He's the man behind our world patented insole and has been with our brand since day one; our very own orthopedic expert Peter Hedström. Here he shares his journey from working with the world's top athletes to working with developing high heels to prevent pain and injury in women. Find out where his passion for treating the human body started, as well as how he plans to bring Stinaa.J to all the women of the world.
So Peter, how did you end up at Stinaa.J after many years of working as an orthopedic technician in other companies?
Oh, it was all very simple. I was approached by Stinaa.J’s founder Stina Andersson, about whether it was possible to design a high heel which decreases the risk of pain and injury in women’s feet as well as the rest of the body. I immediately jumped on board. Even though I felt it would be a huge challenge, it was impossible to say no to Stina’s enthusiasm and willpower towards solving this problem for herself and for all women in the world.
Tell us about your background!
When I was younger, I was an athlete, but like many others I was injured and wrongly treated by an orthopedic technician. That’s when I first started thinking about how I would like to someday be able to treat people in a different, more effective way. At first, I thought I’d be a sports medicine doctor, but due to my own past experience I ended up wanting to become an orthopedic technician. I chose to focus on sports injuries both because of my connection to it, but also due to the fact that athletes are dependent on short rehabilitation times. The demand on an athlete to bounce back quickly from injury and perform as well afterwards was something that I felt drawn to facilitating. And that is what I spent my years as an orthopedic technician focusing on, until I meet Stina.
How did feet become a passion for you?
Haha, my passion is not limited to feet… My passion is more about human movement and biomechanics. I’m really interested in the body as a whole, where the function of the feet is often the cause of different problems showing up in the legs, hips or back. That’s why the feet are such an important part of my job.
You are both an entrepreneur and an orthopedic technician at heart. It seems like an unusual combination, or is it not?
Maybe I wasn’t allowed to play enough with Lego as a child? I guess I like to see things grow. During the 90s, my colleagues and I started our clinics with focus on orthopedic technology, but I’ve since then had my entrepreneurial eyes on new and exciting ways of using my knowledge and experience. I am definitely a huge nerd when it comes to my work, but I want to find ways of using that as an entrepreneur.
Which events in your life would you say have had the greatest impact on your career?
The first is the injury I acquired in my youth, which brought me onto this path in the first place. More than that, it’s probably the years I spent on working with elite athletes and their various injuries. I got to travel the world helping athletes with their careers, which required a lot of me as an orthopedic technician. It was all about treating specific injuries within different sports, thinking widely, looking for new solutions for unique sports and their different problem areas.
During this period, I contacted NASA to look for new alternative ways. After visiting them I realized that the materials used for astronauts in space work extremely well for the human body under pressure. This knowledge combined with my experience of how bodies look in different countries, is how I grew within my job. Especially when treating a wider range of people, with other injuries than from sports. My 30 years of knowledge is what has been used to create the world patented insoles that Stinaa.J uses in its shoes.
What would you say is the greatest risk you have taken during your career and what made you dare to take the decision?
The biggest risk is always treating people who depend on their bodies in their careers, like professional athletes. Even though I trust my knowledge and feel confident in my decisions, it’s always associated with a risk. I just can’t risk wrongly treating a patient whose livelihood is based on the performance of their body, with a lot of pressure on getting back quickly after injury. There’s a lot of money invested in their bodies.
What parts of your job are you most passionate about?
Being able to treat as many people as possible in an effective way is my passion, which is why I am so excited about solutions like the Stinaa.J shoe. Catering to the women of the world who want to wear high heels without pain and injury is a truly effective way of treating a specific group of clients proactively. I am a big advocate of cushioning in shoes, due to the compact flooring we’re walking on now.
What is your goal for Stinaa.J?
The vision for Stinaa.J is of course giving women the opportunity to wear beautiful high heels without pain or other problems. Our shoes have been received extremely well in Sweden and we are confident in bringing our shoes to more women in more countries. I believe our world patented products are ready to face the world!