“sharing clinical gold”
Dear colleagues,

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated in our recent Firefly MSK Summit in Sligo, “the land of heart’s desire.”

The stars aligned and the force was with us (pun intended - kinematics & kinetics), as the two days unfolded into an opportunity to Learn, Share, Care and Play.

On behalf of all the Fireflies we were simply in awe of the connection created and the feedback has been truly humbling. It surpassed our expectations.

You and me became us. In that moment we shared a common humanity around MSK medicine and beyond with our Social Good session.

We shared clinical gold in rapid fire presentations and hosted unconference sessions. Then we had our activities, dancing and chatting into the wee hours. It was simply magical.

We're left thinking: "What next?"
“I am of Ireland,
And the holy land of Ireland,
And time runs on,” cried she.
“Come out of charity, come dance with me in Ireland.”
— WB Yeats.
See you soon,

Firefly Summit 2017

On September 29-30th, 2017, two hundred delegates including podiatrists, surgeons, students of podiatry, physiotherapists and two chiropractors traveled to the northwest coast of Ireland for the Firefly Summit. The summit was designed to share clinical evidence and strengthen relationships within the podiatric community and the motto for the weekend was Learn, Share, Care.

Rapid Fire Presentations

Rapidfire-style presentations have become a popular means of succinctly sharing ideas. The 20 Summit speakers (10 female and 10 male) were challenged to share their “clinical gold” in ten-minutes using ten slides. At the end of each Rapidfire session, speakers answered questions from the audience.

All of the Rapidfire sessions were recorded and will be available via the website.

Firefly also showcased state of the art conference software from Sonorplex that allowed delegates to note key moments of interest in the presentations for easy reference after the event.

Rapid Fire Session 1
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On Friday afternoon delegates filled the auditorium of The Model in preparation for the Summit’s initial five speakers to deliver their clinical gold. Emma Cowley, Podiatrist and lecturer from Plymouth University, opened the session giving her insight to Flow and Workflow in Clinical Problem Solving. Emma was followed by Glen Foley, who spoke on Rotational Deformity of The Lower Limb, Identification and Implications. Emily Ball of Active Step offered the audience strategies to grow their practices. Jon Palmer was joined on stage by his colleague Jack Boulter as they demonstrated the benefits of vascular screening, advising podiatrist to ‘think vascular’ and Hannah Watkinson finished the session promoting the adverse neural dynamic test, connecting back pain with the lower limb.

Rapid Fire Session 2
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MSK Podiatrist John Chadwick kicked off the second rapidfire session, outlining his clinical approach of using injection and orthotic therapy to treat TMTJ Arthritis. Physiotherapist Katherine Cook followed with insights into how she uses pressure plate analysis to measure leg length discrepancies. MSK Podiatrist Wayne Edwards looked at asymmetrical injury patterns linked to skeletal influences and drivers using observational video analysis. The delegates learned 80% of Plantar Fasciitis cases can be resolved in 12 months as Eileen Dolan discussed heel pain treatment using Cortisone, PRP or Botox A. The session was wrapped up with two podiatric surgeons taking the stage. First up was Claire O’Kane who outlined how best to inform the patient who suffers from Hallux Valgus and Trevor Prior brough the session to a close by discussing how he uses 3D gait analysis to aid his clinical decision making.

Rapid Fire Session 3
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Leading sport podiatrist and researcher Ian Griffiths began the third rapidfire session on Saturday morning with his work on running retraining for Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, Orthopedic podiatrist Ruth Mackie’s presentation focused on communicating podiatric pathomechanics to the patient. Nick Knight followed with his take on tendinopathy rehabilitation of Tibialis Posterior. MSK Specialist Nicola Blower presented on The Anatomy of a Tiptoe – Pursuing the “Rigid Lever”. Biomechaics podiatrist David Cashley from Dundee convinced the delegates how their patients would heal faster if their brains would stop lying to them.

Rapid Fire Session 4
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Sophie Roberts began the final rapidfire session presenting on her case study detailing drop foot and gait changes with a Richie Brace, orthoses and functional electronic stimulation. Justin Blake’s presentation focused on how patients stay, pay and refer for life. Firefly founder Martin Mc Geough had a see-saw maneuvered on stage as he demonstrated rotational equilibrium, joint moments & Kinematics/Kinetics. Mary Moore presented on low level laser and acupuncture for injury rehabilitation and the session was brought to a close by Surgeon Suzy Speirs who outlined how loading patterns result in 2nd MTPJ overload.

