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Natalie off on the right foot at Arches Podiatry

Podiatrist Natalie Bennett at her new practice Arches Podiatry (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

Covid-19 is keeping podiatrist Natalie Bennett on her toes.

Since opening Arches Podiatry in Hamilton earlier this month, she is seeing many clients with pandemic related foot issues.

“A lot of people went from having a wide ranging area to walk, to mostly being in their houses, in their kitchens,” Ms Bennett said. “In Bermuda, we have a lot of hardwood and tile floors. So many people are getting inflammatory related pain issues with their feet from not having that variety of surfaces.”

Walking barefoot or without adequate cushioning, makes these foot issues worse.

By the time a patient sees a podiatrist about this issue, their problems are often entrenched, and there is quite a lot of inflammation in the bone tissues in the foot.

To treat this problem, she gives advice on what type of shoes to wear on what surfaces. She also uses deep tissue lasers to help relieve inflammation.

Originally from Australia, Ms Bennett came to Bermuda to work 11 years ago. Recently, she decided it was time to go her own way.

One of her biggest challenges has been getting the necessary equipment.

“Normally, I would get my equipment from the UK,” Ms Bennett said. “But Brexit has meant that is not available. There is a lorry driver shortage, so it is very difficult to get things out of the UK.”

She was able to ship much of her equipment from Canada and Australia, but could not do the same with her special lifting chair, designed to take up to 300lbs.

“It was a really big piece of equipment,” she said. “I wasn’t going to order that from Australia. It would have cost a fortune to ship here.”

So she had no choice but to order it from England.

“I ordered it in June, and it has still not come,” she said. “Hopefully, it will come by next week. Someone has lent me a massage chair, and I am using that for now. But I can’t accept hoards of people without my lifting chair. It is very frustrating.”

But she is seeing some long-time patients and getting bookings from new ones through social media advertising.

Ms Bennett said a lot of podiatrists tend to work in isolation, but she hopes to partner more with other healthcare practitioners such as physiotherapists, and sports doctors. She will also be collaborating with diabetic specialists since many of her patients have diabetic wounds on their feet.

“I spend a lot of time working with the Bermuda Diabetes Association,” she said. “I was on the board for a while. We think that about 25 per cent of Bermuda’s population is in some way diabetic or pre-diabetic. That is quite high.”

But she believes information about diabetes rates in Bermuda needs updating.

“After Covid-19, when we have all been sitting around eating chips, the number of people with diabetes in the community could be a lot higher,” she said.

In the three-month lead up to opening Arches Podiatry, she did not see any patients.

“I really missed chatting with them,” she said. “It was so nice when they started filtering back in and we could catch up. I love my patients. It was hard being separated from them for three months.”

She is feeling optimistic about her new practice.

“So far, everyone is loving it,” she said.

Her clients particularly like the free parking at her new location in the Healthways Building at 1 Cedar Avenue.

“Being that little bit out of town is fabulous,” she said. “And I love that my office is bright and airy. I don’t feel boxed in.”

For more information call 232-2724 or see Arches Podiatry on Facebook.

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Published September 29, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated September 30, 2021 at 8:01 am)

Natalie off on the right foot at Arches Podiatry

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