Emily Donker is a podiatrist, professional triathlete, and owner of Running Fix in Brisbane.
Her business is focused on the active patient requiring podiatry, gait analysis and running coaching.
In this episode, we discuss how Emily got involved in triathlons and the progression to move her from the amateur ranks to becoming a professional triathlete, not too much different in the progression from being a podiatry student to a qualified podiatry professional.
Emily has a unique story, and I think any podiatrist wanting to know how to blend their passion and podiatry career should not miss this episode. There is also invaluable information to help you understand how a professional athlete’s mind ticks.
If you have any questions about this episode, you can contact me at email@example.com
Hi, I’m Tyson Franklin, and if you’re looking for assistance to help grow and evolve your podiatry business, please talk with me before you commit to a larger coaching company that will more than likely, after their initial call, hand you off to an employee who may or may not know much about podiatry. You deserve better!
I only work with a small number of one-on-one clients at any one time, and they all work directly with me, so if you have a spare thirty minutes, let’s talk before you commit anywhere else.
After we talk, you will have more clarity on what is best for you and your business.
Have you checked out my YouTube Channel – TYSON E FRANKLIN?
Hi, I’m Tyson Franklin and welcome to this week’s episode of the podiatry legends podcast with me today is Emily Donker. She is a 2013 QUT graduate and she had a dual degree of podiatry and human movements And she is also a professional triathlete. So Emily, how are you doing today? Yeah. Really well.
Thanks Tyson. Thanks for having me on. No, it’s great. And you also, your business name is Running Fix and people can check their runningfix.com.Au and we’ll point it. We’ll tell everybody earlier that you actually did your final year placement in my podiatry clinic in Cairns. That’s how we crossed paths.
Yes, it was. And that was a long time ago. I realised the other day when Facebook memories came up for 10 years since I graduated. I know. That’s what I was looking at. Cause I couldn’t remember the exact. I was talking to Matt Barkley and yeah. And that’s when he said, oh, you should come on the show.
[00:01:00] And I said to Matt, I said, yeah, Emily did work experience with me, but I can’t remember exactly when it was. Yeah. But I knew it was in your final year, and when I saw your final year was 2013, I went. Okay. , that’s when it was, yeah. Yeah. And what was interesting back then, used to turn up for the placement and you’d turn up on your bike.
Yep. As we all do, you’d like to ride in, yeah, 10 or 15 Ks, , to your placement each day. But I remember talking to you and you said that you’re up in Cairns doing your placement at the same time, there was a triathlon on. So you decided you would compete in that as well. Yep. Multitasking, right? Pretty much.
Let’s go back a little bit. When because I want the focus of this podcast to be a little bit about your podiatry career, but how you’ve been able to blend being a professional triathlete and a podiatrist at the same time. Yep. But before I press record, I mentioned something about being a professional triathlete, and you said there’s different types of professional triathletes.
Can you explain that? Yeah, sure. [00:02:00] Essentially, There’s short course racing and I guess athletes that are wanting to qualify for say the Olympics or the world series and they race draft legal, which means you’re allowed to take advantage of riding in a group and sit really close to. Other people’s wheels in a pack.
I basically have my non drafting license, which means that I race long course events and any, anything short and that is classed as non drafting. So basically we have to sit depending on the race, but we have to sit at a certain distance behind the cyclist in front so that you’re deemed to not be getting an advantage.
riding behind someone basically, does it make that big a difference when you’re just sitting behind somebody in the, it does actually In Training, it’s a lot easier in a group if you’re on the back than on the front, right? It really makes it because I know we watched the Tour De France and I’ve had some past patients who are.
In the Tour de France for years, [00:03:00] and they were all parts of teams and you see them in these packs and everyone’s going together. And then if you’re ever watching , professional cycling, you’ll see a group will break off, but then one guy will go on his own and they’re going, Oh, it’s a bit early to be doing that.
And you see them starting to wear it and the pack just catches up to them and they make it look so easy too. Yeah. So what’s, is there a percentage on the difference that it makes? Oh, there would be. I don’t know off the top of my head what it is. But for example some of the local races, the draft distance is 7 meters.
For Ironman, it’s 12 meters. And for any challenge races, it’s 20. Yeah, basically that’s how far you’re supposed to sit behind the person in front of you. Okay, and the, unless you’re going to overtake, then do you have to go wide to actually do you have a set time, which is usually 25 seconds to make that pass. No, I didn’t realise that. So well, this is something I’ve learned already, which is great. And if you sit beside them for too long, you can get a blocking penalty, or if you’re sitting too close behind them, then it’s drafting penalty. And so [00:04:00] you get some time in a penalty tent. Oh, so you’ve got to stop and so they will pull you off the track and you get, you’ve been bad.
So you’re going to, you’re going to sit in. Everybody that goes past is going to know that you’ve been dishonest. Correct. Yeah. Have you ever made that mistake accidentally? I I’ve been caught for drafting once up in Port Douglas, actually. Okay. When I raced Coral Coast Tri and it was narrow. You couldn’t get past it, but yeah, draft buster got me.
