisher's threshold is our biggest challenge - most keen walkers would agree that boots are the single must important purchase. But feet don't come in standard shapes or sizes - and there's the rub.
Big feet... small feet... or defeat...? The bad news is that sometimes, despite our expert staff's best efforts, we take one look - and know we can't help. The good news is - we know a man who can: Andrew Stanley.
"For years now, we've had the knowledge to spot problem feet - some we could deal with, but others we couldn't" says Fishers Technical Manager, Mike Osborne, "We'd been searching for someone with the medical knowledge to take our service a step further and were amazed when we came upon Andrew, who had set up a clinic in Settle, nicely between our two shops. Andrew's approach is very much like our own - customer (or patient) first We wouldn't feel comfortable sending our customers to someone who doesn't have the same integrity as ourselves."
Fisher's pride themselves on their boot fitting skills. Using the most
advanced fitting methods in the UK, including a special Fitting Chair
operated by trained staff, we frequently create tailor-made inserts for
problem feet, and that's all that's needed. But there are exceptions,
and some exceptionally difficult feet. Take old injuries, for example.
Limbs can suffer all sorts of ghastly insults including awkwardly set
broken legs and ankle, which leave some people with a Pythonesque "Ministry
of Funny walks" style gait. Funny at first sight - but far from funny
for the sufferer.
"We've sent about a dozen customers to see Andrew in the last six months and at least eight of them have returned absolutely delighted." Mike said, one of them was Ray Spink of Worksop who was so impressed with the results that he wrote to Fisher's just as this article was being prepared, and is happy for us to quote from his letter:
Andrew, who works and lectures as a podiatrist, doesn't just look at feet - he watches how they function. The angle at which our feet hit the ground can be the cause of problems elsewhere. A skeleton which is out of alignment can cause friction and pressure on joints and bones throughout the body. Correct the alignment of the feet - and the rest falls into place. Andrew is a biomechanical dysfunction expert, which is good news for sore feet, not to mention painful knees, aching backs and stiff hips.
Podiatry - a great benefit to many poor soles:
The importance of podiatry has long been recognised in the US, but here in the UK we're only just waking up to the fact that the way we walk can lead to aches, pain and injuries and something as simple as a specially made insert called an orthotic can correct gait and relieve numerous problems.
After examining a patient's feet. Andrew videos them in action on a treadmill to analyse how they move. If appropriate he then creates a plaster cast of the feet to make orthotics which correct defects in walking. A pair of orthotics can be worn inside most flat shoes and boots which not only makes it possible for footwear to fit properly, but helps to realign the whole body.
Andrew says that women suffer skeletal misalignment more than men, partly because their hips are wider so that the femur comes in at the knee at an angle rather than more parallel - and also because some women have abused their ankles by wearing high heels. Others suffer from bunions, while anyone of mature years may have enjoyed a misspent youth torturing their feet in winkleplckers and stilettos.
Misalignment of the skeleton can also cause sports injuries and word is spreading how podiatry and biomechanics can help runners and athletes return to their former fitness and agility.
"We enjoy excellent co-operation with Andrew - and that's really the basis of working the George Fisher way, calling on experts to help us when we need to. We're as chuffed with the results as customers are," Mike said.
Andrew's clinic, Rebound, can be found at The Sidings. Cannock Lane, Settle (01729 82500), and customers can ask the likely cost before a consultation takes place.
C O M M I T T E D T O K E E P I N G Y O U O N T H E M O V E
Clinical Director - Andrew
Stanley BSc(Hon) PodM, MChS, SRCh.