Student hopes to relieve flatfeet
Chulhwan Kim is flat-out most days juggling work, study and fatherhood.
Having a busy schedule is a mean feat for the Aucklander who suffers from progressed flexible flatfeet, a condition leaving him in excruciating pain after standing or walking for long periods.
Mr Kim, 36, is completing a masters degree in osteopathy at Unitec and is in search of 30 Auckland flatfeet sufferers for an eight-week assignment as part of his course.
Mr Kim says the primary treatment options for flatfeet are limited to wearing correction shoes and there’s potential for manual therapy and exercise to give long-term improvement.
He’ll explore this in his project by using osteopathic treatment not given by most podiatrists or physiotherapists.
‘‘Osteopathic treatment consists of passive and active treatments as well as lifestyle modifications.
‘‘What physiotherapists usually do is give ultrasound treatment and apply ice, then refer to a podiatrist who’ll measure the foot and make the correct shoes.’’
Mr Kim found
there was no long-term solution. ‘‘In our treatment we use balance ligament tension which is related to balancing out ligament problems.
‘‘I was thinking that treatment could help more long term,’’ he says.
Flatfeet occurs when the arch of the foot collapses, leaving the entire sole of the foot in contact with the ground.
There’s no real indication as to what causes flatfoot but dancing or injuries can increase the chances of developing it.
Mr Kim first realised he suffered from the condition when he was 18 years old and in air force military training in South Korea.
‘‘I did an eligibility test and found it difficult. We had to do 25-kilometre marches and I suffered a lot of bruising on my feet.’’
Tissue on his feet would turn hard and he’d experience excruciating pain up and down his legs.
‘‘It was so sore and difficult. It was really achy and then a sharp pain.’’
After moving to New Zealand in 2000 with his wife, the pain remains but Mr Kim hopes his project will offer some hope to himself and other sufferers.
Unitec lecturer and clinical development co-ordinator, Graeme Saxby, will work alongside Mr Kim on the project.
Mr Saxby says flatfeet is common among children.
‘‘But what should happen with most people is when they start walking and putting weight on their feet, an arch should develop.’’
He says the project will look at tuning muscles and train them to spread the load when holding weight.
Call Mr Kim on 021 133 1213 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to apply for the study.
Participants chosen receive free osteopathic treatment and prescribed corrective exercises.
Flat-out: Unitec student Chulhwan Kim, 36, suffers from flat feet and is left in excruciating pain after standing or walking for long periods.