With the Formula 1 coming up this weekend, I can’t help but be excited as I promised myself that I would go the next time it came to Singapore. Some people find the race strange and liken it to watching toy cars going round repeatedly on the same track, but I find a certain beauty in the action both on and off the track. The drivers jockeying for positions, cutting their opponents off at the right moment, working together like Hamilton and Bottas did earlier this month at the Italian Grand Prix, or the pit crew cooperating to pull off the seemingly seamless transitions of a pit stop are all beautiful in their own right.
Pit stops are an integral part of an F1 race, and the right strategy for pitting can determine victory. There is a fine balance between the freshness of a car’s tyres and the time taken to complete a pit stop. By minimising the time taken to complete each stop or choosing when to head into the pit lane, teams are able to both outspeed and outfox their opponents, earning a place on the podium.
Though perhaps not immediately obvious, we need to recognise that our bodies need ‘pit stops’ to perform optimally too. We make similar decisions about our bodies daily. We often put off treatment, thinking that we may heal on our own, or hold off treatment till the condition truly “needs” it.
What is a pit stop for our bodies?
Like F1 cars, our bodies are also a finely tuned system and it is very easy to push the boundaries too hard, leading to accident or injury. Preventative in nature, F1 pit stops allow teams to assess and deal with any issues that may have cropped up during the race. Clinical checkups are our body’s pit stops; they share similar objectives, seeking to address any potential issues before they are given an opportunity to worsen, or addressing conditions that are beginning to display symptoms.
As a clinical specialist, I frequently see patients who only seek treatment when their pain is unbearable or hindering their daily lifestyle. Such behaviour can be detrimental to their health, and frequently means that patients are forced to undergo more complex treatments as their condition has deteriorated. As a result, I strongly advocate that patients go for clinical checkups on a regular basis, especially if they have suffered from previous injury or disease. For patients with diseases that can compromise our immune systems, regular checkups are more important, even critical.
Some of the conditions that may develop over time include Achilles tendinopathy, bunions, plantar fasciitis, foot and toe fungal infections. Many of these conditions can be addressed before they become chronic, and while some may only be noticeable after they cause discomfort, others such as bunions are visibly obvious and can be addressed before they cause pain.
What happens in a podiatric checkup?
As a podiatrist and specialist in foot care, I focus on treating conditions of the lower limbs as well as the pain and discomfort caused by these conditions. By taking a detailed patient history and assessing the patient’s foot and lower limb structures, my colleagues and I able to nip foot pain in the bud. In addition, multiple checkups will also allow us to form a baseline for each patient, enabling us to track changes and spot any abnormalities swiftly and accurately.
If we identify a condition or ascertain that a patient may have certain risk factors leading to the development of a particular condition, we are able to offer recommendations that are rehabilitative or preventative in nature, depending on what is best for the patient. For example, by understanding a patient’s lifestyle and behaviour, the podiatrist is able to provide suitable footwear advice as well as educate the patient on avoiding injury during their preferred physical activities. This form of early detection and treatment can help patients avoid the need for surgery or more expensive intervention down the line, much like how annual inspections for our cars or pit stops for F1 cars can help to detect or prevent more dramatic or severe equipment failure.
On other occasions, patients have been living with chronic conditions and pain, brushing it off and allowing it to worsen. Checkups provide both the patient and podiatrist an opportunity to address these issues.
The importance of a team
Even though news coverage tends to focus on the efforts of the driver, the success of a F1 team rests upon every individual team member. F1 pit crews have over 15 people working in harmony to have the car ready in less than 2.5 seconds. Every action has to be deeply considered beforehand and executed perfectly. Their tools are precisely designed for maximum efficacy and reliability and the crews practice repeatedly to ensure that everything runs perfectly. Only by working in harmony can a team achieve success.
Workflow within a clinic must run on the same principles. Being a premier podiatry practice, patients expect much more from us; our operations must operate as seamlessly as a well-meshed pit crew, delivering the best possible clinical service and care to our patients. From booking an appointment to the consultation with a podiatrist to the equipment used in our treatments and the educational content on our website and videos, each aspect of our practice is carefully calibrated to cater to the needs of our patients and the general public.
Lewis Nurney (Senior Podiatrist & Deputy Head of Department)
Lewis is a podiatrist with East Coast Podiatry, a group of private clinics based in Singapore with locations at Novena, Orchard and Kembangan. Lewis enjoys motorsports and is looking forward to the Singapore F1 Night Race.