A foot care information guide. Information for patients Podiatry Services

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1 A foot care information guide Information for patients Podiatry Services

2 Did you know? On average people walk between 2,000 and 6,000 steps a day There are 26 bones in each foot Between 1-3% of the general population will have one or more foot problems Foot problems are more common in older people The most commonly occurring foot problems are corns, hard skin, deformed toes and thick, misshapen or ingrowing toe nails What is podiatry and what do podiatrists do? Podiatry Podiatry is the modern term which has replaced the word chiropody. People trained in the profession are now known as podiatrists not chiropodists. Podiatrists Podiatrists are foot health specialists and deal with the assessment, diagnosis, treatment and management of the lower limb. They deal with both simple and more complex foot problems using a wide range of techniques with the aim of preserving or improving foot health. Podiatrists can often provide immediate pain relief and can contribute to sustaining or improving mobility for people. All podiatrists should be registered with the Health Care Professions Council. page 2 of 8

3 Daily foot hygiene Wash feet daily in lukewarm water, with a mild soap. Always test the temperature before putting your feet in the water. Dry feet well, especially between your toes. If your skin is soggy in between your toes, apply surgical spirit each day using a cotton wool ball or cotton bud. Do not apply if your skin is broken as it will sting! Always change socks/tights daily and preferably wear cotton to help your skin breathe. Apply a moisturising cream twice daily to areas of dry skin avoiding in between your toes. If you have difficulty bending down, use a long handled sponge (Betterware, Wilkinsons) to apply cream. Alternatively, put some cream on a plastic bag on the floor and rub your foot on it. If you are still unable to manage ask a family member or carer to help you. Always rub cream well in (or leave to soak in) and avoid walking barefoot to avoid slipping. Suitable creams are hand cream and body butters. Flexitol cream (available from most chemists) can be used if hard skin is thickened and very dry. Cream may be applied before going to bed and covered with a damp sock (wear a bed sock over the top to prevent a soggy bed!). Small areas of hard skin/small corns may be removed safely and easily using a pumice stone or emery board/foot file weekly, followed by moisturising. Foot files (long handled) and emery boards are available from most chemists and some supermarkets. page 3 of 8

4 Avoid the use of hard skin/corn removing treatments/corn plasters and sharp implements as these can cause damage to your skin. Consult an HCPC Registered Podiatrist if the problem is painful and persists despite self care. Filing your nails is a lot easier and safer than trying to cut them. Common foot problems Corns and hard skin (callus) These are often formed as a result of rubbing from an ill-fitting shoe, or extra pressure being exerted on an area of the foot due to a foot deformity or walking problem. Simple self care treatments Gently rub the area with a pumice stone or emery board Apply a moisturising cream to improve the skin texture Apply some thin padding or cushioning material (available at any chemist) to reduce the pressure Check your shoes are not too tight, too big or too high Never wrap anything such as lambswool around the toes, never use razors or other sharp implements to remove the skin Never use corn cures or corn plasters, unless advised by a podiatrist If the lesions are very large or particularly painful consult a Health Professions Council registered podiatrist page 4 of 8

5 Toe nail problems Toe nails can become thicker as you get older or as a result of pressure, trauma or a fungal infection. Ingrowing toe nails are very painful at the sides, and the surrounding area may be inflamed and could be bleeding or weeping. Fungal toenails are often discoloured, thickened and crumbly in texture. Simple self care treatments Always cut toenails following the line of the toe and do not cut down the sides or too short. Cut after a bath or shower when they are softer If you cannot cut your nails safely, try filing with a long handled emery board which should be done every week, they then should not need cutting. Thickened nails can also be filed on the top at regular intervals with an emery board Ask a family member or carer to do this for you if you are finding it difficult If you think you have an ingrowing toenail, consult a registered podiatrist for specialist treatment Fungal toenails are often discoloured and thickened and can also be filed regularly. (To help prevent the spread of the infection, do not use the same file on non-infected nails). If you re concerned about fungal nails your GP will be able to tell you if you are suitable to have oral medication to treat it. page 5 of 8

6 Athletes foot This is a fungal infection of the skin and my cause itchiness, especially in between the toes. The skin may be red, scaly, flaky, cracked or with small weeping blisters. Simple self care treatments Wash feet daily and dry well especially in between the toes Change your socks or tights daily and keep to natural fibres such as cotton Allow the air to circulate around the feet whenever possible, avoid wearing shoes that make your feet hot and sweaty Creams, sprays and lotions are available to treat this condition ask your pharmacist for advice about which are the best ones to use If the condition persists or is particularly painful or uncomfortable consult a registered podiatrist page 6 of 8

7 Footwear Poorly fitting shoes can cause many common problems so it is important to make sure your footwear is the right size and shape for your feet. Tips Avoid wearing slippers, a light shoe with a proper fastening is more suitable to be worn in the home If you are unsteady on your feet, thin sole shoes which have a good grip may be more suitable. Shoes with a high collar that hold the ankle in place may also be helpful. Try and buy shoes in the afternoon when your feet will be at their largest Try and have your feet measured to make sure you are buying the correct size The best type of shoe is one with a lace up, velcro or strap fastening these can be loosened if your feet swell, avoid slip on styles as these tend to stretch when worn for a while Shoes should have a deep, round toe shape and not squash your toes They should be made of soft, breathable material, ideally leather. The soles should be flexible and non-slip. Avoid high heels or mule styles If you have trouble finding shoes to fit you due to misshapen or deformed toes ask your podiatrist for advice as many companies now sell shoes with extra depth or with a soft upper. Severely deformed feet due to a medical problem such as arthritis may require specialist footwear. Consult your GP for advice. You have been assessed by the Podiatrist as currently being low / moderate / high risk (delete as appropriate) page 7 of 8

8 Contact information Podiatry Services Central Health Clinic 1 Mulberry St Sheffield S1 2PJ Tel: Website: Produced with support from Sheffield Hospitals Charity Working together we can help local patients feel even better To donate visit Registered Charity No Alternative formats can be available on request. Please Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 2017 Re-use of all or any part of this document is governed by copyright and the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005 SI 2005 No Information on re-use can be obtained from the Information Governance Department, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. PD7236-PIL2874 v4 Issue Date: September Review Date: September 2019

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