From baby steps to running and all the thrills and spills in between…
Now I’m a realist, so I knew for me at that time, my academic capabilities weren’t going to get the job done. Dejected I left that lecture and followed a couple of other people into a small lecture theatre where I sat there with the same thought as before “what are you going to do for the rest of your life?” (Living off my parents was looking mighty tempting). Then without realising what was going on, another lecture started. Now with no word of a lie there would have been maximum 6 people in this lecture – I think there was a guy with his dog in this lecture. Now it wasn’t the first time I had heard about Podiatry, but like 90% of the population I thought all they did was cut toenails and deal with old people with Diabetes. However, the lecturer really sold the course, he talked about how much of an impact you can have on someone’s life who is suffering from foot pain. It’s as simple as this, when are you not using your feet and if they break down what are you going to do?
That was it, by a matter of chance I had found what I wanted to do with my life and yes people it was to look at feet all day!
Now I was quite fortunate that I had really supportive parents as I made the decision that instead of studying in Melbourne at La Trobe, I would move all the way to Bendigo (the smaller little brother version of Ballarat with more stable weather haha) and study at the La Trobe campus there. This by far was the best decision I ever made!! The Podiatry course only had 14 students (the greatest 14 students by the way – you know who you are) as 2010 was the first year the course was to be run in a regional La Trobe campus. This also allowed for a lot of one on one time with lecturers who were leaders in the field, large study dates in the library and mates for life! Further to that we also had the chance to mingle and get to know other people studying health related fields – networking at its best!
The next 4 years progressed and for half of it I was fortunate enough to work at a technical footwear store, where I learnt a lot about the impact of footwear on the feet and how important good and appropriate footwear is. Especially for the growing foot!
Then it was all over and I was confronted with another important decision, where was I going to work? Having lived out of home for 4 years the pull to return home was huge and was playing a major role in my decision making when applying for jobs. I had been offered a job back in Geelong after my first interview and I was pretty stoked. I thought I could return to the coast and start my career in familiar surrounds. That was until I had an interview for the Wimmera Foot and Ankle Clinic job. Now if you have ever met Adam and Amy Chalmers, you’ll understand what I mean when I say they make you want to work for them! Seriously my mind was opened to the Podiatry career I had wanted since I had started the course 4 years back. I walked out of the interview and rang my parents and all I said was “I want that job”. So a visit to Horsham later (just happened to be my first trip to Horsham) and I was sold.This was where I was meant to start my career as a Podiatrist. However, I still had a nervous wait as there were plenty of candidates who probably thought the same thing.
Then I received the phone call I had desperately wanted, I was now the new employee at the Wimmera Foot and Ankle Clinic. So there I was again moving to the other side of Victoria to a town I had only visited once and do you know what? I couldn’t have been happier. Now firstly I need to thank someone very special, my girlfriend Catherine because without her support over the coming year I would have probably struggled to adjust to my new surroundings. I also need to thank a couple of close friends (and fellow Podiatrists) Tom and Shannon as they had already accepted jobs to work at the Wimmera Hospital in Horsham and made the move so much easier (thanks again Shannon for putting up with me as a house mate). Last, but not least the Wimmera Foot and Ankle Clinic Family who made the transition from University Graduate to full time work very smooth.
The 12 months I spent working at the Wimmera Foot and Ankle Clinic has shaped me into the Podiatrist I am today. With regular mentoring and professional development I progressed my learning on the importance of overall foot health and function, the use of Laser Therapy for Fungal Nail Infections, Extracorporeal Shockwave therapy for chronic and debilitating foot pain, dry needling for tight and restricted muscles, minor surgical procedures to remove ingrown toenails and how custom made foot orthotics can restore and improve foot function.
My transition to the Ballarat Foot and ankle clinic started in September 2014, where I started spending a couple of days a week observing what Adam and Lesh did and how the cliental and overall demographic of the clinic was different to the Wimmera Foot and Ankle Clinic. The aim of the Ballarat Foot and Ankle clinic is to treat sports and biomechanical (the way we function) injuries and dysfunction with similar techniques applied throughout the Wimmera for the past 18 years – this is what makes us different to other Podiatrists. We are lower limb specialist (from the hip down) – it’s all we focused on at University.
By January 2015 I had progressed to working full time at the Ballarat Foot and Ankle Clinic and now 6 months on have loved every day here. The beauty about working in a sports clinic is I’m following my passion for sports and combining it with work (hence why I love my job). But also we get to work with sub-elite and elite athletes all the way through to the Mum’s, Dad’s and children that make up the sporting population of Ballarat and surrounding areas. Lastly I had some pretty awesome tools that I can use to help you get on the road to recovery sooner rather than later!
Tim’s special interests include:
- Footwear analysis