Gareth Milne

Gareth Milne

Southern Sports Podiatry

I started work as a green new graduate under Greg Woolman and Bruce Baxter at Sportsmed in 2004 and after 2 years there I got as far as Melbourne where I worked in a couple of different Sports Medicine centres. .I was then looking to go further overseas to get some more experience but had also been getting regular calls from the Shoe Clinic owners in Queenstown - they were looking for a Podiatrist to move there full time and start a clinic up. I wasn’t that interested in heading home so soon and decided to look further to the UK, partly through setting up an ancestry visa but the financial crisis hit in 2008/09 and things weren’t looking so rosy over there. We had pushed the Queenstown idea to the side until we noticed friends moving back so thought we’d look into the Queenstown idea. We flew over for a long weekend, looked at some options for clinic spaces and within a month we’d moved back home and opened the doors and seen our first patient, 14 years later we are thriving in our little resort town and also have a weekly satellite clinic in Invercargill. I have an interest in all musculoskeletal presentations, seeing a wide range of injuries in the summer and helping skier/snowboarders get comfortable in their boots in the winter. We have professionally contributed to and worked alongside the Southland Stags, Southland Sharks, Southern Steel and Academy Southland. I have keen interest in innovative technology and am proud of the number of high level technologies and treatment methods we have invested in within our clinic to get the best outcomes for our patients. Outside of work I spend time running/biking and spending time with our family on the lake in summer and skiing in winter.

Why did you choose podiatry?

As a 16 year old I was seeing my second cousin Raweyn Phipps for medial shin and anterior knee pain and while she was assessing my feet she noticed a small callous under my fifth MPJ. She trimmed the callous back and although I was pretty stoked to get some orthotics and a referral to get some new shoes I remember vividly the feeling of having the callous trimmed back made me feel. She went beyond what I had expected, and the fact she was able to make me feel different and more comfortable from the treatment she provided me. That was the catalyst to start my journey to want to help others!

Q. Who has been your main inspiration in podiatry?
A. Bruce Baxter from PodiatryMed. He showed me how to take a good history and assessment, provided me with knowledge of how to assess an athlete and set a standard of sports medicine care to strive for.
Q. What is the most common condition you treat?
A. Plantar heel pain.
Q. What has been the most unusual condition you have seen?
A. An advanced level of suspected Charcot Marie Tooth in an 80 year old that had never seen anyone to find out the reason he walked funny. He walked in on the outsides of his feet and his 1st MPJ’s were hardly making ground contact. He thought that it was just sprained ankles that had caused his ankles/feet to lean out and was unaware it was anything more than neglect on his part.
Q. What is your favourite treatment that gets the best result?
A. PIT - Perineural Injection Therapy. Low dose glucose around nerves has an effect on pain and improves function. It is a fantastic treatment to use alongside other modalities to help with those plantar heel pain patients that are neurally driven, through to chronic achilles tendon pain, lateral ankle sprains and post surgery patients that are struggling to get back to full mobility.
Q. What advice would you give your newly qualified self?
A. Take a good history - ask as many questions as you need to get enough information to make an informed decision for a diagnosis. Your patient has all the answers for you, you just need to get them to talk about them.
Q. What are you most proud of in your career?
A. Learning off a number of experts in all areas of Sports Medicine and moving to Queenstown to open our clinic in 2009.
Q. What would people be surprised to know about you?
A. Completed in a number of half marathons and half ironmans and the famous Ironman Taupo 2016.
Q. What’s the funniest thing that has happened with a patient?
A. I asked a patient to go through to the consulting room, saying we’re going to be looking at your feet today so pop your things off (which I expected to be his socks and shoes) and I’ll be with you shortly. I came back into the room and he was sitting in the chair, with what I thought was some very very short shorts on. We went on to chat for a few mins and I started to realise that he probably wasn’t wearing any shorts…or underwear. When he went to stand up it was quite obvious that that was the case! He said “sorry I went to the gym earlier and my underwear was quite sweaty so you said to pop my things off so I’ve done just that.” Obviously I’m very comfortable and professional in situations that involve being discreet with assessment of patients.. After doing a few tests I said “hey look, I think we're done assessing your feet and legs so how about we pop your pants on and then get on with the rest of the session”.
Q. What can a new podiatrist do to connect with the profession?
A. Attend any local meetings, connect with senior practitioners in other clinics or sit in with practitioners that have a special interest in what you are wanting to become more proficient in. The Podiatry landscape will start to change rapidly over the next few years so we must be sure to keep up with that.
Q. Who’s the most famous person you have treated, you are allowed to mention?
A. We have had a couple of internationally famous people in the clinic from various backgrounds but the one that takes the cake was a guy from the USA who is quite famous in Western movies. The funny thing was that we saw him at short notice on a Sunday afternoon. We took our large 70kg mountain dog (Leonberger) into the clinic with us and as we walked out of the elevator he was standing there and due to his short height our dog greeted him with a surprise firm bump to his groin which knocked him well and truly off balance. Our dog isn’t any less polite with famous people than she was with the everyday person!