All posts by Maidenhead podiatry

We are open! Read how we manage Covid-19 risk.

Although Covid-19 restrictions have eased, we are open, working, and taking appointments for Podiatry and Chiropractic

Covid-19 brought many changes to our lives during the lockdown. Although many regulations have been eased or lifted, wWe are still having to take measures and considerations that will be with us into next year.

As you are reading this we hope you are all well and staying safe.

The purpose of this page is to keep our patients in touch with what we are, and will be doing to ensure they can safely visit the clinic.

We are open and taking appointments for both Podiatry and Chiropractic.

The reception team is waiting to take your call

If you wish to make an appointment for Podiatry or Chiropractic please call 01628 773588 to speak to us or leave your name and number and a short message or email us at info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

What you can expect from us.

  • You will notice that Reception looks a little different.

  • We have perspex sneeze/cough guards for the desks similar to the ones now commonplace in supermarkets.
  • These stand 750mm high and run the length of the desk and provide protection for both staff and customers alike.
  • Reception is once more being used for waiting – socially distanced of course
  • You must still wear a face mask at all times while in the building – if you are exempt from wearing a facemask you must wear a face shield.
  • We ask you not to use the toilets but if you must, you must.
  • All magazines and newspapers have been removed from the reception area.
  • The water cooler will no longer be available to reduce the risk of cross contamination.
  • Your Podiatrist or Chiropractor will be wearing appropriate PPE.
  • Our receptionists will be wearing masks at all times.
  • All door handles and surfaces will be wiped down after each patient visit.
  • Where there is more than one practitioner working, appointments will be staggered to reduce the likelihood of queueing at the desk.

What we can expect from you.

  • Come in – wear a mask – sanitise your hands and wait, socially distanced, in reception.
  • You don’t have to wear gloves and there are automatic hand sanitising gel dispensers in the entrance lobby and reception area.
  • We ask that patients also wear a face mask at all times when in the building.
  • Wherever possible only one person at a time to attend for an appointment unless a carer, someone in the same bubble, parent or guardian is needed.
  • The contactless limit has gone up to £100. Most people will be able to ‘tap and pay’ thereby removing the need to key in an PIN.

During treatments

  • Appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) will be worn by your Podiatrist or Chiropractor.
  • Between patient visits additional time is now to be allowed for wiping down and sanitising the treatment room after each appointment.
  • Each room contains an industry-standard air cleaner/purifier to ensure as clean an atmosphere as possible.
  • As always, all instruments are cleaned and sterilised between patients and all consumables are disposable.

All these changes will be kept under constant review.

If you have any special requirements please let us know. If you would like an appointment then please call us on 01628 773588 or email info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

Do lasers work on nail fungus? An in depth review.

Do lasers ‘cure’ fungal nails?

Lasers have been a part of podiatry practice for a number of years.

Papers discussing the potential use of lasers in clinical practice started to appear in the 80s, focusing on the high powered carbon dioxide (CO2) systems available at that time.

Evaluation was around nail bed removal, treatment of onchomycosis (nail fungus) once the nail had been removed, and nail fenestration (making a hole or ‘window’ in the nail) to facilitate more effective treatment by topical applications such as curanail.

However the small number of machines in use remained in the hands of specialists, and mainly in the United States. As the years passed, new systems were introduced with varying levels of success but the main prohibition to their use in clinical practice was their cost.

In 2009, for the first time a surgical laser system advertised in the UK Podiatry magazine Podiatry Now was claimed by one user to be ‘possibly the most radical development in the treatment of onychomycosis our profession has ever seen’.

Concerns were raised at the time as these were unproven claims for expensive equipment and in the years since little evidence has been put forward demonstrating their effectiveness despite their increasingly wider use.

Lasers are attractive for the public and practitioner alike for a number of reasons.

Although oral medications have shown effectiveness and remain the most studied treatment for onychomycosis(fungal nail), concern is always expressed about their safety. Antifungal drugs are contra-indicated in patients with active or chronic liver disease and are often declined by patients wishing to avoid potential side-effects.

Topical applications also have drawbacks with long term application, questionable efficacy, and issues with patient compliance.

Lasers, however, capture the imagination as a safe, effective quick fix for a number of conditions. However, how they work remains unclear.

Laser systems in near infra-red spectrum (780 nm – 3000 nm wavelength), which are commonly used in onychomycosis, directly heat target tissues and by using a pulsed beam instead of continuous one, they can deliver a “selective photothermolysis”

Appropriate intervals between pulses allows for tissue relaxation and cooling causing little collateral damage to surrounding structures. Lasers for nail disease have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)in America but only for their ability to temporarily clear nail growth in mycotic nails.

An immediate problem with the studies was the variety of study procedures which made comparison difficult.

12 papers published between 2010 -2014 reflected the novelty of the technology with four studies stated they were “preliminary” or pilot studies.

10 papers investigated the 1064 nm neodymium: yittrium-aluminum-garnet laser system (Nd:YAG) (long and short pulse types). 1 paper used an 870/930 nm dual band system and another investigated the use of an ablative carbon dioxide laser as a means to fractionate nails to improve the penetration of topical anti-fungal agents.

In one randomized controlled trial, 36 patients with proven onychomycosis (nail fungus) were randomly allocated to either a laser treatment or control sham device.

All patients were treated at day 1, 14, 42 and day 60. Independent assessors reviewed photographic evidence at various stages to judge and record any changes at 6 months, when 34 patients (37 toes: 26 treated and 11 controls) were valid for analysis.

Visually, only 2 treated nails had completely or markedly improved and slight to moderate improvement was seen in 18 treated nails versus 3 control nails with 6 treated nails unchanged along with 6 control nails.

The study was funded exclusively by a laser manufacturer and employees of the company were shown as co-authors of the paper.

In another randomized controlled trial 27 patients with onychomycosis received either 2 laser treatments two weeks apart or no treatment. After 3 and 12 months all patients were re-assessed by culture and measured nail clearance.

At 3 months, 33% of the laser treated group had a negative culture versus 20% in the control group and had more proximal (new uninfected growth emerging from the bed) nail clearance at this time, although there was no statistically significant difference between the two groups.

At 12 months, there was no difference in measured nail clearance between the treated and control group.

One conclusion was that laser may only have a temporary effect in onychomycosis.

Another study of 8 patients suggested 7 showed distinct improvement 4 months after 2–3 laser treatment 3 weeks apart. However, it was a small group, pre and post assessment was vague and patients were encouraged to use daily anti-fungal agents applied to the nail during treatment.

Another study in 2012 study looked at 13 subjects (37 toe nails). Nails were treated two or three times 4–8 weeks apart. At the end of the study (week 16) 19 nails (51%) showed complete clearance (clear nail and negative microscopy) with 30 nails (81%) showing from moderate to complete improvement.

Equipment for the study had been loaned from the manufacturers but it is not known if the results were independent of the company.