So yeah. And it’s always the person who’s coming up behind is going to be the person who’s going to be in trouble, not the person that’s in front. Correct. So can the person in front strategically slow down so you end up sitting behind them and then picking the pace? Pace up? Yeah. They can be a bit of an ass.
Yeah. Yeah, I was gonna say, yeah, I reckon there, I reckon in triathlons there would be a few , crafty buggers, but once you, so once you make the pass the person behind, it’s their responsibility to drop back. Out of that draft zone. Okay. And when you say a pass, you’ve got to completely be [00:05:00] passing before that would be a pass or is it just getting your nose in front?
No, I’ve completely passed. Yeah. Ah, okay. Now you also mentioned short course, what distance is short course? So for example, those who have their Drafting license and want to qualify for the Olympics. It’s either usually sprint distance up to Olympic distance. Anything longer than that is going to be non drafting.
So Olympic distance is 1. 5 K swim 40 K bike and a 10 K run. I don’t know how you do it. But that’s still classed as, short ish. Yeah. Somebody once said to me, Tyson you into a triathlon. They said, it’s really short. I said, short to me would be like a 50 meter swim. I said, I run around the pool and then getting on your bike and riding around the block.
That’d be about as far as I’d want to go with those three disciplines. Yep. Enticer then. Oh yeah, have to be. So out of those three events, which is your strongest thing? What was the one that you would do? Because nearly everybody [00:06:00] does a particular sport. They’re either a really good swimmer, and they get into triathlons, or they’re a great runner.
What was yours? In primary school I was a swimmer, but then more so a runner in secondary school. Yeah, running would be my strength. Okay. And then swimming was second and then you had to learn to be a cyclist? Essentially. Yeah. But my swimming is still not as good as I was when I was 10.
Geez. So at what point did you decide that you were going to do triathlons? How old were you then? I Did my first triathlon when I was 19, after I finished school, so yeah. Okay. So it wasn’t something you did as a junior. So 19, you started doing triathlons. So you would have been at uni then? I was at uni.
A couple of friends did a triathlon, did triathlon during school, and I thought, Oh, that sounds really good. But yeah, my, my mom wasn’t too keen on me riding on the road, which is fair enough. But yeah, once I was 18, I bought myself a road bike. And then I think it was. So one of [00:07:00] my work colleagues went bike shopping with me, helped me buy my first bike, and cause he did triathlon as well.
And then I think I did my first triathlon about eight months later. So now that you’re a professional. Yeah. Going back to when you first started, when did you win your first race? Oh I think it was actually the first time I did the Coral Coast try the following June. So maybe nine months after I did my first one.
Okay. So did you know right there and then you go, geez, I’m pretty bloody good at this. It was more than I enjoyed it. Okay. And I liked the challenge. Of it. . Okay. And what’s the mental switch? It goes off to become, from going from amateur to becoming a professional?
I guess I’d won my age group in a few races. And felt like I needed a new challenge. bUt in hindsight, it’s a lot of it’s a bigger jump than I guess what I realised, and I’ve heard the same from a few other [00:08:00] people yeah, it’s a lot bigger step.
Going from amateur to professional, like it’s a different, a bit of a different style of racing too. Yeah, I think every sport though, I think you can be a fantastic amateur and that jump up to professional because professionals, like you can be watching, whether it’s rugby league or MMA and you watch some people you go.
They’re professionals, they don’t seem that good, but they’re up against other professionals who are really good. Yes. Yeah. And I remember when I was playing rugby league and then all of a sudden they said, Hey, we want you to play in the A grade team. And this is a professional team.
Yeah. We’re getting paid. Great. I remember the first game and thinking, what the hell am I doing out here? Did you get the wind knocked out of you? I got the shit beaten out of me. Just got flogged. And at the end of the thing, I remember the coach coming up and going, good game. And I’ve gone, my God, I don’t know if I could do this for a whole season.
You gotta be kidding. Luckily it was right towards the end of the season. And I think last game I [00:09:00] dislocated my shoulder but I realised pretty quickly, I was not going to be a professional football player. Yeah. Yeah. So once you moved up to professional, obviously you noticed there was a big leap in the quality of the competitors.
Did you ever feel that you were, Oh no, I’m out of my depth here. Or did you go, Oh no, I’m actually, I fit.
No, quite often. I still feel like that actually. Yeah but I think it’s the same thing from someone who’s a student, they’re a podiatry student. And to me, that’s you’re an amateur. And then all of a sudden when you finish and then you become professional.
All of a sudden you have a registration, insurance, and now you’re dealing with patients left alone and nobody is signing off on anything. You’ve then moved into the big league. And that can be daunting for some people, but also at uni, you feel like, stuff and you, I reckon you learn three times or 10 times as much in that first year out than what you do at uni.
And yeah, it’s the same sort of thing. Yeah. Same thing with sport. So how did you [00:10:00] balance between your study and. Was that difficult back when you were a student? I guess I was working as well, some part time. And because I was doing the dual degree every second semester was five subjects.
