A podiatrist is an expert when it comes to the health of your feet, especially if you’re suffering from pain. Whether it’s down to a chronic medical condition or simply your everyday circumstances such as poorly fitted shoes, a podiatrist can help you deal with the symptoms and improve your comfort. Read on to discover 10 reasons to book an appointment:
You’ve started a new fitness regime
If you’re going to be running regularly to improve your health, it’s also important to care for the health of your feet. A podiatrist can help you avoid potential problems such as aches or shin splints, as well as recommending the best type of running shoe for your feet.
You’re beginning to feel foot or ankle pain
There are plenty of reasons that could be leading to pain in your feet or ankles, but rather than ignoring the problem, head to a podiatrist. They’ll be able to evaluate your situation and advise on the best treatment.
You’re suffering from diabetes
Those with diabetes are at higher risk of developing foot problems, some of which can be serious. Sufferers of diabetes should visit a podiatrist annually to significantly lower their risk of amputation later in life.
You’re experiencing a heel spur
Heel spurs are bone growths that may cause a great deal of pain. A podiatrist will perform an exam of the feet, which may include an X-ray, before recommending the appropriate treatment.
You have an ingrown toenail
It’s important to deal with an ingrown toenail before an infection occurs. A podiatrist will be able to remove the unnecessary part of the nail and may advise further if the area has already become infected.
You think a muscle or bone may be sprained or broken
Whether it’s a strain, sprain or break you’ve experienced, a podiatrist can diagnose the issue, reduce your pain levels and provide a suitable treatment plan or referral.
You’ve developed corns or calluses
Corns and calluses are amongst the most common reasons for visiting a podiatrist. These painful conditions can be treated by a podiatrist, allowing you to get back to your daily activities without discomfort.
You have a bunion
Bunions occur when the bone of the big toe is out of alignment. Without treatment, they may get worse, so it’s important to see a podiatrist as they develop.
Your podiatrist will recommend treatment or may refer you for surgery in severe cases.
Y ou’re looking to take preventative measures
Even if your feet are healthy, your podiatrist can still advise on the best preventative care for your feet and encourage longterm foot health to avoid serious issues in the future.
If you’re experiencing any of the above, a good podiatric clinic such as Beta Feet Podiatry will be able to help treat the problem and provide reliable advice to keep your feet and ankles in great shape.
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.