Ironically for a podiatrist, Claude Tobgui suffered from painful feet and legs. Initially, he used the skills he was trained with and fitted himself with foot orthotics. In time, however, the orthotics simply made the muscles in his feet lazy and the relief slowly faded away, just as many of his patients found. Surely, he thought, there had to be an alternative to the orthotics, drugs and painful surgery; one that actually dealt with the cause rather than just the symptoms.
A new idea that's 4,000 years old.
It was something that had intrigued his colleague and fellow podiatrist, John Sfinas, for many years in his practice, as well. Together, through their joint research, they discovered foot mobilisation. Or, more correctly, rediscovered it. The benefits of this corrective treatment have been known for over 4,000 years, dating back to Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine. What astounded Claude and John was how such natural techniques had come to be replaced by artificial solutions in our modern way of life
Physician: heal thyself.
At first, the pair experimented with the technique to treat each other's feet and lower limbs. They also added corrective exercises and gait/posture retraining. Over a period of six to twelve months, Claude found that the pain in his feet and lower limbs had reduced to the point where he did not need his orthotics any more.
Patients vote with their feet
Excited by their findings, John and Claude introduced these techniques into their clinics in 1999. Very quickly, word spread and patients sought them out to get their feet corrected naturally and rid themselves of their orthotics. As a result, the pair decided to create clinics dedicated to serving this need and the Foot Posture Centre opened in Forest Hill and Ivanhoe in 2003.
Two centres that are one of a kind.
Not only were these the first of their kind in Victoria; over a decade later, they still remain the only two centres specialising in foot mobilisation and corrective postural exercises in this state. Here, patients can be checked and assessed to see if their foot and leg posture â€" and associated pain â€" can be corrected naturally without surgery, drugs or orthotics. John and Claude have been using these techniques longer than any other podiatrist in Victoria. Having gained this invaluable experience, they are now passing it on to other podiatrists in Victoria and New South Wales.
Claude graduated from LaTrobe University as a podiatrist and has been practising in Melbourne for 20 years. After starting out dealing with all sorts of foot conditions, for the last 12 years, he's specialised in corrective podiatry. He enjoys camping and bushwalking, and regularly takes groups on camping adventures. He is married with four children. As if all that doesnâ€TMt keep him busy enough, he also runs marriage and parenting seminars with his wife.
John Sfinas has been a podiatrist for 20 years. Graduating with honours in podiatry at LaTrobe University in 1994, he went on to gain a fellowship from the Australasian Academy of Podiatric Sport Medicine in 1998. He is also a member of the Australian Podiatry Association and Sports Medicine Australia. John is married with four children and loves spending time with his family. (more)
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