I don’t know, thinking back on it now, I, sometimes I wonder how I did actually, but generally get up early, do some training before work or uni. And if I had a break during the day. That was quite good. I remember I’m pretty sure it was Wednesdays. I used to have a two hour break at uni and I would go for a run in the middle of the day.
Yeah, and the rest of us during that two hour break, we’d go to the campus club or something. Yeah. And have a beer. So when we were having a beer, you were out running. And that’s the difference. That’s why you’re a professional athlete.
I remember getting lost in Paddington a few times, like running from, yeah. Okay. So when you graduated, obviously around that time, you’re still thinking, okay, I want to get into triathlons more. Was it [00:11:00] difficult trying to find a job that you could also do your training? Did you work part time initially or did you work full time somewhere?
So I was working through uni. I was working at In Training. So specialty footwear running store. And essentially when I graduated, I then got a full time job with them, but I was doing part time. Podiatry and part time retail and like being runners I guess it doesn’t take up as much time as triathlon, but yeah, they were pretty flexible with hours and things.
So it was, I was working full time hours, but it was, they were open later on two nights. So I usually did like on a Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday, I worked 12 till 8 9. So I had the whole morning to myself, okay. So once you started your career, so you’re working In Training, how many years into working did you decide that you’re going to go pro?
I went pro 20, end of 2018 or [00:12:00] start of 2019. So I worked five years first. Okay. Yeah. Once you went pro, did you cut back on your hours of working as a podiatrist? No. Okay, so you still kept working. Okay, that’s good. Yeah. Yeah. So I’m gonna ask a question. Is there any money in being a professional triathlete?
Not for me. I need to get faster still. No, by the time you factor in your travel and yeah. Training costs and. Every now and then you want a new bike and no, for me, it definitely doesn’t pay the bills, but depends. I enjoy it still but yeah, there are some of the top athletes will make money from it and yeah.
So what about, so as a professional now, have you won any events as a professional? Technically, yes. Nothing major though. Okay. You were up here in June. And you did the the Ironman, the Cairns Ironman. How’d you go on that? Came sixth. Yeah, [00:13:00] being an Ironman and being that classed as the Asia Pacific Championships, Cairns is, that was a good payday.
Yeah. But yeah, basically that sort of, funded race entries for the rest of the year. Okay, so you just need to win some of those bigger ones or get placed well in some of the bigger ones and then that funds you to just keep having fun. Yeah, that’s it. Or keep training. Yeah. Okay. Did that cause the Cairns one, if you do well in that, you qualify for the Hawaiian Ironman as well.
Don’t you? Yes. Thankfully it wasn’t good enough for that yet. I need it. All right. Okay. So have you done the international event yet? Yeah. I raced actually last weekend I raced in New Zealand. I raced. Yeah. So yeah, I’ve raced overseas a few times, but nothing that I’ve needed to qualify for in a sense.
And what about sponsorship? How do you go, do you have sponsors or are you always looking for sponsors? How does that work? Always looking sponsors are always nice to have. So I guess [00:14:00] you’re always looking, but no, I’ve got a few nothing. I believe that there are quite a few of, again, your top end athletes that are paid a wage by their sponsors.
I don’t have anything that’s that lucrative, but I do have a couple of sort of product sponsors. Which is helpful. Yeah. Okay. So like whether it’s footwear, clothing, that sort of thing. So it saves you actually having to buy it yourself. Yeah. Every little bit helps. Exactly. Yeah. I would love to have a microphone sponsors and things like that.
Tech sponsors would be great. Yeah. Yeah. You’ve got good coverage on your back wall, right? Yeah. Yeah. The podiatry legends logo on the back there, . Yeah. But yeah, you could sell that space as realty for your sponsors. Yeah. But what about podiatry sponsors? Yeah. There’s always a lot of suppliers out there that are at the podiatry conferences.
Have you ever spoken to any of them, like some of the strapping companies or anything like that to try to get sponsorship? Have you approached them [00:15:00] or do you wait for sponsors to approach you? Generally, you need to approach people. I haven’t gone down the podiatry avenue, actually, aside from, so Ascent are one of my sponsors, I get the groove and a couple of pairs of shoes from them each year, so they do a good job supporting me.
But yeah, that could be an idea is actually approaching. Some of the suppliers, because if you’re running around all of a sudden, like I’ve got my Dolorcast water bottle here, not that they’re a sponsor of the podcast at all, but it’s one of those things that if you had a shirt on, had Dolorcast on there in shockwave, that a lot of athletes would probably have had treatment with that.
Yeah. And be familiar with it. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. They should be a sponsor on the podcast because I have this bottle here with me all the time. Yeah. Most of the videos I do. And I did I was doing a talk just recently with this other group and we were talking about I know it’s for another podcast and we’re talking about swag, promotional items for.
