Alicia Fenn is finding her footing with her new Lakecity-based business.
New to the Cariboo this year, Fenn is a certified pedorthist — someone who is able to assess foot issues, and able to design and fit custom orthotics or braces.
When Fenn moved to the Cariboo with her boyfriend, she initially looked for a clinic where she could practice. Finding none (the closest is in Prince George) she decided to address the gap in the community by opening her own clinic: Kintec by Cariboo Orthotics.
While opening was delayed by the wildfires, Fenn was up and running by Oct. 1.
During the course of a day, Fenn will meet with people who are having foot pain, or pains related to their feet, primarily, but also has clients who may have alignment problems.
When someone comes into the office, Fenn will do a video assessment.
“It involves taking a video of someone walking so we can assess their movements and break it down into minute seconds of how the body is functioning, and then we take that information along with functional assessment tests, muscle testing, range of motion testing and then medical history and lifestyle, activities, what type of shoes they are wearing, etc.”
From there, Fenn builds a treatment plan that may involve stretching and strengthening exercises, custom orthotics, custom knee braces, or occasionally custom shoes.
“I’ll go over footwear education with everyone I see to make sure they are wearing shoes that are benefiting them. If custom orthotics are a part of the protocol then I cast and design an order for the orthotics and then they get shipped from the Lower Mainland. Then I have them back in two weeks for a fitting and then there are braces,” said Fenn.
“I’ll go over everything that might help with their problem and then we can pick or choose what might be important or they can pick or choose what to start with.”
While many people are referred by a doctor, Fenn encourages people who have pain or alignment issues, or who thinks they may need to get orthotics, to just give her a call at 778-412-9833.
“I will happily get to the bottom of things over the phone. Usually I can tell whether it is a circumstance where I could help out or if they need a physio or to go back to a doctor. I can ask the right questions to guide them,” she says.
Kintec by Cariboo Orthotics is open four days a week at her clinic at 147D, First Ave, across from the Tribune. In the winter, she’s open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, and then 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday, with the occasional Saturday appointments, although she says her hours are somewhat flexible.
“I see a huge scope of people,” says Fenn. “Sometimes people think of orthotics as a device for a middle or senior age person who needs that support because their arches are dropping. That’s not the case. I saw a three year old; I see professional athletes who want the competitive advance of having a sport specific insole or they’ve got some nagging pain they want help with as well.”
Fenn has a degree in kinesiology and is a Canadian Certified Pedorthist. Through an apprenticeship program, where she worked for Kintec in the Lower Mainland, she worked under a certified pedorthist and took a number of online courses to recertify.
In terms of just general foot care, Fenn says to take care of your foot health.
“A lot of people have foot pain that they just put up with and it’s one of those things that you can get caught up with later in life, so don’t ignore your pain. If your arches ache because you’re standing on your feet all day, that’s something that you don’t have to put up with. You can get help for that just staying on top of things, and making sure that if there is a concern you can talk to your doctor about it.”
Otherwise, she says, wear good and properly fitting footwear.
“There is really no limit to what I can do for feet.”