A more recent study looked at 43 toenails and 12 finger nails that underwent laser 5 treatments at four week intervals. At 24 weeks nails were assessed for surface clearance and negative cultures. 1 month after the final treatment 30 of the 43 nails were clear of fungus. 4 nails achieved a complete cure. 8 patients were reported to have achieved better than 80% clearance and 31 nails showing a substantial improvement.

The Pinpointe™ Laser was used on two randomly assigned treatment groups comprising 33 patients with 154 fungal nails given 8 treatments at 1 week intervals (group 1) or 4 treatments at 1 week intervals (group 2).

At 24 weeks there was no significant difference in the cure rates between the groups. What was interesting was the reported re-occurrence of fungus reported on 10 nails (5 patients) within a 2–4 months, suggesting that laser may only inhibit growth rather stopping it altogether.

A more involved study used three types of laser light on 21 patients. Each nail was treated with 10 minutes of laser light and received 4, weekly treatments and were assessed at 1, 3 and 6 months. Tissue temperature was recorded to suggest what effect the laser was having on the treated area and although the results appeared good, it was a small sample. However, it is possible 46 degrees Centigrade is a lethal temperature for nail fungus

A larger study of 131 patients underwent 2 treatments, 30 days apart with a review at two months. The review at 2 months suggested a good initial success rate but there was no long-term follow-up to determine re-growth rates.

Another study of 12 nails treated by laser concluded that it was no better than topical nail lacquer therapy based on the cure rates achieved. Again, a study of 10 patients (18 nails) with onychomycosis could not show significant improvements in mycological or clinical cure rates after a 24 week program using laser.

In another group of 10 nails, clinically only 4 cases had shown visible improvement. This last study unsurprisingly concluded that mild superficial fungal nail infections are more likely to respond than well established infections that have penetrated under the nail.

This review highlights a number of issues.

  • From early results it is clear that there is no agreement on the effectiveness of laser with conflicting results. This, in part, is due to the differences in study design.
  • Although all papers reviewed fungal nails in adults, selection criteria varied.
  • Most focused on older adults reflecting the fact that onychomycosis (fungal nail) is a disease are more prevalent in this age group.
  • There was no standard test to confirm onychomycosis with a large number of tests used of varying reliability.
  • How a ‘cure’ is measured or defined with no agreed standard.
  • Visual appearance in some studies was based on patient satisfaction, whilst others measured clear nail emergence or simply measured the changes in the amount of nail plate surface affected and its associated changes.
  • Variation in length of study from 12 weeks to 1 year.
  • No account is taken of differences in nail growth rate with age, or that fungal nails grow more slowly in the first place. In adults, toenails grow approximately 1.0 mm/month however in the elderly, the rate of nail growth decreases by approximately 0.5% per year between 25 to 100 years of age.
  • A greater study period is required as the longer studies hint at re-occurrence being an issue, although this could be due to outside factors such as contaminated footwear. This suggests topicals such as Curanail/Loceryl being a useful addition to a successful treatment regime.
  • There were variations in nail thickness and some used a nail drill to reduce the presence of diseased nail prior to treatment.
  • With four main types of onychomycosis, what was being treated also varied.
  • The cost a long term study is expensive and sponsorship can effect outcomes or interpretation of findings, only one paper disclosed what could be a conflict of interest
  • There is no actual single protocol for laser toenail fungus treatments.
  • there have been no solid studies to prove that the laser can cure toenail fungus.

In later studies by Jager, Oesterhelt, Et Al, they found that no patient had a fungal cure in 12 months of treatment and follow-up.

In 2016, in Podiatry Today, Tracey Vlahovic, DPM, a leader in Podiatric Dermatology noted that laser is not a reliable monotherapy for toenail fungus.

In 2019, Harvard University noted that “there is still little information about its long-term safety and effectiveness”. In the Journal of Fungi, Liddell and Rosen concluded that with laser therapy for toenail fungus, “The evidence to date has not indicated superior outcomes in long-term endpoints to standard of care systemic therapy and postulated anti-fungal mechanisms remain unverified’.

There is a scarcity of peer-reviewed literature investigating this topic and with so many types of lasers and so many different treatment protocols, there truly is no way of knowing which types of lasers have better results and which protocols are best.

Further, there are no true studies to confirm the laser treatment effectiveness, although there is much marketing material making the claim. When you combine all of that with the cost, it is difficult to recommend laser for toenail fungus at this time.  As noted in the studies above, traditional treatments were often as good or better than laser therapy alone, and there are many other treatments available to help with this condition.

At Maidenhead Podiatry, we will wait to see if new evidence supports the use of laser. At this time, we have found that it may not in your best interest to seek laser treatment and we will continue to offer traditional treatments for toenail fungus.

The review itself cannot have been exhaustive, may not have included all relevant papers and only looked at studies in English.

Autumn itch? Winter scratching?

Why are my feet/legs itching with the change of weather?

There seems to have been little time elapsed between the hot sunny days of the summer and the leaves changing colour on the trees and changes in the weather means changes on what we see in clinic.

As Podiatrists, some of the conditions we see on the feet and lower legs are seasonal and related to exposure to too much or too little sunlight.

For example, too much sun leads to sunburn on the tops of exposed feet in a heat wave.

As we move through Autumn and into winter, when we are covering up and going back inside, there is one skin condition that becomes more common, and it is frequently (but not always) betrayed by itching and is commonly known as ‘the winter itch’.

It is a form of eczema.

Asteatotic Eczema

Eczema is commonplace, with numerous sub-types, and autumn and winter living can aggravate some of these. The ‘winter itch’ is known as Asteatotic eczema, also known as eczema craquele or xerotic eczema.

As the temperature outside falls, we cover-up and turn the heating on and up. As a result, skin dries out and can lead to the forming of discrete dry, scaly patches on the top of the foot and on the lower legs. It can also appear on the arms.

What does I look like?

The appearance varies from person to person.

When it begins, it can appear as a dry with a fine scale, with a criss-cross or crazy paving appearance and can easily be confused with an athlete’s foot or tinea infection.

When well-developed it can be similar to the dried mud cracking in the bottom of an empty pond in the heat of summer. As the eczema develops and enlarges, it is characterised by oval or circular lesions (nummular), an can appear redder, even with weeping and crusting.

Why has it developed?

Asteatotic eczema is more common in the elderly as the skin doesn’t produce enough natural moisturizing factors leading to it drying out, but can be found at any age. There are a number of aggravating factors including

  • Age
  • Illness
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Menopause
  • Side effects of medication
  • Zinc deficiency
  • Too much bathing/showering and drying

Should it be treated?

In short – yes. Definitely.

With this form of eczema, the skin isn’t able to serve one of it’s primary functions – as a barrier offering protection. If left untreated it can allow a gradual breakdown of the skin leading to larger areas being involved and the development of more serious conditions and sensitivity.

How do we treat it?

This is surprisingly simple but effective.