For your podiatry business [00:16:00] and I was planning on having a lot of the different things that I’d used over the years to show them as examples, but I forgot to have them when we started the video. And the only thing I had with me was my Dolorcast water bottle. Yeah. Yeah, there we go. So Dolorcast, there’s a shout out to you guys.
Yeah. There you go. I’m sure. I’m sure they will appreciate it. So you’ve been in there 10 years. Yep. And you went from amateur to professional. Yeah. You were touring around. How long were you with, In Training for? Ten, ten years. Cause you were there as a student as well.
Yeah. Yeah. So you’ve only finished up with them the last couple of years. YeAh. I think mid 2019, I finished up with In Training. So yeah, but I’ve done a few things and I’ve not, I’ve only actually worked full time as a podiatrist for about five months, but I’ve been doing a whole bunch of other things as well.
What were the other things? [00:17:00] So from 20. Yeah, up till 2016, I was withIn Training full time. So I was, yeah, that split of podiatry and retail like selling and fitting footwear and. And things like that. And then I went, I kept my one or two days a week in the clinic at In Training, but I was then also the national tech and sales manager for a distributor of brands that are in the running and triathlon and trail running sort of space.
So I was, yeah, traveling for work as well and yeah, doing the business of business side of sales as opposed to retail sales. So being a triathlete yourself and then blending that in with your podiatry career, do you get a lot of triathletes come in as patients? Yeah, I do. Triathletes and runners.
Yeah. It’s quite good. Because they’re the type of clients that I like to see and like to help. So yeah. So now that you have your own business runningfix. [00:18:00] com. au if people want to go and check it out. Now that you’re doing that, would you probably have Running Fix on your own gear? You sponsor yourself.
Yeah, I do. All right. Okay. Yeah. On my tie suit. I have a logo on there too. Yeah. Yeah.. And so you should, because it’s no different to like when I’m doing the podcast, a lot of times I’ll mention to people, go to my website, tysonfranklin. com, go and check out the events that are there, there’s a marketing event coming up or I’m doing the live reboot.
So I use the podcast to promote what it is that I do outside of the podcast. Yes. So you could do exactly the same thing, but you got Running Fix and podiatry and foot problems and Dolorcast or whatever written on there. But then if you’re competing at a lot of local events too, those local athletes, if they knew they had a problem, I’m sure they’d prefer to see a podiatrist that understands their pain and suffering
so I think there would have to be an advantage. Yeah. Yeah. [00:19:00] Oh, me too. Yeah. I think it’s always good if you feel like you can relate to your practitioner on a more personal level. I know with physios I’ve seen in the past as well. Yeah, it’s a lot more reassuring if they have the same philosophy about training or rehab or whatever it is.
Have you had any major injuries?
In your competition? Oh, yeah. Yeah. I was about to say I feel like I can relate to a lot of my patients in that sense, because as an athlete, at some point you’re bound to get injured and so yeah, we’ve, I guess I would assume that most athletes have had their fair air of injuries, but yeah. Yeah, I’ve had, I had a labral tear, so I’ve actually, I’ve had a hip arthroscopy and done the rehab from that.
I have had. A third metatarsal stress fracture on each foot one rehabbed really well. And the other was a pain in my ass. I [00:20:00] Guess I’ve had a few clients who unfortunately have not responded well to stress fracture recovery. And having been through that myself, I know that there’s a whole lot more to it just then offloading.
There’s a lot of. extra stuff you need to look into and combat before you’re going to get recovery. So most of these sounds like they were all running injuries, not coming off the bike. Correct. The labral tear potentially was a positional thing on the bike. Oh, okay. But I don’t really know, but yeah, the the first metatarsal stress fracture happened at the same time as my hip.
So I’m assuming that I was compensating and continuing to persevere through the hip pain when I shouldn’t have. And that’s the thing probably too, as a professional athlete, most people I’ve met, especially people that do. Triathlons and cycling, their pain threshold is really high and dances as well. They just have this amazingly high pain threshold, far [00:21:00] more than what the average person can put up with.
So when usually they’re in pain and they can’t perform, they get frustrated really fast because they’re not used to having to give up. Yes. That’s it. And had a pretty extensive issue with. Repetitive calf strains and tightness and things like that, which has been good the past, probably two, three years, but yeah, that gave me grief for a long time.
So on the mental side of things, when you have an athlete come in, knowing that you’ve gone through that yourself, they have a high pain threshold and you know they hate stopping. Yeah. How do you talk those sort of patients through when you get a, an elite athlete come in? How do you talk them through maybe?
Explain to him to slow down because I know the last thing I used to say to patients, I hated telling patients they had to stop doing something because I’d say you’re intelligent enough to figure out how much you can put up with and whether it’s too [00:22:00] painful, but how do you cope with an elite athlete? I guess it’s trying to put everything into perspective and making them realise that what’s coming up in the, if they have an event, say in the short term. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That realistically, they’re not going to be able to do or at least they’re not going to be able to perform to the best of their ability.
It’s about making them realise that the long term, both their performance as an athlete, but also their actual just physical and mental health. In six months, two years, 10 years down the track is a lot more important than going through a short term period of not being able to train and trying to spin it around as well.