Panel Discussion: The Root Model

A panel discussion brought Friday’s educational offering to a close. Leading podiatrists from surgical, academic and clinical backgrounds took to the stage to discuss the question; when we consider the future of podiatry as a growing profession, why does the Root Model matter?

A live link to California allowed former student of Mertin Root, Dr. Doug Richie to join the six other panelists; Emma Cowley, Nicola Blower, Hannah Watkinson, Ian Griffiths and Trevor Prior to discuss the Root Model, its historical influence and how Podiatric education may evolve into the future making all of us smarter.

Unconference Sessions

At the Firefly Summit innovative thinking was expressed in unique ways. It re-imagined the traditional conference format. The event introduced delegates to the idea of an unconference, a participant-driven format, designed to enable the rapid exchange of information and ideas– and it was a first for everyone that attended!

The unconference format provides a space for conversations that matter, fosters peer-to-peer learning and the development of collaborative relationships. Using a topic wall, the content for the unconference sessions was proposed and provided by the Summit delegates .

Delegates deep in discussion during the unconference!

Twelve brave hosts stepped forward to convene dialogues on a broad range of topics.

Building Community

The Summit’s packed two day agenda ensured the delegates had plenty of opportunity to network, reconnect with old friends and meet some new ones. Following the panel discussion on Friday evening, delegates dined in the Glasshouse Hotel. After dinner, more intimate groups were led by Firefly staff to some of Sligo’s most loved watering holes before descending on 5th on Teeling to dance the night away!

In-keeping with one of the Summit’s goals of breaking down barriers and providing opportunities to make new contacts, delegates were sent into the wilds of the northwest of Ireland to take part in a number of adventure activities.

Knocknarea Hike

The most popular activity saw 50 delegates hike up the iconic Knocknarea mountain. The perfect weather conditions allowed for spectacular views of Sligo and Sligo Bay. As the delegates descended Knocknarea they were met with some culinary treats from Aishling of WB’s Coffee House. It didn’t take long for the Irish Coffees and smoked salmon on brown bread to be devoured by the hungry hikers.

Stand Up Paddleboarding

The second largest group of delegates took to the waters of the Garavouge River and Lough Gill for a Stand Up Paddle Boarding session. The conditions on the river were perfect, very little wind lent itself to an idyllic paddle.


The third most popular activity saw delegates hit the waves of Strandhill beach for a surf session. Hitting the surf helped shake off the cobwebs and loosen the joints after a morning of sitting in conference.

Seaweed Baths

or those who didn’t fancy clambering up a mountain or getting tossed about in the white water, there was a chance to relax and recharge with a seaweed bath at Voya on the promenade at Strandhill


For some, a visit to Sligo is incomplete without playing golf. Sligo boasts a number of leading links golf courses. A group of Summit podiatrists took a trip out to County Sligo Golf Club at Rosses Point to play at the home of the West of Ireland Championship and take in the breathtaking views.

There is no better way to build community that to break bread together. Sligo is a hub for culinary excellence and café culture is booming in the town. The prevalence of innovative menus is putting the region on the map as a destination for foodies and the event caterers — Shells Cafe, Sweet Beat and Kate's Kitchen — wowed the delegates with their mouthwatering offerings across the weekend.

Social Good Sessions

Part of Firefly’s mission is to give back within the community - both locally and internationally. The Social Good sessions provided an opportunity for Firefly to promote some of the amazing projects the company contributes to when they are not manufacturing and distributing foot orthoses!

Big wave surfer Easkey Britton explored the power of surfing as a creative medium for cross-cultural connection and women’s empowerment in places such as Iran. As a student of podiatry, Sarah O’Connell initiated foot health clinics in Tanzania. Saskia Rysenbry spoke about her experience building and running a income-generation cafe in South India as a means to support marginalised and disadvantaged groups of girls, women and elderly and empower the local community.

Firefly capitalised on the positive vibes following the Social Good Session and raffled off a MESI automated ankle brachial pressure indexing diagnostic device to raise donations for these fantastic projects. The raffle raised €1681 in total and will be split 3 ways between each of the projects. A massive thank you to all who contributed and well done to Angela McAnearney from Galway whose name was pulled from the hat to win the prize!

What the Delegates Thought

Based on the incredible feedback received following the event, we’re confident the Firefly Summit has achieved it’s goal of building and strengthening our community as we continue to strive for clinical excellence to improve our patient’s outcomes.

Summit 2020

The follow-up to the “game changing” podiatry conference is back! To learn more and get first access visit the link below:

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