Whilst lockdown has prompted challenges for many small Kendal-based businesses, one innovative Lake District organisation has positively flourished. Z.W. Foot and Ankle, founded by leading Podiatrist and businesswoman, Zoe Wilson, opened in 2017, and has grown steadily through client referral. Deemed an ‘essential service’, it has remained open throughout the Covid-19 pandemic providing podiatry care, orthotics and minor surgery.
“This has been one of the busiest periods for us since opening,” explains Zoe, “and I believe it’s due to people putting their health first. Lockdown has enabled a shift in focus for many, and a rebalancing of priorities. Personal appointments that might otherwise have been delayed, because of a job for instance, have been possible for those who haven’t been able to work in the usual way. I’m delighted that clients are putting foot health first; it’s so important.”
Zoe, who graduated with a Podiatry Degree from the University of Salford in 2015 and completed a Master’s in Theory of Podiatric Surgery in 2019 has had a passion for all things ‘foot related’ since a young child when problems with her own feet kick-started an interest that would later become a successful career.
“My journey into the profession started with my own personal ‘pain’,” Zoe explains. “As a child, I visited numerous podiatrists, before being inspired by a Yorkshire-based specialist whose use of Custom-Made Orthoses (insoles) solved my problems. After that, I was hooked!”
The fascination with feet is also genetic, with her parents owning outdoor shops selling walking boots and shoes. By asking customers to walk up and down the stores to establish what kind of shoe or boot would suit their foot shape and activity level, Zoe’s interest in foot mechanics and anatomy developed.
“I knew helping people through podiatry would bring me reward and joy; it has!” says Zoe, who describes her work as human interaction combined with ‘solving a problem’. She thinks of herself much like an engineer and credits her Master’s with enabling her to apply practical learning with theory-based study.
“I was taught the importance of a thorough history, assessment and treatment plan, which may or may not progress to the last resort of surgical management,” she says.
Launching Z.W. Foot & Ankle three years ago was a huge step, but Zoe has worked tirelessly to now offer a ‘one stop shop’ of services, from routine care to custom orthoses, braces, shockwave therapy, steroid injection therapy, minor surgery and footwear. Knowledge, education and a patient-centric approach has seen her become one the region’s most successful specialists, attending on-going conferences and industry events to ensure she remains one step ahead.
And in addition to running a successful business, Zoe is continually innovating. She has developed a new eco-friendly skincare range which is a natural alternative to chemically based footcare, has been made in the UK and is a sustainable approach to foot products. In the industry, it is unique.
“There has never been a better time to be creative, innovative and think ‘outside the box’!” says Zoe. “I look forward to launching my new skincare range soon and welcoming even more patients to Z.W. Footcare in the months ahead.”