And as best as you can, trying to focus on the aspects of their training that they can do, not what they can’t. So I guess even for more so for triathletes, it’s. Handy, because there’s, [00:23:00] I would say it’s very rare that you can’t do nothing that you, yeah, that there’s,, usually, obviously with a bone stress injury in the lower leg, usually you can swim.
That makes sense. Like you can always swim and you can do upper body and core strength. And so working on those aspects while you’re injured can be advantageous for you down the track. Because I was going to say it with with an elite athlete, it’s not so much just the not training, but it’s probably also the fear of losing the fitness that they spent a lot of years building it up.
So it’s managing what you said what you manage, what you can’t do, but also manage what you can do to try and maintain that fitness level. Yeah. And also managing the, I think another thing that I find really helpful is trying to liaise with the. The coach to actually make sure that everyone’s on the same page because often a good point, even that it’s, I don’t know whether it’s the athlete doesn’t [00:24:00] comprehend what you’re telling them or they have selective hearing or, but basically you want to make sure that the message you’re giving the athlete is the same message that the coach and the parent gets.
Yeah, if it’s a younger athlete just and because a lot of coaches are actually not overly well adapt in trying to rehab someone back from an injury properly, I don’t think like the loading protocol isn’t often as cautious as it needs to be. Especially like when you’re looking at team sports, for example, if you go to someone who’s injured and they are one of the key players and they’re leading up to important games.
They want them back. The coach wants them back on that field as soon as possible. So I think it’s, I think it’s a really good point you make that you’ve got to talk to the athlete, but even the athlete can go back to the coach and the coach is going to, now you’ll be fine. Yes. Especially in rugby league, because we used to have a magic sponge.
You put the sponge on someone and that would fix everything. Get up and run around like a champion. But there are a lot. Yeah. And I [00:25:00] remember even though I said I had one major injury, I had a lot of little minor injuries that, yeah, I probably They just wear you down, right? The, a lot of those little minor injuries are ones that are probably affecting me more now.
As I’m older, then when they did when I was younger, because you just, I know you’re rubbery back then you just brush them off or properly strap that thing up again. Yeah. bEcause you’re dealing a lot with say individual athletes who might be doing running or triathlons. So you do you liaise with a coach fairly often.
I try to, I’ll always ask the athlete are you happy for me to get in touch with your coach or yeah. And and to be like a lot of the athletes I deal with actually aren’t elite athletes, they’re everyday athletes, but everyone’s the same. Like we all need the support around us and we all need everyone to.
Help you through that process of being injured because it’s not fun. And but yeah, I basically I’ll always ask for the [00:26:00] athletes permission to get in touch with the coach, but I will always try and get in touch with the coach and, or if they’re seeing another health professional regularly, like a physio or a dietitian or something then yeah, try and make it more of a collaborative process.
He’s hard to talk to coaches or parents. The parent’s usually there in the room. Yeah. In that sense, it’s easier. But sometimes I think the parent is trying to live their dreams through their child. I was just about, I was just about to say that. That I used to see that a lot where you’d have the father who was Yeah.
An okay rugby league player or something, and then their son coming through looks like he’s gonna make it the big time. Yeah. And there’s important games coming up and there’s gonna, there might be scouts there and it’s no, we just need to get him back out in the field. And the, and you could see the look on the kids’ face is I’m in pain.
Yeah. aNd it’s really hard that, and that’s where, especially if you’re dealing with the father, you just gotta bring the mum in, bring the caring side, caring parent in, and they’re usually [00:27:00] a bit more sensible. Yeah. This is a conversation. We only had this conversation yesterday with my daughter’s boyfriend and my wife keeps saying, she keeps trying to explain to my daughter, men and women think differently.
Yep. And my daughter said in what way? And my wife said give you an example, just said, I’ll give you an example. And she said to me, so how often do you actually think about the Roman empire each week? And I went. Oh, but just the Roman Empire or important people in that era and that type of thing.
She went, yeah. And I went, I know, maybe three or four times a week. And she just shook her head because my daughter’s boyfriend said exactly the same thing. And one of my best friends, so then I rang him up and said, how often do you think about the Roman Empire? He goes, I don’t know. Oh, every second day.
So it has to be a male thing. I don’t know what it is about the Roman Empire, but it’s just, and then this morning, I was checking my email this morning and this email came [00:28:00] through from a friend and said, Hey, here’s a quote from Marcus Aurelius. And I just went, there it is again. I thought about it and I’ve spoken, I’ve thought about it twice today because now I’m talking to you about it.
I don’t reckon I’ve thought about it in 10 years. And my wife said the same thing. My daughter said, I have no, I’ve never even thought about the Roman empire. So I’d be really interested. Anyone who’s listening to this episode, if you’re male, send me an email tf@tysonfranklin.Com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
And tell me how often you think about the Roman empire. See if this is purely a male thing or it’s just, or it’s just odd people think about because the friend I asked, he’s odd and my daughter’s boyfriend’s a little bit odd as well. So that’s two out of three, right? Yeah. Maybe it’s a little bit.