  • Reduce the frequency, length and temperature of baths/showers
  • Avoid standard soaps/detergents/shower gels as they will dry the skin
  • Thoroughly rinse any soap residue from the legs and feet before drying
  • Use soap substitutes such as E45 Wash Cream & QV Gentle Wash – but remember – it will make your shower/bath more slippery, so take care.
  • Dry by ‘dabbing’ not ‘rubbing’
  • Keep the skin at an even temperature
  • Cream, cream, cream – emollients are widely available with urea-based products being particularly useful. If in doubt, ask your GP or practice nurse

How can you be sure?

The first step is to confirm what is causing your symptoms. It is all too common to self diagnose through what you read on the internet. If you want to know for sure, then you need to seek the advice of an appropriate health care professional. Visit your local Podiatrist, GP, nurse practitioner or dermatologist.

If you would like more information or to make an appointment with one of our Podiatrists, call us on 01628 773588 or email info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk

Ten reasons why your nails might change colour

My toenail is changing colour. What can be causing it?

The function of a toenail is protection of the tip of the toe. If we are lucky, we will progress through life with few changes to their appearance, but that isn’t always the case.

We all have a good idea of what we consider a ‘normal’ nail, but sometimes all or part of the nail can start to change colour. In this blog we look at how and why this can happen.

brown-black discolouration (occasionally red)

Although uncommon, the first condition to eliminate is (subungual – under the nail) melanoma. Speak to your podiatrist or GP if you are concerned. In reality, there are numerous benign causes.

Longitudinal melanonychia

This is a term used to describe a  strong and noticeable pigmented band – normally brown – that runs down the nail from the bed to the tip. This condition normally affects more than one nail at a time.

This is quite common in Black-skinned, Asian, Hispanic, and Middle Eastern individuals who frequently have benign/harmless longitudinal pigmented bands. This is due to the naturally occurring pigment cells or melanocytes that make their skin darker.

The number and width of the bands tend to increase with age.

However, the presence of a new, single – only occurring on one of ten nails –  dark coloured band in an adult could represent a melanoma and should be checked immediately.

There are additional uncommon causes including systemic disease and medication to numerous to list here.

Subungual haematoma (bruise)

Following trauma – kicking something, dropping something on the toe – blood can accumulate in the space between the nail bed and nail plate. It can  also happen following vigorous exercise/dancing when you don’t remember ‘bashing it’.

The discolouration is often accompanied by considerable pain due to the pressure created under the nail. If you visit a Podiatrist as soon as possible after the injury occurs, it is possible to painlessly drain the fluid and bring immediate relief.

Yellow/white discolouration (occasionally orange)

Onychomycosis (fungal nail)

Nail fungus usually cause a yellow-white discolouration, but occasionally it can be black or orange.

Nail fungus usually starts at the tip or sides of the nail and work their way upwards towards the nail bed frequently following trauma.It is very common for patients to report that fthe fungus appeared after damaging the nail.

If caught early, infected nail can sometimes be trimmed away to prevent spread.

If allowed to become established, treatment can be difficult and lengthy. For further information https://maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk/what-can-i-do-about-my-fungal-nail/

Some medications can also produce similar discolouration.

Cream, Dark yellow or white-yellow nails

Trauma

When nails have experienced trauma, the protective mechanism can be triggered, and they increase in thickness. That increase in thickness causes the colour of the nail to darken and take on a changed appearance. The nail will also grow more slowly.

Psoriasis

This condition can occur just on nails with no history or occurrence on the skin. The changes can be similar to, and are often mistaken for, a fungal nail infection and it is important to establish which you have, to allow appropriate treatment

Paronychia

Or infection of the nail bed. This can lead to a change in appearance as pus builds up under the nail. This condition can require release of the pus and prescription of anti-biotics, depending on severity.

Some medications can also produce similar discolouration.

Yellow Nail syndrome

This is a very rare condition characterised by very curved, transversely thickened, smooth, yellowed nails and is associated with lymphoedema, pleural effusion, and (usually) ascites.

White nail discolouration

Minor trauma

A common cause, and tends to produce small localized areas of whiteness, like white spots on the nail.

There are a number of other systemic conditions that can also lead to white nails but they are too uncommon and numerous to be listed here.

Green/blue nails

Pseudomonal nail infection

Pseudomonas infection is often found on the underside of a nail (it can also be found on the skin) which has already lifted, often due to trauma or previous infection. It is characterised by green-blue, or occasionally black, discolouration. This infection is relatively harmless in healthy adults. If you are immune compromised you should seek advice.

Some medications can also produce similar discolouration.

If you would like more information or to make an appointment with one of our Podiatrists, call 01628 773588 and speak to one of our friendly reception team.

Buying new school shoes online? How to measure your children’s feet accurately .

Have your children outgrown their school shoes?

You can measure your children’s feet yourself at home. It doesn’t matter if they are six or sixteen (or sixty), correct fit is important for anyone at any age. Read on.

When children’s feet grow, they grow quickly.

In a child’s first three to four years, their feet grow about two sizes a year, although by the time they are school age, at five years old, it has slowed to around a size a year. Of course, rate of increase varies from child to child.

You can’t currently have feet measured professionally because shoe shops are currently closed and ordering online has become a necessity.

You can take the guesswork out of it by taking measurements at home. Here is how to do it.

It is essential to get your children’s shoe size right first time.

Shoes being too big can be as bad for your children’s feet as being too small.

Of course, every child’s foot is unique, but a well-fitting shoe not only protects foot development, keeping growing feet comfortable and healthy but gives children the confidence as they work and play.

How does home measurement work?

All you need is a printable foot gauge. Click here – and follow the instructions.

  • make sure your printer is set to 100% and not to scale
  • once it has printed use a ruler to check it’s correct
  • place the paper gauge on a flat, hard floor
  • ensure the heel is level with the ‘base line’
  • make sure your child is standing with both feet taking even weight
  • measure both feet, it is common for one foot to be a bit bigger than the other
  • note down the size to their largest toe (this isn’t always the big toe).
  • repeat on the other foot.
  • for the width, cut the width measure off the right side and wrap it around the thickest part of the foot – diagonally from the ball joint on their little toe to the ball joint on their big toe
  • buy a shoe with approximately 2cm growth room

If you don’t have a printer, you can use a piece of A4 paper and a ruler/tape to get the measurements.

What type of shoe should you choose for school?

With children recently spending so much time at home and no time at school they will have been wearing all sorts of shoes, wellingtons, crocs or no shoes at all.

It will be quite a contrast but they will benefit from leather shoes that are supportive, correctly measured, and that fasten securely to the their foot.

It is also a good idea for them to wear them around the house for a few hours in the days leading up to them going back to school.

How to check if your child’s shoes fit correctly?

