The Foot Health Clinic in Lake Road, Douglas, has launched a new Podplan for regular users of its podiatry service. Here WWW editor Lottie Ray speaks to podiatrist Sarah Andrews to find out just how important it is to look after your feet.
THE feet are probably the most neglected part of our body.
And yet they are what ground us, what keep us standing strong.
A foot problem can really leave us hobbling in agony, affecting every area of our daily life. So it is important to keep them in good health. And the best way to do this is to visit a podiatrist regularly.
Based at the Foot Health Clinic in Lake Road, Douglas, Sarah Andrews explained: ‘A podiatrist is a foot healthcare professional who aims to improve the mobility, independence and quality of life for their patients.
‘We assess, diagnose and treat people with problems of the feet, ankles and lower limbs.
‘This can include providing essential foot care for people including the elderly or disabled who are unable to reach their own feet or ladies wearing high heels daily; providing vascular and neurological assessments or wound management for patients with diabetes with an ulcer under their foot. We perform nail surgery using a local anaesthetic, most commonly for ingrown toenails. We also offer palliative care to people such as those with rheumatoid arthritis with severe pains in their feet and finding wearing shoes difficult and referrals for any other abnormalities, such as dermatology.’
Sarah graduated from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland in May 2011 with a Bsc Podiatry Hons. She has been working in the island for about 18 months.
So what attracted her to working with feet?
‘I have always enjoyed helping people and working within a team,’ she said, ‘When looking at courses in school I soon realised this was a major part of the role of a health professional.
‘Podiatry isn’t just cutting nails, there is so much more to it which I find intriguing. I like not knowing what is going to come through the door everyday, it makes it a really interesting and challenging job.’
She explained: ‘Some of the most common complaints we can treat are day-to-day foot problems including toenail problems such as thickened, fungal or ingrown toenails; corns and calluses; verrucae; athlete’s foot; smelly feet and dry and cracked heels.’
At the Foot Health Clinic every patient starts with an initial consultation which takes 45 minutes. This can be followed by 30 minute-long routine foot treatments.
Sarah said: ‘Patients are brought in to the podiatry room where they relax their feet in a warm foot bath. Once on the clinical chair vascular and neurological assessments are carried out.
‘During a treatment we usually cut your toenails, remove any hard skin and check your feet for other minor problems such as corns, calluses or verrucae. Normally, any minor problems that are picked up can be treated on the spot.
‘It’s usually a painless experience and most of the time, even pleasant! A gentle foot massage completes the treatment and verbal advice is given when required.
‘On average patients return every six to seven weeks, however this is specific to the person.’
So why is it beneficial to have regular podiatry appointments?
‘Routine podiatry treatments are a preventative way of keeping healthy, non-troublesome feet,’ concluded Sarah, ‘Regular checks of your vascular and neurological systems, especially if you are diabetic or have arthritis, avoid any future associated problems due to loss of sensation or blood supply.
Regular treatments also allow us keep on top of recurrent problems such as corns, callus and ingrown toenails. And we also get the chance to treat any new problems before they become more serious.’
Lisa Perrie runs the clinic with her husband Robin. She said: ’We are really pushing the podiatry at the moment.
‘We have a new room so we’re going to be able to offer twice as many sessions now. And we have another podiatrist joining the practice which means we will have four in total.
‘We’re also going to offer home visits which is something we haven’t ventured into before. We have some clients who find it very difficult to get out of the house.’
She believes there is increasing demand for podiatry treatments because the service at the hospital is becoming less accessible to people.
In the new year, the clinic launched its Podplan which starts at £4.81 per week.
‘It’s like a membership to the clinic,’ explained Lisa, ‘We think it’s really good as it allows patients to spread the cost of their podiatry treatments. They pay monthly for it and as a reward for joining the plan they are saving about £5 each time they have a session regardless of how often they come in.’
The clinic is open Tuesday to Saturday with podiatry sessions available during the day and evenings.
Members of the plan can also get the clinic’s beauty, nail and facial treatments and retail items at discounted prices.
For more information contact the clinic on 620712, email email@example.com or visit www.fhc.co.im