I’m perfectly normal. Okay. So I want to move on to your business. So you’ve, you’re a triathlete, you’ve worked at other places. So then all of a sudden in June, [00:29:00] 2020, you decided to open up your own business. I did. Yeah. What happened there? I was working full time for five ish months.
Yeah. From November 2019. At the same time I had that troublesome stress fracture. So that probably didn’t help my frame of mind, but essentially the job I was in was not in my mind. It was nothing like what I. Signed up for I had the impression it was going to be seeing lots of running clients and lots of that.
And I had agreed to go and do a day of home visits a week because basically the role that was advertised was part time. And I said to quit my full time job, I need a full time job. But anyway, essentially it was I’d come from a clinic where I’d done lots of. biomechs and athletes and not ever been super, super busy.
And then I went to doing, yeah, driving around, doing home visits. And a [00:30:00] day a week in a GP clinic where I saw 18 patients a day. And I was, it was, I was felt like I was in over my head cause I’d not done that many generals probably in my life. And I’m sure there’s people listening to this going, 18, that’s an easy day, but it’s what you’re used to.
Yes, it is. And yeah, that’s a walk in the park for some, I’m sure. But yeah, essentially I wasn’t enjoying it. And then COVID came along and we got told that everyone would keep their job and they’d reduce their hours by 20 percent and that was fine. And then the following week. I got made redundant and that was a week left in my or a month left on my six month probation.
So I just don’t have a job anymore. And so three months through, like at the start of COVID as well. And I’m looking at new job ads and like screening them for home visits, screening them for nail surgeries, and then just never really found anything that [00:31:00] floated my boat. Yeah. I’m doing some, I’m doing some small interviews at the moment.
The episode will come out early in January. It’s going to come out about why I chose my employer, how they chose it. New graduates. And it’s an eye opener to some of the things that they’re saying. I imagine people have to tune in for that one. That’s going to be episode 310. And. But it’s just, yeah like you’re saying, you thought you signed up for one thing, but then the next thing you’re at a GP clinic, probably bulk billing and EPC patients, and then you’re doing home visits.
And like I said, there’s nothing wrong with that. But I think if that’s the job you’re offering, be really upfront and honest, that’s the job and the NDIS side of it, like it was just a lot more paperwork than I realised.
And also the main reason I’d left my sales job was to. Because I was sick of driving in car and I wanted to work close from home and the main clinic was 10 minutes from my house, but all the home visits and the GP clinic were all a [00:32:00] 45 minute drive.
It was just not what I wanted. But I’ve learned from it too. Hindsight’s a good thing. Once you can. Yeah, it is. It is. And the thing is, what’s funny though is you may have done that work and all of a sudden gone. Yeah. And that’s why I think, yeah that’s why it’s good when people take on jobs.
I think it’s great to be exposed to all aspects of podiatry because you might say, I don’t like high risk feet, but then all of a sudden you go, my God, the high risk feet is actually interesting. Or you might say, Oh, I’m not really into biomechanics, but then you find that. Actually biomechanics, which we agree on off air, that is the underlying thing that all podiatrists should understand.
Yeah. That’s just our opinions. But yeah, like I did enjoy it. It was just like, I’m, I don’t feel like it’s the right environment. And I’m also not getting paid enough to sit on this person’s floor. Oh, that is just, it brings back just [00:33:00] nightmares. Yeah, of just the dignity. Sometimes you’ve gone through university for four years.
You’ve got all this education. You’ve done all this continued education. You’ve got all this really high skillset and you’re sitting on a floor and I’m thinking, show me another health profession that will sit on a floor to do their job. aNd I totally understand, but you don’t have visits. Sometimes you just got to make do with what’s there.
But I remember when I had my clinic in Cairns, we got called by this Nursing home rang us up and said, Oh, can you provide services? And we hadn’t done a nursing home for years. And we went, hang on, I know that they’re desperate. So fine. And I thought I’ll never ask my staff to do something that I wouldn’t be prepared to do myself.
I said, so I’ll go out there first time. I go out there and there was like this doctor’s room in there. I said, Oh, this is actually quite a nice setup. They’re going to bring the patients to me. This is very professional. So I get in there, I get myself all sorted out. I don’t think I’ve told the story.
Ever on the podcast. [00:34:00] Get myself all sorted out, ready to rock and roll. And the nurse came and said, Oh, what are you doing? I said, I’m just setting everything up. Oh no, but this is the doctor’s room. This is where all the specialists come in and all the health professionals come in here. And I, yeah where do you expect me to work?
She said, Oh, we’ve got a room set up for you. So we go down this room and it was a toilet and shower. The end, where they have the handicapped? No way. Yeah, they have the handicapped rooms and it’s it’s a bathroom with the big, rails and all that, and they wanted the patient to sit on a toilet seat.
