You’ll find that during the winter, your feet need a little more care to look and feel their best. Taking a little time out to relax and pamper them at home will help to keep them in tip-top shape without a pricey visit to a spa or salon. Here are four easy, affordable methods of treating your feet that you can enjoy all winter long – and throughout the year too!
Peppermint Foot Scrub
A good foot scrub can help fight off the dry patches that are prone to occurring during the winter months. But why not keep things simple and make your own?
Simply whisk together some granulated sugar, natural oil (such as coconut, olive or almond) and baking soda for a scrub that’s effective yet easy to make. Add some peppermint extract or oil for a great scent to keep your feet smelling fresh.
A homemade salve can help to reduce discomfort caused by cracked heels and skin. A simple recipe for salve can be made from beeswax, coconut or olive oil and an essential oil of your choice for a pleasantly scented solution that’ll soothe damaged areas. Simply melt the ingredients together and pour the mixture into a jar or tin to cool.
Relaxing Foot Soak
After a long day, it can feel incredible to soak your feet in warm water, especially if the solution has soothing properties too. Fill a large bowl with water and add sea salt, Epsom salt, baking soda and a few drops of your favourite essential oils for a stress relieving combination that’ll soothe your feet, whilst the Epsom salts help to detox your feet by removing toxins!
After keeping your feet warm and dry in thick socks and winter boots, you may find your feet need a little refreshment once you take them off. A deodorising mist will help relax your feet as well as freshening them up. Mix eucalyptus and tea tree essential oils with water in a spray bottle for a quick, easy solution for tired feet.
Whether you try out a number of DIY lotions and potions or simply head off for a professional pedicure treatment, taking good care of your feet is essential. And remember, no matter how much love you give your feet, a trip to a podiatrist is always the best option if you’re experiencing aches and pains.
Rwanda is a small ambitious country known as the land of 1000 hills with a population around 12 million and a rapidly growing economy. It has rolling hills for as far as you can see, a rain forest, gorillas and volcanoes, making for quite the site to any visitor. However, it is also known for the 1994 genocide in which over 1 million people were killed in 100 days across the country.
This tragic event has led to some very big health issues, which the country still faces, but thanks to a range of donor funding and strong political leadership, the country is on its way to quickly becoming a middle-income country.
As countries shift from low incomes to middle income economies, health issues become complex, where the country can face a mix of communicable disease (ie. malaria, HIV, TB) and the introduction of non-communicable disease (ie. diabetes, high BP, cholesterol) with changes in lifestyles.
Now you are probably wondering what this has to do with podiatry?
Well, as clinicians we play a role in the overall wellbeing of every patient that walks through our door for treatment and we become advocates for a number public health issues. While our specialist area is focused on the foot and ankle, an understanding of the bodily systems is imperative for understanding the impacts on the lower limb. This allows us to transition from clinical practice to other work streams such as health policy, public health programmes, service management and research.
As a podiatrist with a public health background, the increase of diabetes and chronic conditions in developing nations has become of personal interest. In many of these countries, diabetes is poorly understood and without proper prevention and care, can lead to a large economic burdens on the healthcare system. In 2012, the UK alone spent a whopping £639 million on foot ulcers and £662 on lower limb amputations, so the prevention and monitoring of these conditions is of paramount importance in the developing world.
The quality of life for individuals with diabetes is also drastically affected if not controlled, impacting mobility, footwear and overall lifestyle. Additionally, chronic ulceration and limb amputation, creates an increases risk (approximately 80%) of mortality within the first 5 years post amputation.
How did all this lead me to Africa, I hear you say?
In April of 2016, I (sadly) departed from the Betafeet clinic to implement an mhealth project in Rwanda in partnership with the Ministry of Health. This project, allows patients across the country to speak with a doctor and receive a prescription via SMS through their mobile phone, reducing the travel time, wait time and expense of receiving care from one of the local physical hospitals. The system is also working on monitoring both communicable and non-communicable disease using artificial intelligence, engaging patients to take ownership of their health.
This could be a major milestone for a country with stretched resources. To put things into perspective, over 80% of the population lives in remote areas of the country and works in the ‘in-formal’ sector as subsistence farmers with an average income of 2-3 dollars per day, which is not very much. To receive care, a patient may travel over an hour to reach their nearest hospital where a doctor is present and then wait anywhere from a few hours to a few days to receive the care they need. However almost 80% of the population already has a mobile phone.
Appropriate access to clinical care is a large part of the prevention and management of many conditions and undertaking this project has been a great experience. As a clinician, I have had the opportunity to utilise my knowledge to develop operational pathways and input into the technology development to shape the way patients receive their care.
It is with
this experience I now look to move on to my next adventure focusing on Aboriginals
and the utilisation of technology in the prevention of major non communicable
disease such as diabetes.
Final comment from Reggie Simpson and Betafeet Podiatry
We wish Andre the very best in his future and thank him for this interesting blog account. We look forward to his next blog focused on his work with the Aboriginal population.