It was back in 1969 when I returned to Cyprus from my studies in London Foot Hospital. At the very young age of 21 I started setting up my first clinic in central Nicosia, Makarios III Avenue. At that time it was difficult for a working woman to be recognized, let alone the “peculiarity” of the profession in those times. People were completely unaware of the profession, including those in the medical sector. The effort I had to put in the work was tremendous and the difficulties were many at the time. The medical profession was very negative and generally man regulated. The profession is not included in the education system of Greece and this was and still is a major obstacle for the evolution of the profession.
Nevertheless, I have worked hard and informed to the possible extent the medical world regarding the scope of practice of podiatry (chiropody at the time). I have offered my services to the British Military Bases and I have treated patients in old people’s homes and other institutions for years. I have made contacts with the various patients’ associations at the time.
By 1980, I have moved to a different building in Chitron street, in central Nicosia. The place was much bigger and it also had space for a potential second podiatrist.
In 1994 my daughter Diamanto came from her studies as a podiatrist from University of Brighton and joined me. The work evolved in many directions since she came back.
I grew up with 'feet' and helped my mother at her clinic all along since my childhood. Firstly from just causing trouble with patients, to help later on with the booking of the appointments. I also introduced computers and managed to make files for the patients before I went for my studies in the U.K at the University of Brighton. In 1994, after I graduated, I came back to Cyprus to become a podiatrist. I had the vision that I will change the 'foot world' in Cyprus. Podiatry in Cyprus has been struggling for years and my mother Lenia, being the first podiatrist, had to put up with a lot at the beginning. I must say it has changed a lot but still has a long way to go. Podiatry in Cyprus and also podiatry around the world has a long way to go.
Casting was something new and even though I hesitated in the beginning, my mother was insisting that I learn all the new things. We started getting very good feedback from patients. Footwear compromises were really a very hard job at the beginning, and it still is but we got used to it. We have been educating people about footwear for many years. Podiatrists were less than five in Cyprus at the time. Gradually new pupils started getting interested. Nearly all of them passed by our clinic before going for their studies. One of those pupils was Despina, the podiatrist that joined us in 2007 after graduating from the University of Southampton.
In 1999 the service of our clinic grew strong from the technology point of view. Firstly, with pressure distribution systems and then with implementing the technology of manufacturing with Cad CAM machines. The custom made orthotics got stronger in Cyprus ever since. Foot forward has set high standards and is also assisting, via our laboratories, other podiatrists that are using the same technology.
In the meantime in 2003 a new project had begun. You can see more details of this project on www.podiatry.org.cy
. I have been leading this organization as a president from the beginning until today. In 2004 we moved to our new premises that allowed us to provide much better service to our patients, with a wide selection of footwear, new laboratories and new machinery. We are three podiatrists and three people staff. We are still growing as a team.
Parallel to my work, I have continued my Masters degree and since then I have been presenting my own work in many international Conferences. Mainly work with Diabetic foot. I have been appointed also as the Cyprus representative of the International Working Group for the Diabetic foot and I am also the treasurer of the International Federation of Podiatrists, www.fipnet.org .
After graduating from high school I decided to study at the University of Southampton at the School of Health Professions and Rehabilitation Sciences to become a Podiatrist. After the completion of the course I returned to Cyprus to work as a podiatrist and I joined the Foot Forward team in November 2007. This was a good opportunity as it gave me the chance to work as part of a team and to share ideas with my fellow colleagues.
The experience gained by working with the Foot Forward team has been more than what was anticipated. I therefore have the option of exploring other fields of Podiatry and increasing my knowledge in various fields.
In June 2005 I graduated from the G.C. School of Careers. While I was in high school I was involved in many extracurricular activities, such as, first aid, lifeguarding, music and futsal clubs.
At my free time, I took guitar lessons for 6 years and played football for 3 Cyprus teams, Ethnikos Assias, Heracles Gerolakou and C.A.S.A where I was captain of the team for 2 years. Apart from that, at the age of 9, I joined scouts and particular the 82nd scouts group of Agion Omologiton area in Nicosia and I am a member until today and the vice-chief for scouts under 11 years old. In August 2007 I completed my national service with the degree of Lieutenant. Part of my responsibilities was the guarding of Archbishop Makario's III grave at Throni.
After graduating from high school I decided to become a Podiatrist. So I went to study at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff. The last couple of months I've been working for Foot-Forward, the biggest podiatric centre in Cyprus, which will give me the ability to improve my professional skills and meet my visions as a podiatrist. These include promotion of health, patient education and podiatric foot care on diabetes as well as a good multidisciplinary approach.
Evolution of Foot Forward