We often don’t think of feet. That is until they hurt.
The same can be said about all the components that make up the foot: toes and nails, the ball of the foot, heel and even ankle. Looking at the anatomy of the foot, the complexity that provides mobility is revealed. Support and balance are built through the interaction of 26 bones, 30 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments.
What happens when things go wrong? Well, you just dial Kara Fillier. She is a chiropodist.
Chiropody and chiropodist are odd-sounding words, and many older adults might have previously used “podiatrist” as the name of the profession.
There is a college and Fillier will celebrate her seventh year of being a practitioner this August. She earned a bachelor of science in kinesiology first and then followed a three-year program at the Michener Institute, graduating with an Advanced Diploma of Health Sciences (Chiropody). The Michener is the only academic institution in Canada devoted exclusively to applied health sciences education
Fillier was born and raised in Sudbury. “I was the first year of the double cohort and then went on to be a kinesiologist at a variety of long-term care facilities. I was able to see how important foot issues were to residents.”
She opened her clinic a few months ago.
“There was a desert for foot care in the south end of the city. This location was a fortunate find. We worked with the same agent we used to buy our house. We added a wall and put on some paint and soundproofing.”
The reception area from Querney’s Office Plus offers appropriate social distancing.
Because of the pandemic, she is still waiting on signs. “We have had to adapt to many things during these times,” Fillier said philosophically. “There are two treatment rooms now with potential for a third. Eventually, we will sell shoes, but right now (there are) so many challenges with set up and supply chains.”
Fillier sees 13 to 14 patients a day, depending on need.
“Sometimes it is an easy fix. Sometimes, like with fungal treatment, it can be a multi-month management to improvement. I recently certified in a new technology. A specialized serum plus a specific wavelength light source is a process with no contraindications.
"Most over-the-counter medications just deal with surficial problems, not deep and between the tissues. Always be aware of sterilization protocols at spas when on vacation.”
Working with other professionals is important.
“We refer to chiropractors, osteopaths, physiotherapists, others, and here I do orthotics, too – plaster casting is still the gold standard – and collaborate with a colleague in Parry Sound who custom designs the inserts.”
With Fillier’s kinesiology background, she uses all her training to analyze gait and how all the lower limbs and how the whole body is connected to movement and the feet.
There could be a thickening of nails, or just difficulty of bending over to care for your own nails.
“Fissures (cracks) from dry skin or athletes’ foot, or injuries and accidents and chronically ingrown toenails, I can help.”
From dropping something like CDs or a paint can or stubbing, Fillier can alleviate and prescribe also.
“I do cortisone injections to counteract arthritis, aspirate cysts, relieve Plantar Fasciitis or nerve impingent, I look at heel spurs, plus in-toeing or out-toeing for children. Warts, corns callouses and thickened skin can be shaved and smoothed, and bony prominences protected.”
Fillier said there is a growing demand for foot health in Sudbury and the north.
"More people are realizing that they can see a chiropodist for prevention and treatment rather than just when they have pain. It is not only treating the elderly patients; there are many younger patients that require a chiropodist’s care. I see patients as young as three years old up until 93 years. Yes, Sudbury has an aging population but we also have a very active young population that requires proper care when it comes to their feet and lower limbs.
“I believe in the holistic approach for all my patients and that is how I practice, there isn’t always just one solution for every injury, or ailment. With my background in kinesiology and playing varsity level hockey as well as coaching experience, I have taken a keen interest in treating sports-related injuries as well.”
Parkinson’s, sight, back injuries, mechanics and diabetes can all be reasons to seek foot care.
“The population demographics alone shows the need for my profession and services, but runners and anyone who spends hours on their feet also can come to me.”
Ask Olive, a regular client of the clinic about Fillier’s work: “She really does a good job. I would recommend her to anybody. I am glad we have people like Kara, especially when you get older. What she does … well, it improves my quality of life.”
The Fillier Foot Clinic is located at The Oaks Plaza
2140 Regent St., Unit 14
Currently, 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday through Friday
Dial 705-806-1275 for appointments or information
The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government.
Hugh Kruzel, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star