Stu­dent hopes to re­lieve flat­feet

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By MON­ICA TIS­CHLER

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 flat­feet.re­search@gmail.com to ap­ply for the study.

Par­tic­i­pants cho­sen re­ceive free os­teo­pathic treat­ment and pre­scribed cor­rec­tive ex­er­cises.

Photo: MON­ICA TIS­CHLER

Flat-out: Unitec stu­dent Chul­h­wan Kim, 36, suf­fers from flat feet and is left in ex­cru­ci­at­ing pain af­ter stand­ing or walking for long pe­ri­ods.

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