Once you receive the new shoes – try them on, then –

  • do the check in the afternoon as feet can swell as the day passes
  • fastened them
  • make sure your child is standing
  • ensure the back of the foot is snugly against the heel of the shoe
  • press your thumb firmly down sideways on the front of your child’s shoe to see where their toes are
  • If you can’t feel the toe through the shoe, get your child to wiggle their foot
  • With the foot firmly against the back of the shoe there should be a gap of about 2cm or a thumbs width for growth
  • check the width is just right using a finger and thumb.
  • remember that sizes vary between brands.

Finally, give the shoe a tug as if trying to pull it off. If there is a little give, but it stays on then you know it is fitting correctly. In any case, your child will soon tell you if the shoe isn’t comfortable.

If you would like more information or an appointment with one of our Podiatrists, give us a call on 01628 773588 or email info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

Ten things you need to do to protect your back when gardening

Mind your back!

As a nation, we love our gardens and spend a considerable amount of time and money on them. That has certainly been the case when national circumstances have forced us to spend more time at home. As we rush to get those jobs in the garden done, in the sunny periods between the rain, there is a risk that we may injure ourselves.

 

What everyone wants is to be fit and healthy enough to actually enjoy sitting in their garden and enjoy the fruits of their labours come summer time, so here are some helpful tips from our chiropractors at the Maidenhead Podiatry & Chiropractic Clinic.

How you can help yourself

1. Dress appropriately

  • Don’t wear clothes that are tight or constrict your movement

2. Gardening is like any other exercise; you need to warm up first

  • Don’t go straight into heavy garden work, start off with lighter jobs first
  • This will lessen the chance of muscle strain

3. Don’t twist again

  • If you have to use a ladder for any of your gardening tasks, make sure you are always facing it. Rather than lean or reach, move it regularly
  • When using the ladder, always keep your shoulders, hips and knees pointing in the same direction
  • Make sure the ladder is firmly and safely planted in position and, if possible, have someone else standing there to keep an eye on things

4. Clever pruning

  • Get as close as possible to the things you are pruning; avoid overstretching to reach the area you are dealing with
  • Invest in some long handled secateurs to reach plants and bushes that are beyond normal reach

5. Digging deep

  • When digging, try not to bend or twist during the movement and alternate the foot you use to drive the spade into the ground.
  • Raking is best achieved with short movements; don’t reach out too far.

6. Potting/planting

  • Use a mat and kneel when doing close weeding work or planting out
  • When potting up your plants, it is much better to do this at a table

7. Take a break

  • Vary your activity; spend no more than 20-30 minutes on any one thing and take regular breaks

8. Be clever with the paving

  • If laying a patio keep the slab close to your body and bend your knees
  • It is sometimes better to bend one knee rather two, as your supporting leg gives you a position of strength
  • If using railway sleepers, two people will probably be needed

9. Plan ahead

  • If you are planning a trip to the local DIY store and buying heavy items, such as cement or gravel, buy smaller bags rather than one big bag as they are easier and safer to carry
  • If you do buy heavy items, ask an assistant at the store to help you
  • Shovel the contents of large bags straight into smaller containers or wheelbarrow from the back of the car
  • If having items delivered, have them unloaded as close to where you need them as possible; this will save the effort of moving them again
  • A specialist garden trolley might be worth investing in to move these sorts of materials around, especially so if you have lots of patio pots to move around as well

10. Allow enough time

  • Planned time allows you to take your time

Our Chiropractors

Our Chiropractors Rebecca Rees, BSc.(Chiro) and Lucy Steel, MChiro have nearly forty five years of experience between them, are members of the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) and are registered with the General Chiropractic Council (GCC).

Pain is a warning – don’t ignore it.

If you would like more information or are interested in booking a treatment with one of our experienced Chiropractors in Maidenhead, Berkshire, then please call us on 01628 773588 or email info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

Are your feet ‘summer ready’?

Summer is here and your feet need to be ready for action.

Now restrictions are lifting we are enjoying more freedom and holidays, even if they are in this country! The weather has generally been warm and sunny, and a walk on the beach in Britain is as good as a walk on a beach abroad.

If you are unsure how your feet can benefit, a great start is to visit to one of our Podiatrists for an assessment, trim and tidy. Get your feet ‘beach ready’!

Whether you need specialist care and advice, or simply removal of corns and callus, come and see us for a consultation. A general consultation can last up to half an hour and can include Doppler, sensation testing and general foot health checks.

We also offer gait analysis, musculo-skeletal assessment and bio-mechanical review as well as everything from verruca treatment to ingrowing toenails..

The blog below gives more information on who we are and what we do.

Have you ever thought about visiting a Podiatrist and wondered what they do?

Ever thought about visiting a Podiatrist and wondered what they do?

As the article suggests, a Podiatrist assesses and treats a wide variety of conditions below the knee. Anyone can benefit, from diabetics to someone who just wants their feet to look good on holiday.

It doesn’t matter if you aren’t going abroad this year, you still want to feel you can step out with confidence.Giveusacall.

Beauty is back

Once you have seen one of our experienced Podiatrists, we have some spectacular treatments to make sure you put your best foot forward for the upcoming season. Our beauty therapist, Carrieann, provides a range of treatments to compliment our Podiatry services.

For more information on the treatments provided by Carrieann, visit. https://skinsensations.co.uk/

Carrieann’s most popular foot treatments are  –

Luxury Pedicure

Treat your feet to some much-needed TLC with our luxury pedicure! Be whisked away from it all with a relaxing foot and leg massage and a deep exfoliation, plus a long soak in one of our massaging foot spas and finishing with a nail paint.

Medical Pedicure/Medi-ped

A medical pedicure – or medi-ped – is starts with a visit to a Podiatrist and ends with a visit to our beauty therapist.

Our medical pedicures are adapted to each client by our Podiatrist so they are tailor-made to suit your needs. You will receive a complete Podiatry treatment followed by all the wonders of our luxury pedicure (above)

Why do it?

Your feet feel good and you feel good. Sore feet can ruin your day, so why wait.

It doesn’t matter if you are walking miles on a costal path or sitting in the sun, relaxing with a good book,you want your feet to be at their best.

We cater for diabetics and a range of foot conditions. We are a Royal College of Podiatry accredited practice and we also offer home visits for those that require it.

Make an appointment

If you would like more information, to speak to one of our Podiatrists, or to make an appointment, call us on 01628 773588 or email info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

To make an appointment directly with Carrieann, call 01628 779909 and speak to a member of our friendly reception team.

Baby feet, shoes, bare feet and baby-grows

When should a baby start wearing shoes or should they wear them at all?

When it comes to baby feet, socks, shoes, baby-grows and bare feet there are so many questions. What is best? When should a baby start wearing shoes or should they wear them at all? How do you choose the best footwear?

At birth the human foot is not a miniature version of an adult foot actually containing no bones at all but merely consisting of a mass of cartilage, which, over a period of years, ossifies (turns to bone) to become the 28 bones that exist in the adult human foot.

