What is Swift©?
Swift is a new technology, developed in the UK, which has been licensed for the general treatment of verrucae or warts in Podiatry. Swift uses microwave energy that is delivered through a special probe applied to the skin to treat the affected area. Betafeet will be one of only a few clinics in the UK to offer this treatment.
How does it work?
Microwaves work by applying the probe from which heat under the probe is applied to the verruca. The probe is about 7mm in diameter. Usually the largest or most painful verruca is treated first, but multiple ones may be treated at the same time.
Am I eligible for Swift treatment?
Your podiatrist will make a full assessment and discuss whether Swift treatment can help you and advise whether you are eligible. If you have tried various verruca treatments to no effect, then Swift microwave energy at Betafeet Podiatry might be for you. However, precautions include:
Does it hurt?
Like many treatments for verrucae, some minor discomfort may be experienced. Before treatment your podiatrist will reduce the verruca/e with a blade so the treatment site is level to receive the probe, which is applied for 5 seconds. Pain levels vary from person to person but most people undergoing Swift liken it to a pain similar to an injection or a scratch, lasting 2 - 3 seconds then quickly subsiding. Paracetamol can help if required.
How many treatments will I need?
This is dependent on how you respond to treatment. In some cases, you may need more than one treatment (these can be from 14 days to over a month apart depending on the response). Microwave energy treatment is normally conducted over 3-4 treatments. Larger or numerous verrucae may need more. The verruca/e will go dark, but you won’t see much shrinkage or debulking at first. Your Podiatrist will discuss this all with you.
What can I do after treatment?
In some cases the treated area may feel sore but will not prevent you from undertaking normal daily activities.
I am interested - what do I do next?
If you would like to discuss this further, please call Betafeet Podiatry on 01442 822990 (Tring) or 01442 249080 (Hemel) for an assessment appointment. The podiatrist will be able to assess your feet and advise you if you are suitable for treatment as well as suggesting the treatment plan which is best for you. The podiatrist can also give you an idea on the likelihood of success. This will also give you any opportunities to ask questions about the treatment.
Of course, you are under no obligation to have the treatment and your podiatrist can advise you on other treatments if Swift is not for you. Bear in mind that no verruca treatment can be guaranteed 100% successful and Swift is no exception.
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.