No! And I looked and I said, you are shitting me, aren’t you? And she went, Oh, I’m sorry, but this is where the podiatrist worked from last time. And I went, I said, you can shove this. And I said, unless I’m working from the doctor’s room. I said, we aren’t working here. And she went I’m sorry, but this is the room that we have.
So I said, it’s a toilet. It’s a bathroom. I said, it smells of poo in here. What if someone wants to use the toilet? Yeah. And oh, they had multiple toilets, but this is the [00:35:00] dedicated toilet to work from for the podiatrist. And I said, no way are we doing this? So I packed my stuff up and I walked out. And from that point onwards, we never went, we just said, no, we’re not going to do that sort of work.
It’s just not happening. Yeah. Now, what was funny is the podiatrist prior to me was working from there and I don’t know who took it on afterwards, but I just think there’s a certain amount of dignity that we should have as podiatrists. And if they do not have a professional room set up.
Yeah. Isn’t it? It’s a sad story though. But also for the clients too. Yeah, but. Like the client wouldn’t want to sit in a toilet to get. Yeah, but imagine they’re sitting on a dunny. To get treatment. You’re doing their feet. And imagine a GP or the doctor or a specialist walking past and they see you clipping someone’s toenails on a toilet seat.
And even though the toilet seat is a very comfortable seat, I must say, but yeah, it was just, it was Some people sit there for way too long. Way too long till your legs go numb. That’s a different story [00:36:00] altogether. But I remember another nursing, I was doing this for a friend and we see too many patients in a day.
They were big, long 12 hour days, but they had, it was a nursing home. They had the best setup. They had the proper professional chair, the bench, they had an autoclave. They provided all the instruments. They brought the patients in, you didn’t have to go anywhere and it was a really good set up. And my friend had been there like 10 years and I should just go and relieve for him when he went on holidays and that was a fantastic set up.
So it can be done, but it’s up to podiatrists to we draw the line here, I’m not going to do that. And I think it’s the whole profession starts doing that. What was that? Rising tide lifts all boats. It’ll lift it up. Yeah. Yeah. So let’s get back to your Running Fix clinic that you set up. So you’re doing, you’re obviously doing podiatry there, of course.
Is it, are you doing any general foot care as well? Or are you staying focused on active patients? My, my focus is active patients, but yeah, [00:37:00] definitely. I do have a couple of, like a handful basically of general clients that come. Okay. buT you don’t promote it. They just come in because they know you’re a podiatry clinic.
Yeah, and they’d seen me initially for an injury or they’re a mom of someone that I’ve seen or yeah, usually by association. I did some in the early days. I did, I guess I went to a couple of like exercise classes that are run for more of the elderly population. There’s a group called Heart Fit in Brisbane.
and basically I went to a couple of their clinics and just talked about the importance of good footwear and foot pain and things like that. And a couple of clients have come from that. And some of them are. Yeah. Yeah. I like that though, that you’ve taken something that, you love doing triathlons of course.
You are a triathlete, so you’ve set up a clinic that’s based around what you’re passionate about. Yes. Yes. So it [00:38:00] means that you can relate more easily to your patients. Yeah. Yeah. And I know there’s a lot of podiatry there. They’ve got really good skill sets in certain areas, but they’ll open up a clinic and then it’s just, it’s the same as the person down the road.
Every clinic looks the same. They cover all aspects of podiatry and there’s not something that they, this is where we’re talking about The Good Feet S tore off air. And we’re saying the advantage of The Good Feet Store has over a lot of podiatry clinics is they only talk about one thing. They make orthotics for people and even whether you like them or not like them, they’re very focused on what they do.
Whereas a lot of podiatry clinics are so broad with what they’re talking about. But they might have a special interest in running, but they don’t, I don’t bring that to the forefront. Yeah. Yeah. So with your clinic though, you’re also doing running coaching as well?
Yeah. Yeah. I did have some sort of in person sessions, but at the moment I’m just doing Basically personalized [00:39:00] online programs for people. I’ve got someone training for Boston marathon next year. I’ve got someone training for Gold Coast marathon, someone training for Chicago marathon. And I’m also training for, to get their 5k faster or to run a PB and a half marathon or.
The first half marathon. Yeah. So a whole breadth of abilities. But yeah, I try and generally I’m working on more specific personalized coaching rather than a cookie cutter. Here’s a 10 K program. Yeah. Yeah. What made you decide to work in with their lifestyle and what they need? Yep. What made you decide to add that as part of your podiatry business?
So I’ve done a lot of coaching in the past with school cross country. And when I was working In Training, I was coaching one of their[00:40:00] run groups as well. And I guess having been an athlete and had a coach for a while, I know the benefit of. Having a specific program to follow, both in terms of, oh, definitely terms keeping you accountable, but also making sure that you are managing your load properly.
Yeah. And then I guess with a podiatry slash injury perspective as well, seeing that a lot of athletes yeah, don’t know how to navigate coming back from injury or reducing your injury risk. As you build up to a bigger event, like so many times people come in and they’ve on the 1st of January, they’ve decided that they’re going to enter Gold Coast Marathon, and then they go and try and run 10 K 3 times a week when they haven’t run for 10 years.