This process is not complete until the late teens or early twenties, so it is crucial that footwear – when worn – is well chosen so it doesn’t compromise and change the shape of the young developing foot.

What is a shoe? and what do we mean by ‘footwear’?

‘Footwear’ in babies means anything that is used to cover the foot regardless of function. For example, in a new born until they start to stand, any foot covering whether it is socks shoes or baby-grow has a primary function of providing warmth.From a functional perspective, shoes aren’t really needed and there are more likely to be disadvantages and problems from wearing shoes than not wearing them – among them, deformation caused by a poor fit, ingrown toenails, and athlete’s foot.

When is a shoe a fashion accessory?

Manufacturers must take some responsibility for encouraging parents to treat their babies/children as fashion accessories and choose shoes on their attractiveness or coolness, rather than their fit or function.

There are exceptions of course. You have to consider the environment the child is in. You wouldn’t want your child walking on the streets or in the park barefoot, where there might be dog poo, dirt and possible hazards like glass would you? So common sense applies.

When to start with shoes

Wearing shoes at too young an age can hamper a child’s walking and cerebral development. Toddlers keep their heads up more when they are walking barefoot, The feedback they get from the ground means less need to look down, which otherwise puts them off balance and causes them to fall over.

Walking barefoot develops muscles and ligaments in the foot, increases the strength of the foot’s arches, improves proprioception (our unconscious awareness of where we are in relation to the space around us) and contributes to good posture.

The more parents know about the structure of children’s feet, the more we can prevent footwear-related damage being done.

What sort of damage?

Research published in podiatry journal ‘The Foot’ in 2007 suggested that structural and functional changes can result from the foot having to conform to the shape and constriction of a shoe, rather than being allowed to develop naturally.

And the younger the foot, the greater the potential for damage.

Not too rigid

Most children’s shoes are like awful little bricks – too stiff, too rigid, with no flexibility at the sole and too much heel raise. This is of particular concern with toddlers learning to walk, because it can cause them to bounce and tip forward.

A completely rigid shoe will restrict movement of the forefoot to zero. Kids this age should be turning cartwheels, skipping, climbing trees, running around. A shoe like this seriously restricts such playful physicality – make it less fun, and less enjoyable.

Size is important

Just as important is choosing the right size socks. Many parents dutifully check the size of their child’s shoes but never consider or know how to check the size of their socks.

How? Take hold of the toe and heel of the sock and without pulling or stretching it should meet around the child’s clenched fist. All socks should be checked regularly due to rapid growth but also because they can shrink during the washing and drying process.

Not to forget baby-grows?

Easily overlooked, baby-grows can place even more pressure on the feet and restrict growth, especially in a rapidly growing child. If you don’t want to replace the baby-grow then cut the seams at the feet to allow the feet to poke out and use socks for warmth.

…and bare-foot?

As a general rule, in the appropriate environment, whenever possible, bare foot is best in at least the first six years of a child’s life. There is no reason why this can’t extend to adults although common sense needs to be exercised with diabetics and anyone with peripheral neuropathy.

If you would like more information, to speak to one of our Podiatrists or to make an appointment then please call Maidenhead Podiatry on 01628 773588.

A guide to verruca treatment

 

At Maidenhead Podiatry and Chiropractic Clinic we are asked about verrucas and verruca treatment so frequently that we have put this ‘Guide to Verruca Treatment’ together to help decide on your best treatment option.

Do I have a verruca?

Many of us have experienced a verruca, usually as a child, or know someone who has.

There are so many opportunities to acquire a verruca from a variety of communal floors such as hotels, swimming pools and the gym.

In a similar way to a parasite, the virus that causes a verruca needs a healthy cell to infect that it can modify without killing it. The virus is quite hardy and can not only survive for months on floors without a host but can survive desiccation and freezing.

Verrucas can’t be ‘removed’ (other than surgically). Your body’s immune system is capable of dealing with them – it just hasn’t – and all treatments hope to stimulate an immune response, allowing the correct antibodies to be produced for a successful resolution.

The virus ‘turns off’ the cellular immune cascade that is a normal response to viral infection, and our treatments aim to turn it back on.

Verrucae are warts.

When they occur on the feet we call them a verruca and when on the hands, we call them warts. They are caused by infection with one or more of the 150-strong family of human papillomaviruses.

They vary in size from a pin-head to covering whole areas of the foot.

The virus infects a cell in the top layer of the skin, the epidermis. Usually the fourth layer, the stratum spinosum, the virus often enters through a tiny scratch or abrasion.

This triggers a rapid growth of skin/verruca cells, forming a harmless lump.

They occur most commonly in children and young adults, likely because this age group spend a lot of time padding around with bare feet, although they can occur at any age.

If in doubt, ask your local Podiatrist.

How do they spread?

They are highly contagious and are transferred by skin-to-skin contact or by walking across the previously mentioned communal surfaces.

And as we don’t like imperfection on our bodies, an increasing number of adults are seeking treatment.

It is estimated that the verruca home treatment market is worth over £5 million a year – despite the fact that none of them work consistently.

Is it a verruca?

Warts on the underside of the foot will appear flat as weight bearing pushes them into the skin. On the top of the foot, or hands they will appear raised.

They may contain little black dots (but not always) which are tiny blood vessels and it is normal that when treated they will bleed. Squeezing them will also likely be painful.

Verrucae generally appear in two forms, a small single lesion with black dots within the central core, and the mosaic verruca, which is a more widespread infection, often affecting both feet and is characterised by clusters of verrucae.

Whichever you have, the treatment is the same.

What can I do?

The best treatment for most verrucae if they are not problematic is to leave them alone and given enough time they will go of their own accord.

They don’t often become painful and without treatment, verrucae usually disappear within two to 18 months as the immune system does its job although in rarer cases they can persist for over twenty years.

But if you have already had them for a number of years and you are experiencing pain from your verruca, they are spreading, or you simply want rid of it, read on.

How are they treated?

Treatments are based on either destroying the infected tissue (e.g. Bazuka, DuoFilm), locally acting poison (e.g. Gluterol) or stimulating an immune response (E.g. Swift, freezing, needling) and fall into – over the counter, old wives tales and professional.

Over the counter.

The over the counter, at-home chemical treatments such as DuoFilm or Bazuka contain salicylic acid which works by forcing moisture into the tissue disrupting viral cell function, and lactic acid, which breaks down the hard skin over the infection.

The active ingredient in Gluterol is Glutaraldehyde which is virucidal and so inactivates the wart virus. Once on the skin, it also acts as an anhidrotic, drying the warts and surrounding skin, thus reducing the spread of lesions.

Whichever one you choose, perseverance is the key as it can take months to work, during which time the verruca may go of its own accord anyway.

The strength of acid used in over the counter products is only up to 24%, but in a clinic, strengths of up to 70% can be used.

Before carrying out any treatment, remove the top layer of hard skin using a foot file to expose the verruca. Remember to wash or discard the file after every use.

Even so the success rate is variable.

