What is a foot health practitioner?
Our health is very precious, we all want to live a long, happy and active life, both mentally and physically. In our early, youthful years we live a carefree life, our bodies are a vehicle used, often to excess, to drive our ambitions and desires. However, the exuberance of youth can often be sowing the seeds of problems as we mature and grow older.
When young, we think we are invincible. We drive ourselves relentlessly in pursuance of our professional goals and hedonistic thrills. Unwittingly, we are giving our bodies a daily pounding, aches, pains, bumps and scrapes are shrugged off with little thought or concern. All too often we fail to listen to our bodies and act upon what it is telling us until we become incapacitated.
As the years roll by a person may find that the ailments that they would have once shrugged off, begin to curtail their activities. Potentially, there is a myriad of problems that may await each and every person, and they have to accept that they are unable to do the things they once did. At this point many people realize that the early signs of a problem where there, but ignored.
Mobility is perhaps the most significant element of life that changes as the years’ progress. Restrictions in mobility can be due to any one of many reasons, but problems with the feet are very often the cause. During the early years of invincibility, the feet are the most neglected and abused part of the body, and yet they are the most hard working.
It’s not only the excesses of youth that can bring about issues with the feet, other underlying health problems will compound many negative issues with the feet. Although the feet may have gone through many years of neglect, it is never too late to address any problems, and the sooner the better.
This is when your local foot health practitioner is of invaluable help. Until the point when they are needed, little thought is given to these professionals. The foot is a complicated biological and mechanical appendature, intricate in its design and function. Specialist training is necessary to understand its complexities, and to assess, diagnose and treat.
What can your Pes Laetus practitioner do for you?
The first thing a foot health practitioner does for you, even before you book an appointment, is that they situate themselves locally to you. England is blessed with the number of private practitioners the length and breadth of the country, so your practitioner will be local and convenient.
Having realized the existence of a problem, decided to address it and made your appointment, the first thing your local practitioner will do is listen. They will listen to your problems and concerns, this is the first step in the building of a professional relationship based on health care and personal understanding.
Following this your practitioner can then begin to assess, diagnose and then treat your condition. Generally, the origins of foot complaints stem from one of three areas of cause, structural abnormalities, exposure to infection or systemic illness. Some problems are more common than others and some are easier to treat than others. So what are the common disorders treated by your local foot health practitioner?
Common physical disorders
It is fair to say that almost everyone, at some point in their life, will suffer from blisters. Foot blisters can vary in aggression, from discomfort to extreme pain and debilitation. Normally caused through friction from ill-fitting footwear, blisters are straight forward to treat. With blisters, the advice given is equally as important as the treatment. To avoid a reoccurrence paying heed to the advice is necessary, this may include the sufferer reassessing their lifestyle choices.
Friction or rubbing on a particular part of the foot can also lead to calluses. A callus is an area of thickened and hardened skin, which can affect any part of the foot. Occurring on the sole of the foot, these callouses are known as planter callouses. This thickened skin is in fact the body developing a protective covering of the softer skin beneath it. Again, poorly fitting shoes are likely to be the cause.
Foot health practitioners also treat, almost on a daily basis, corns as a common problem. Corns appear at points of pressure, usually on the bottom of the feet and the sides of the toes. Corns can be defined in several different ways. Hard corns are small patches of thickened, dead skin with a distinctive central core, whereas a soft corn has a much thinner outer surface and typically appear between the 4th and 5th toes.
There are also what are referred to as seed corns. These appear as a small, discrete callous which can be extremely uncomfortable, even painful, if it’s on a weight-bearing part of the foot. This type of corn is usually seen on the sole of the foot and there is some medical evidence to suggest that they may be caused by blocked sweat ducts. Straight forward and well-practiced treatment will usually see corns eradicated with little problems.
Ingrown toenails are a common complaint which your local practitioner will be well versed at treating. When a toe nail ‘In grows’, it grows into the flesh of the toe, rather than over it. This is usually caused by either ill-fitting shoes or improper trimming of the nail. Ingrown nails can lead to a lot of pain and need to be assessed and treated by a professional to stave off the risk of more complicated infections.
Typical Infection Issues
Foot infections can be problematic to treat, this is because of the biological complexities of fungi and the, estimated, more than one million variations. It requires a highly trained professional to ensure the administration of the correct treatment to kill the infection.
Athlete’s foot is probably the most common infectious foot complaint that foot health practitioners deal with. Known as Tinea Pedis, it affects the outer layer of the skin. This fungal infection thrives in the warm, moist environment that the feet offer. The fungus, Trichophyton, causes great irritation and is highly infectious, but it is normally successfully treated.
It is very tempting to try and self-treat fungal infections and a sufferer can easily be fooled into thinking that they have rid themselves of the problem. However, it is often the case that the infection will appear to have cleared up, only to reappear again later. For any fungal infection professional treatment from your local practitioner is firmly recommended.
The nails can also be subject to fungal infection, Onychomycosis. This is difficult to treat and will require treatment from a foot health practitioner. It is very likely, that even with the correct treatment, it will typically take a year to eighteen months for it to grow out with the nail.
Whilst less common, bacterial infections also require the attentions of a professional. Such infections are often a result of another, more simple issue. When common problems are ignored, they can become infected by numerous forms and sources. This in turn leads to more complex issues prolonging treatment and recovery.
Systemic health problems can compound, complicate and increase the likelihood of foot health problems. Diabetic neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease exemplify how foot health problems can be complicated by, seemingly unrelated, underlying health problems. Some neurological disorders, and arthritis can also have a furthering of the negative effects of otherwise common complaints.
Your local foot health practitioner is trained to understand the compounding effects of the influence of systematic health issues on foot health problems and treatment. For anyone with the mentioned health problems, at the first sign of a health issue with the feet should immediately consult their local practitioner.
With an underlying health issue, it is advisable to consult your practitioner on a regular basis for a foot health check-up, six monthly consultations are recommended. Your practitioner is then able to build a comprehensive picture of your foot health. Issues can be identified early which increases the probability of successful treatment and helps to maintain your overall wellbeing.
Although your feet are, for the most part, out of sight, they should not be out of mind. Be aware of your feet, give them some thought. Periodically, thoroughly inspect your feet, look out for disfiguring of shape, growths or patches of colour change. Anything that appears not be the norm should be assessed by a professional.
Your local practitioner is exactly that, local, and they have the knowledge and the skills to diagnose and treat foot health issues promptly and effectively. Your foot health is as important to them as it is to you.