I guess trying to, you’re not the only one yeah, I guess having seen that as well, knowing the benefit of. Following a program to get you where you want to go. It actually sounds like business coaching. Everything you said, then this is what, when I’m telling people about [00:41:00] business coaching, this is exactly the same thing is helping people identify what is it they want to achieve, mapping something out for them to get there, helping them overcome certain obstacles and avoiding potholes that you know, they’re going to fall into because everybody does.
Yeah. If somebody’s I’m going to run a marathon, so I’m going to do 10 Ks tomorrow and haven’t run for five years. That’s a mistake. Yeah. It’s the same with people. I always find funny. People will set up a business. They’ll have an accountant. They might have a lawyer. They’ll have all these other things, but they never even, they only think, Oh, I’ll get a business coach when I’m making money.
Yeah. Now, if you get a business coach earlier, you will probably make money faster. Same as you get a running coach earlier, you’re going to run faster. Yeah. Yeah. Or more consistently or. Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. It’s the same thing. You can get someone who’s only got a certain ability that they might come to go, but you can still, even if someone has got genetically was not gifted with, but you can still improve where they were to, to where they’re going to be.[00:42:00]
Yes. Or even just make their training more enjoyable. Often I find that there’s not enough. Variety, and so they’ll just go and do the same run three or four times a week. And it’s you can probably get better and actually enjoy your training more. If you add a bit of speed work take, yeah, vary the terrain, whatever it might be.
But yeah, it’s a key that is the equation between the, how they both relate to each other, running coaching and business coaching, it’s almost identical. And I probably it’s, yeah, if somebody had a life coach, it’s probably exactly the same thing. Yeah. Yeah. Probably.
Okay. So I have one final question for you. And so for example, there’s a student or someone who’s recently graduated and they’ve got a skill or an interest in a particular sport. What advice would you give them about maintaining that interest, but at the same time developing their podiatry career?
I think [00:43:00] trying to target that patient base is really Helpful. And also because you enjoy it, that means that you’re going to enjoy your podiatry more if you are seeing that sort of client. So maybe say it might be soccer or it might be NRL if you go to local clubs and try and make yourself known.
In that space that might help you to attract more of that specific clientele and especially with the team sport. Then once you’re seeing a few, then they know where to go. Yeah. That’s really good advice. But also I had an interesting I guess experience. I listened to a couple of the the PhD students at the SMA conference.
Yeah. And one of them. Was saying that he’d never been involved with netball before, but it was something that he saw was lacking in the podiatry [00:44:00] profession or in, in, in treatment in general was how to address lateral ankle sprains. And so he actually took it upon himself to learn more about it and make that his.
Specialty. Okay. And now he’s studying that as a PhD, an aspect of that, but that wasn’t an interest of his going in, but he made it his interest. I thought that was quite good as well. He found it, he probably found the interest. Yeah, he found a need for that , in the clinical setting and is pursuing it.
Yeah. Yeah, we found the same thing. Like I always, I’ve always been involved in sport in one way or another. And I still am, but I remember, yeah, because I had an interest in rugby league and then rugby union. So I started playing rugby union when I was a bit older, but none of those people got any money.
Your local clubs, local rugby league, local rugby, they got no money. But then we ended up working, we ended up working with netball players. Netball in Cairns is huge. So we would go out there and do strapping demonstrations and have 150 people. [00:45:00] At the strapping demonstration, and then we would turn up the games and I thought, okay if I’m going to start working with these guys, I’m going to play.
So they had a mixed netball game. I find it. Yeah. I find it really boring to watch, but when you play it, my God, it’s fast. You’re involved. Yeah. And one of the worst injuries I ever had was actually playing mixed netball. Yeah. There you go. Yeah. It did my Achilles. It was a shocker. Oh no. My Achilles and ankle at the same time.
And it was my own fault. Yeah. I thought I was trying to introduce a bit of yeah, Michael Jordan into the game with a big jump in the air. And then I came down on my ass. So it didn’t work out, but all of a sudden, yeah, we fell into the whole netball scene and then we became like the main, one of the main sponsors for netball in Cairns.
The amount of netball people that would come through our clinic was amazing. . Yeah. So I think it’s always just keep your eyes open to other things. It might be a sport. You might love certain sport, but it might be [00:46:00] other sports that end up being one of the main type of patients that actually come in.
Yeah. Yeah. And we used to get a lot of triathletes too, even though I could not do one to save my life.
That’s all right. But I can understand the pain they’re probably going through. Emily, I want to thank you for coming on the Podiatry Legends podcast and sharing some of your wisdom on, I think everyone who’s listened has learnt a lot about being a triathlete and what you go through. I know I have.
And I know I still will never do one. Yeah.. Thank you. Thanks so much for having me on. It’s been great to chat again. And I won’t force you to do a triathlon. Oh, hell no. No, it won’t happen. Okay. Emily. So thank you very much. And I look forward to talking again soon. Thanks Tyson.