What is podiatry? … And why might I need it?
Podiatry is one of the allied health professions, which specialises in the diagnosis and management of both lower limb and foot conditions. The foot is a complex structure, it contains 26 bones, 33 joints, more than 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments, and a whopping 250,000 sweat glands. The foot also has a huge job to do, in one lifetime we will walk the equivalent of four times around the equator of the earth, that’s a collosal amount of work for such a small body part. At Physio Plus we believe in the philosophy that hard working feet deserve to be looked after and that’s what Podiatrists are trained to do.
Podiatrists are experts in footcare and advice. With proper detection, intervention and care most feet and ankle problems can be lessened or prevented.
Treatments available at Physio Plus
- Routine care: The management of skin and nail conditions; callus and corns, troublesome thickened, fungal or ingrowing nails, verrucae treatment and dermatology skin issues.
- Education; We will strive to increase your understanding of your foot condition or injuries and educate you on how you can look after your feet and body.
- Biomechanics: Lower limb assessment and gait analysis involving the treatment of a range of foot conditions (soft tissue and structural) including but not limited to flat feet, excessive pronation, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, heel pain, ankle pain, knee pain, tendonitis, tight calves, high arched feet, claw toes, and Morton’s neuroma.
- High risk: Conservative and corrective care provided to individuals with high risk medical conditions such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, including foot ulcer management.
- Nail surgery: Commonly associated with ingrown toenails when conservative care has been unsuccessful. Either a partial or total surgical removal of the ingrown nail will be performed under a local anaesthetic.
- Footwear advice: Footwear has a huge influence and is renowned for being a contributing factor towards many foot ailments. Professional advice is offered to every patient seeking podiatric treatment in an attempt to eradicate foot and or lower limb pain.
- Home visits: home visits are available for those physically unable to attend the clinic for routine foot treatments when within a 6 mile radius.
Foot pain and injury can be debilitating, and in some cases, can cause discomfort elsewhere in the body; commonly affecting the ankles, knees, hips and occasionally the lower back. A Biomechanical assessment is used to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal pain within the lower limb. This type of assessment focuses on the body as a whole, assessing the relationship between different joints and structures, of the lower limb, as we move. This type of assessment is vital at recognising the cause of the lower limb injury or pain. By understanding the cause, a detailed treatment plan can be constructed.
Orthotics work by applying different pressures to the foot to change the mechanical function of the body from the ground up. At Physio Plus we use three different types of orthotic devices, to ensure our patients receive gold standard care for their individual needs;
Orthotics – we work with 3 different companies to provide our clients with a choice of orthotics to meet individual affordability and corrective prescription needs
Superfeet: nonprescriptive off the shelf quality orthotic
These areas very good standard off-the-shelf orthotic, that can suit a variety of people with less severe foot conditions. including plantar fasciitis and the mild overpronated foot.
Superfeet insoles feature a structured heel cup that cradle the soft tissue under the heel allowing maximise shock absorbing and a durable 4 degree arch support to stabilise the rear foot. There are different insoles to suit different usage, for runners the cooper insoles have a memory foam layer for increase cushioning, black are more low profile for casual shoes, Superfeet also have a range of insulated insoles for ski boots and slightly raised heel for ice hockey boots.
Formorthotics: customisable off the shelf orthotic
Formorthotics are a prefabricated orthotic which are adjustable according patients’ needs with additional wedges. Formorthotcis were created 35years ago by a Podiatrist and Sports Physician from New Zealand. They are a tried and tested product which are loved and worn by many professional athletes. These are an ideal option for; children who outgrow shoes very quickly, and acute injuries that need offloaded in the short term and for extra support during sporting activities.
“I’m delighted with my Formthotics! Having suffered with long term knee pain these insoles have made a huge difference in reducing my pain at work and doing leisure activities. A big “thank you” to Cara for the physio sessions and Caroline for podiatry. The multi-disciplinary team has been a massive bonus for me.” Anne D
Cast Prescription Orthotic
For the more complex foot issues Caroline is able to cast and prescribe custom orthotics. These offer both control and offloading were needed.
A custom functional orthotic is used to help control and correct motion through the foot and subsequently the lower limb, to offload foot structures and increase shock absorption. This type of device is very successful at treating mechanical problems such as; tendonitis, heel pain, knee pain and shin splints.
An accommodative orthotic is used widely to offload areas of high pressure on the high-risk foot to prevent ulcerations and discomfort. Patients with Diabetes or Rheumatoid arthritis find these devices incredibly beneficial.
High risk Feet and Podiatry Role
Podiatrists are able to care for individuals with specific foot pain, or others who experience secondary referred pain, which also can be associated with a range of medical conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and also neurological disease. With intervention and the right care most feet and ankle problems can be lessened or prevented.
Podiatrists play a key role in helping to successfully manage high- risk patients like diabetics. By 2025 it is estimated that 5 million people in the UK will have diabetes. Furthermore, out of that 5million, 10% of those will suffer from a foot ulcer in their lifetime. A foot ulcer is a localised injury to the skin and/or underlying tissue, they can result in infection, systemic illness, amputation and even death. Podiatrists are highly skilled at spotting the early signs of skin injury and preventing foot-related complications. Interventions by Podiatrists have lowered the risk of amputation by 31%.
Nail surgery is an effective and permanent form of treatment to resolve nails that have constantly been troublesome. It is an effective way of treating nails that are either ingrown or thick due to fungal infections. Nail surgery will be considered a viable option when all conservative treatment has failed.
Nail surgery is a procedure that will consist of three different appointments. The first appointment is 30 mins long and will involve the podiatrist examining the nail to make sure that nail surgery is the most appropriate form of treatment. Once it has been concluded that nail surgery is suitable, the podiatrist will then take a thorough medical history and determine whether the patient is able to have the procedure carried out. A discussion will be undertaken between the podiatrist and patient to come up with the most suitable procedure plan and make a decision to whether a full nail removal or a partial nail removal is most suitable under the circumstances. Information will be given to the patient about what they can and cannot do the day of the surgery.
The next appointment will be the day of the procedure. It will be 60 minutes long but the procedure itself will take 10 minutes. Local anaesthetic will be delivered into the affected toe and the sensation of the toe will be tested to make sure the area is numb. Once both the practitioner and patient are both happy the area is numb then the procedure can be completed. Once the nail has been removed the area will have a sterile dressing applied. The patient will then remain in the room for a further 10 minutes to make sure there is no reaction with the anaesthetic and minimise the chance of a faint.
After this there will be a third appointment made which will involve removing the dressing and inspecting the area. Once this has been completed the podiatrist will then redress the area and this appointment will last 15 minutes. Once the natural healing process has been completed, this will eliminate any previous pain and discomfort experienced beforehand.