Old wives tales.

Old wives tales suggest duct tape, banana and others each of which may work for some people but not others.

Some of the less conventional ideas do have science behind them, others not so much. Self resolution can suggest an unlikely remedy has worked.

Professional treatment.

A Podiatrist can use salicylic acid, cryosurgery, Swift and dry needling among others.

Cryosurgery or freezing undoubtedly can work but it needs to be done in a clinical environment by a podiatrist or a dermatologist as it involves temperatures down to -190oC depending on the medium used.

Swift uses microwaves to raise the temperature in the verruca stimulating a powerful immune response though heat stress reaction.

Dry needling pierces the verruca many times under local anaesthetic to stimulate an immune response. This is thought to work by inoculating the underlying tissue with the virus prompting an immune response.

Lasers can also be used to remove the verrucae by cauterising, but there is little evidence to show this works, and it can lead to scarring

Prevention is also a consideration.

Wear flip-flops in the gym, hotel room or swimming pool to reduce the risk of infection. Avoid walking barefoot on communal surfaces.

To prevent infecting other people cover the verruca with nail varnish or a plaster or wear socks.

If you would like more information on looking after your feet or managing verrucae, or an appointment with one of our Podiatrists at Maidenhead Podiatry and Chiropractic Clinic, call us on 01628 773588 or e-mail info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

Hot feet? How to relieve the heat.

We have now had several consecutive days with maximum recorded temperatures over 30 degrees centigrade.

Typical of the UK, the heat comes on quickly, with no smooth transition, and then we feel uncomfortable for days while we try to get used to it. And, of course, our feet can feel really hot and throbbing locked in shoes while we work.

What actually happens to your feet?

As temperatures soar, the quarter of a million sweat glands in your feet start working hard. The job of the sweat glands is to make the skin cooler but can leave it damp and a little whiffy. This is often accompanied with swelling.

One of the functions of your skin is temperature regulation. Blood vessels dilate to help heat escape and fluid floods the tissues causing the skin goes pink or red – erythema. If you have a job that involves standing or sitting for long periods, gravity encourages fluid to collect in the lowest point of the body  – your feet, helping to make them feel tired and achy.

Sweaty, swollen feet aren’t just uncomfortable – they also increase your risk of foot health issues, such as blisters, foot odour and athlete’s foot fungal infections.

The fungi and bacteria that cause foot odour just love these moist, warm and dark conditions come with a heat wave.

So, how do you look after your feet in a heatwave?

Simple, reliable ways to cool your feet

At the end of your working day, you get home and your feet are so hot and throbbing that they feel like they might explode. there are some simple choices using items that can easily be found in most households.

• A hot water bottle can be used to cool as well as heat. Fill it with water and crushed ice and sit with your feet on it like a cold cushion.

• No hot water bottle? A cold, damp towel draped over your feet can work wonders.

• If you can, get outside and put your feet up on a footstool. They’ll soon feel cooler and less swollen.

• Peppermint is a popular essential oil to add to a foot spray, with a lovely cooling effect.

• A nice bowl of cold water and ice also goes a long way towards making your feet feel better.

Keep  your feet comfortable

Comfortable feet aren’t something that just  happens, you need to put some work into it.

• Keep your feet clean – wash and thoroughly dry your feet morning and night. This removes or neutralises sweat and odour-causing bacteria and fungi.

• Use antiperspirant on your feet daily to reduce excessive sweating and odour.

• Wear ‘wicking’ socks and change them at least daily. These draw sweat away from the skin which is why they’ve long been favoured by runners.

• Choose footwear made to breathe and if you are at work, buy shoes for comfort, not for fashion.

It is typical of the UK as a nation to grumble about poor weather and then to complain loudly when it improves, but sore feet are no joke. If you are concerned that your foot pain may have a deeper cause, then give us a call. Your first visit includes a consultation, discussion of concerns and the construction of a treatment plan.

Consult a professional.

If you would like more specific advice, if you experience sweaty, smelly or uncomfortable feet, then the first step is to consult a professional for the best advice and a treatment plan.

If you would like more information or to speak to one of our Podiatrists, or to make an appointment, give us a call  on 01628 773588 or email info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

Ten things you need to know about treating your fungal nail

We are open – call 01628 773588 today for and appointment.
So many people have fungal nails and become increasingly frustrated by the lack of progress using commonly available over the counter treatments. So how do you go about treating your fungal nail?
In this blog we will address infection mechanism and treatment and listed below are ten important things you should know about treating your fungal nail.

1. Generally but not always infection of a nail follows damage.

Treating your fungal nail can be a right pain in the foot.
Nail fungus is an opportunist and normally (but not always) infects following damage to a nail – which is why it often doesn’t spread to the next door healthy nails.
This is why runners often have multiple fungal nail infections because of the damage done to nails by ill fitting and poorly laced running shoes especially when running downhill.

2. You have may caught your fungus from someone else.

The dermophyte responsible for athlete’s foot is naturally occurring on most feet. It is when it reproduces unchecked that we experience the familiar itching, redness and macerated tissue between the toes and changes to the nails.

The fungus may initially been ‘caught’ or transferred to the foot from a communal surface such as a changing room floor, a hotel bathroom, a swimming pool surround, a family member and so on.Biomechanics Image
Having acquired the fungal spore(s) it can be carried in footwear for sometime without becoming active waiting for conditions for activation and propagation to present themselves.

3. Fungus loves shoes.

The warm, dark and moist conditions found inside your shoe when your foot is in it is an ideal environment for a fungus.
Athletes foot is often already present. If you see an infection between the toes it is likely that you already have it on the sole of your foot. And it doesn’t always itch.

4. Fundamental to any fungal treatment is sanitising footwear.

Think about it.

Our footwear is the only article of clothing that we wear day in day out and never clean apart from the occasional polish. Certainly not the inside.
Footwear must be treated at the same time as a fungal infection for comprehensive eradication or re-infection will follow.

5. Don’t just treat your nails.

In addition to treatment of the skin and nails of the foot, anti-fungal spray such as Daktarin Spray should be used every time you change shoes.
Wrapping your shoes in a plastic bag and putting them in the freezer for 24hrs will kill most micro-organisms and give you a head start.
Fungal spores don’t survive above 37degreesC and so wearing socks once and washing them in a 40degreeC wash will sanitise them.

6. Nail fungus is very difficult to eradicate with over the counter products.

First and foremost when a Podiatrist is going to apply an otc (over the counter) product they will remove all of the fungal nail as a starting point.
This will be done far more comprehensively than you will be able to achieve at home and is usually painless as the nail being removed is already lose and not attached to the nail bed.
This allows direct application of the product into the site of the infection.

