Most of us know podiatry is connected to our feet. But have you considered how your feet are connected to your overall physical and mental wellbeing?
Podiatrists help you take care of your feet to improve overall wellbeing and mobility. They assist with a range of conditions such as ingrown toenails, corns, callouses, bunions, skin fissures, pressure lesions and arthritis. Also, they help treat ulcers and wounds related to diabetes or peripheral vascular disease, which is decreasing circulation.
integratedliving Podiatrist Jo said many senior people are not as able to safely tend to their own footcare. “Keeping clients as stable and as mobile as possible, on pain-free feet and in sensible supportive footwear, while following care plans from other clinicians, means clients can maintain their independence and remain able and social as long as possible,” Jo said.
“That has an immeasurable effect on the client’s mental and emotional wellbeing, and not just their physical health,” Jo said.
We took the opportunity to ask Jo some more questions about podiatry and how it supports the individual from their toes to their head. Here is what she had to say.
What are some of the most common issues podiatrists address with our clients?
In the main, we see nail pathologies such as in-growing or involuted nails with associated pressure and inflammation. Also corns, callous, skin fissures and pressure lesions. In higher risk clients, we deal with diabetic ulcers and wounds or breakdowns associated with peripheral vascular disease.
We also see clients with foot deformities such as bunions and clawed toes that lead to pressure and pain. We deal with a lot of generalised arthritic foot pain or over-use strain and pain from plantar fasciitis.
A lot of people who are getting more senior and experiencing decreasing mobility are just not able, or not as able as they might have been, to safely tend to their own footcare.
So, we have clients who have quite good feet generally, but are unable to tend to their own nails or other footcare.
We also provide footwear advice and are called upon to recommend footwear and review it as part of foot health. This also decreases the risk of the client falling, particularly in their home.
Do you find seniors tend to neglect their feet due to mobility issues?
Our clients don’t necessarily neglect their feet, but many struggle just with the difficulties of bending, reaching, or even seeing what’s going on with their feet. They can rely on regular visits from our podiatrists to prevent anything going wrong and to give them one less thing to worry about.
How important is foot health to their overall physical health?
Foot health is very important to a person’s general health. As mentioned, the risk of infection from ingrown nails, ulcers, cuts and abrasions and fungal infections like tinea, can all be detrimental to the client systemically if not picked up or if left untreated. Keeping people, especially those senior in age, as stable and as mobile as possible on pain-free feet and in sensible and supportive footwear, can benefit their health significantly. Doing so, while following care plans put in place by other clinicians, means that our clients can maintain their independence and remain physically able and social as long as possible. This has an immeasurable effect on a person’s mental wellbeing, not just their physical health.
We also find with our ongoing visits, we come to know our clients well and they often respond positively to this familiarity. They will trust us with discussions they otherwise might not be comfortable to have. We are often able to link their needs to another service that will be of further benefit to them through advice and encouragement.
Are many of the foot health issues you tend to relate to diabetes?
Yes, diabetic clients tend to suffer from an increased risk of circulatory and particularly neurological problems. As a result, they are at a higher risk of associated infections. This can then be of greater intensity than in non-diabetic clients and can take longer to resolve, leaving them at much higher risk of complications. We see and assess diabetics regularly and complete diabetic tests and assessments, often shared with their General Practitioner as part of a whole care-management package.
Podiatrists are well versed in diabetic complications, and not just of the lower limbs. Our podiatrists are well equipped to provide advice and to report and issues to other disciplines if further assistance is needed. They are a key member of the diabetic care team.
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