As podiatrists we are classed as keyworkers as we are frontline healthcare delivering professional medical treatments.
During Covid-19 our role is to keep patients with foot problems away from GPs, A and E and particularly from occupying hospital beds, as well as protecting vulnerable people from the potentially risky hospital environment.
This stands for both private and NHS podiatrists.
Covid-19 has altered the way we all work. At the moment we are no longer able to offer routine treatments, only those who are at high risk of infection, ulceration, very painful conditions and keyworkers with foot problems. All patients are triaged over the phone and appropriate advice/treatment provided.
Here are a few tips to keep our foot health good in these difficult and unprecedented times.
1 Make sure your feet are washed regularly with soap especially between the toes and making sure the foot is completely dry. Athletes foot, cracks and even soft corns can be caused by the feet not being dried properly.
2 Change socks daily choosing hosiery with maximum natural fibre such as wool or cotton.
3 Try to avoid wearing the same footwear everyday to allow the perspiration to dry thoroughly, particularly if you are prone to sweaty feet.
4 Moisturising if your skin is dry is very important, but never in-between the toes.
This will make your skin less prone to cracks which could be a potential risk of infection.
5 Hard skin and corns can be reduced by using a foot file or pumice and applying moisturiser-the higher the percentage of urea in a cream the better the moisturising properties.
6 Toenail cutting is very important. Generally, you need to cut straight across without digging or cutting down the sides. Using a nail file regularly is the easiest way as little damage can be done with this!
Footwear whilst exercising
Many people during this lockdown period are taking exercise outside both to improve their physical welfare but also their mental well-being whether this be walking or running.
For foot health it is essential to wear the appropriate footwear for the task and terrain.
So please make sure your trainer or walking shoe is adequately supportive, preferably laced and has plenty of shock absorption in the sole and is not too flexible.
Lack of support and shock absorption can lead to symptoms ranging from heel pain, pain/burning in the ball of the foot, arch pain, ankle and knee pain and possible back problems.
For those who are less mobile it is still important to keep feet and legs in good trim.
1 Never wear ‘sloppy’ unsupportive slippers all day. Always wear a house shoe with a proper heel counter, firm sole with cushioning and preferably some kind of fastening to keep the foot in good position. There are so many falls in the home due to inadequate or no footwear.
2 When sitting – sit with feet up. This helps the circulation and reduces foot and leg swelling.
3 Foot and leg exercises- circling the feet at the ankle, first one way and then the next.
-pointing your toes forward and then pulling them back at the ankle
-picking up a small towel whilst sitting with you heel in contact with the floor
4 Roll a small round object -a golf ball or a tin of beans up and down the arch -this is exercising the plantar fascia.
I hope you find these tips useful.
Keep safe, keep well.
Remember you only get one pair of feet, so if in doubt shout – you’ll never get another pair!!