7. Not all the discolouration you see is ‘live’ fungus. 

A fungal nail infection is like a forest fire – it is easy to see where it has been but it is only active at the leading edge and the ‘leading edge’ of a fungal infection is usually quite a way up underneath the nail towards the matrix – i.e. where it grows from.
This is one of the reasons that fungal nail tests can come back negative  – because the fungal nail clipped from the edge is dead and therefore nothing is produced by a culture.
Clippings need to be taken from high up the nail and include skin scrapings from the same place too. Get your Podiatrist to do it for you.

8. So, what can you do?

So. Having cleared the dead fungal nail away and exposed the site of the infection there is a plethora of products on the market that make various promises which should see them referred to trading standards under the trades description act as unsustainable.
Generally you have fungi-stats such as amorolfine and products which change the pH of the nail – in theory a fungus can’t grow in an acidic environment.
Neither and none appear to be better than any other, clinical evidence of efficacy is patchy and even if they are successful could take several years of assiduous application.

9. What about tablets?

Oral medication is an option and usually (but not always) successful. You will need to speak to your GP about this and they are frequently reluctant to go down that route as there can be side effects. Terbinafine Hydrochloride or lamisil tablets appear the most effective.
If you would like to read more about oral medication and possible side effects – click here.
‘Google’ the subject and educate yourself ahead of a visit to your GP so you can have an informed discussion. You will see liver damage mentioned repeatedly but this is a rare side effect (1 in 50,000 to 1 in 120,000, and if you feel unwell or fail a liver function test then stop taking them!
You will need to be on them for four to six months until a reasonable amount of new nail grows. You can then stop as the remaining fungal nail will be dead and will just grow out.

10. .…….and afterwards?

Two things you should bear in mind if you do get rid of the infection.
  1. getting rid of it does not confer immunity and you could get it again in the future
  2. nail fungus is an opportunist and normally infects a damaged nail so if in the future you damage the nail that is the time to be most vigilant for re-infection.

maidenheadso

Finally, it is generally accepted that lasers are very expensive and results are inconsistent although you will see much on the web to the contrary.

For more information or to make an appointment with one of our Podiatrists, please:

Call:                01628 773588

Email:             info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk

Visit:               www.maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk

How to achieve pain-free sleep

Are you having sleepless nights?

Our Chiropractors are frequently asked about night pain and interrupted sleep. This is a surprisingly common problem and has many possible causes and many possible solutions.

Tips for Pain-Free Sleeping from the Chiropractors at Maidenhead Podiatry and Chiropractic Clinic

Sleep is so important to our health. Deep sleep allows the body to better heal when it is damaged or fighting infection.

It affects our mood and our ability to function. and it also greatly affects how intensely we feel pain.

Do you move when asleep?

We are often unaware that generally we re-position ourselves 20 times or so during the course of a night’s sleep to avoid painful pressure points and uncomfortable positions.

However, if you are intoxicated from too much alcohol or drugs, when you fall asleep you tend to move very little, if at all, through the night and this can explain whilst waking after a ‘heavy night’ you can feel so stiff!

Pillows and mattresses

Advice on pillows, mattresses and sleeping positions are so important because buying what we sleep on and in, should be done with care.

Whenever possible look for a ‘try-before-you-buy’ product that you can spend a good 15mins lying on to help you decide if you will be comfortable for many hours and years to come. Some mattress manufacturers now offer a money back guarantee.

Ask yourself, “is the product large/wide enough for my partner and I?”

How good is it and long will it last?

When buying a bed remember you will be getting in and out of it for many years, at times when you may well be less fit and mobile than you currently are!

Beware of flashy wording and branding and products long on promise and short on quality. Believe it or not, despite the craze for “orthopaedic” mattresses and pillows, there are minimal regulations governing how manufacturers describe their own goods, and a well-branded item is not necessarily better than another.

Best to make your own comparison and find the one that’s right for you.

……..and what about the mattress and base?

How firm should a mattress be?

Individuals require different mattresses, so finding a balance for you and your partner’s needs is important, but it isn’t the only thing you need to consider.

…and the bed base?

The base of the bed will greatly affect the support you get, so an ageing, worn mattress on a hard base may provide enough support, whilst a firm mattress on a soft base may be inadequate.

Generally the heavier you are the more support you need.

The deeper you sag into a soft mattress and base, the harder you will find it to turn, so do try moving and turning on any you try before buying.

Remember to turn your mattress to get the most life out of it. (Some manufacturers specify that their mattresses shouldn’t be turned, so always read the label)

If you opt for a spring-filled mattress, choosing one with more springs should give better comfort and support.

If you wish to get a little more comfort but can’t afford a new mattress, consider a mattress topper. Usually made of memory foam, a mattress topper will help conform to the shape of your back while you sleep.

Our Chiropractors have over thirty years of experience between them and commonly consult on a range of conditions from low back pain to headaches, from elbow pain to referred pain as well as a range of mechanical, structural and functional issues.

If you would like more information or to make an appointment with one of our Chiropractors, call 01628 773588 or e-mail info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

Ten things you need to know if you are constantly on your feet

The ligaments, tendons, and muscles in our feet support and coordinate movement. So walking helps strengthen them and keeps them supple.

Ten things you need to know if you are on your feet most of the day.

1. Forget fashion

Unless your footwear at work is specified in your contract, or is part of your uniform, make sure you choose the most practical and appropriate shoe/boot for your profession.Don’t be a fashion victim, choose work specific footwear.

2. Before exercising or spending a long time on your feet

Consult your podiatrist if you start to develop any pain when walking, or consider a visit before embarking on a new walking program or taking on a new job where you know you are going to be on your feet for an extended period.

3. Current footwear

Properly fitting shoes is the key to keeping your feet healthy and comfortable. Whatever type of walking you do, wearing the right footwear is essential. When buying shoes especially walking shoes, try numerous brands, styles, and sizes. Walking shoes/boots do not come in different width fittings but widths vary with different manufacturers.

4. Your feet can expand as much as half a size during the day

Buy shoes in the afternoon or early evening when your feet are at their largest.

Feet can expand by as much as half a size as the day goes on.That is why shoes can feel as if they are getting tighter the longer you wear them.

This will help protect them as they expand during your long walks. Also, wearing the same type of socks when fitting shoes that you wear when you walk will help you choose the right shoe.

Once you have made your purchase – take care of them.

5. Once I have my shoes/boots, what next?

If you are going on a long walk, prepare well ahead. When you first have your shoes/boots wear them around the house. This will keep them clean in case you need to take them back; it also allows you to get used to them on even, consistent surfaces. You can try different socks in the comfort of our own home too.

Wear your shoes for a ‘trial walk’ and build up the distance gradually. Don’t try to complete the Three Peaks on your first trip!

6. What else can I do?

It’s also a good idea to examine your feet every day, and pay a visit to your local HCPCregistered podiatrist who will be able to give advice. There they will treat any corns, callus, or any foot issue you may have.

7. Before you set off:

  • Pack simple first aid supplies, such as plasters or antiseptic cream, for your walking trip in case of accidents
  • It’s also a good idea to put Vaseline between your toes to prevent chafing. This makes it an ideal lubricant
  • Applied as a lubricant at the start of an event, such as between the toes, it will still be working well at the end

8. Warm-up

Begin your walk at a slow pace, increasing the pace of your walking gradually. This gives the muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments that support the structure and movement a chance to get used to the activity by degree.

If you do experience any discomfort or foot pain, then it could be an indication that something isn’t right. In many cases, early diagnosis prevents a small injury from becoming a larger one.

9. Socks, and choice of socks are important

Good socks not only add to the comfort of your feet in your shoes but will also helps keep them dry, drawing moisture away from the feet.

It isn’t a good idea to wear 100% cotton socks as they hold moisture against the skin, and can lead to painful blistering.

Wool and silk are often blended with synthetic materials. If you find wool too warm or too irritating, you could try acrylic blended socks. Socks made with new material such as CoolMax or DriMax are designed to draw sweat away from the skin, keeping feet dry. Double thickness socks are great, particularly with distance walking, if you are prone to blisters.

10. Insoles can help support your foot

Frequently, an appropriate insole or orthotic can give the extra support you nee for a long shift.

Orthoses are available in a range of prices and styles, from off the shelf/one size fits all, to a fully moulded and customised professional product that will last you years.

At Maidenhead Podiatry we offer a complete musculo-skeletal and bio-mechanical package including fitting and follow-up.

If you would like more information or make an appointment with one of our Podiatrists, give us a call on 01628 773588 or e-mail info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk

Shin splints & metatarsalgia – a guest blog by Jeremy Ousey MSc MCPod

Do I have shin splints?

Frequently patients come into clinic complaining of conditions like shin splints and metatarsalgia.

These are two ‘diagnoses’ which are common labels used by many people, healthcare professionals, sports professionals and our friend Geena who works down the club and gets that exact same pain in her foot… We can all be guilty of it, but what do they mean and why is using these terms a problem?

Well… I’m sure we’ve all had that moment where we are laying in a dark room having maxed out on the pain killers we have in the cupboard and hoping that the clock quietens down with its ticking because it’s making that throbbing in our head feel even worse.

Then that thought comes into our head, “what is causing this pain??? Is it dehydration? Is it just a migraine? Maybe I ate something… and that is a stark reality, we can have pain in an area and not realise what’s causing it and while a migraine compared to an achy forefoot (metatarsalgia) is quite a contrast, we wouldn’t want the doctor treating our migraine like a hangover, and even less would we like him to treat our hangover like a migraine!

So why are shin splints, metatarsalgia and arthritis such a series of misnomers? Well, let’s break them down…

Shin splints

Shin splints is a term that gets used so interchangeably that it’s hard to know what people mean, but the commonly accepted diagnosis that it is linked to is “medial tibial stress syndrome”.

This being said, it can be used for multiple tendinopathies, exertional leg pain and even apophysitis (stress/injury to muscle/tendon attachment in children) such as that of Osgood-Schlatter’s.

Medial tibial stress syndrome is really a low grade stress reaction in the tibia that is typically the result of torsional (twisting) forces as the foot, ankle and leg make contact with the ground, ultimately causing a very low grade stress response (the precursor to a stress fracture).

So when its put like that, we’re dealing with a few different potential diagnoses… so if the diagnoses are different, surely the treatment has to be too? Let’s look at metatarsalgia…

Metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia, when the word is broken down means “pain in the forefoot”. It doesn’t include toe pain, although the pain can radiate into the toes.

Metatarsalgia can be the result of inflamed joints, overloading of tendons, structural anomalies, arthritic changes or swollen, inflamed or trapped nerves. All of these things can cause foot pain, but the treatment for the specific condition should need to be different for each problem.

Arthritis

Arthritis is a highly generic term but in reality has a very specific meaning which varies on context.

There are various types of arthritis – osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis etc, but quite often a diagnosis of arthritis may be made based off of an x-ray due to a narrowing of the joint spaces – which is actually typical in a huge proportion of the population who are “over a certain age”.

That said, the presence of arthritic changes do not necessarily mean that pain is guaranteed; in fact, there are a huge number of people walking or even running around whose knees are “bone on bone” with minimal or no pain. Equally there are a huge number of people who have joint pain but an x-ray examination shows no signs of that dreaded “wear and tear”.

There is a real paradigm shift going on within healthcare where we are concerned about the language we use and what that language means for our patients.

Equally, there is general misdiagnosis being made by those less experienced in diagnosing foot pain, and as a result I see many patients who go through life suffering with their feet for years until they get the correct diagnosis.

Always make sure that you get a diagnosis when you see a clinician and are not given a generic condition such as shin splints or metatarsalgia… 

About Jeremy Ousey MSc MCPod

Jeremy Ousey  is an HCPC registered Podiatrist and CASE qualified sonographer.

Having worked in podiatric surgical units, physiotherapy and multi-disciplinary practices, he takes a multi-faceted and patient-centred approach to care. With a bachelors in Podiatry, postgraduate degrees in podiatric sports medicine and medical ultrasound and a masters in the theory of podiatric surgery he allows evidence to guide his treatment plans.

Jeremy lectures on heel pain, extra-corporeal shockwave therapy, musculoskeletal examination, treatment of the foot and ankle including management of ankle sprains and verruca needling.

His interests are in the surgical management of skin lesions, nail surgery, musculoskeletal and biomechanical evaluation, acute and chronic sports injuries, tendinopathies, diagnostic ultrasound and surgical management of foot and ankle pathology

If you would like any more information or to book an appointment with Jeremy then please call Maidenhead Podiatry & Chiropractic Clinic on 01628 773588 or email info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk

(Radial) Shockwave Therapy (SWT)

(Radial) SHOCKWAVE Therapy (SWT)

Radial Shockwave is a tried, tested, and well-researched treatment used in physiotherapy since the 1990s. It has gained popularity due to its effectiveness and application across a wide range of professions.

What would you use it for?

SWT is used by both our podiatrists and our chiropractors to treat a variety of conditions including those listed below. The list isn’t exclusive:

  • Heel pain – Plantar fasciitis
  • Shoulder pain
  • Tennis elbow – lateral epicondylitis
  • Golfer’s elbow – medial epicondylitis
  • Heel spur
  • Hip pain
  • Rotator cuff – calcifying tendonitis
  • Jumper’s knee – quadriceps tendonitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Chronic tendinopathy including Achilles tendonitis

How does it work?

Shockwaves are transient acoustic waves which uniquely transmit high energy peaks used to both disintegrate and heal.

Shockwave Therapy is supported by numerous clinical studies attesting to its healing and reparative effects on tissue with over 80% success in relieving symptoms and reducing or eliminating pain.

SWT is tested and approved by physicians all over the world and used from out-patient clinics to amateur sportspeople to Olympic athletes. Also is used in rehabilitation, podiatry, chiropractic, physiotherapy, orthopaedics, veterinary medicine, aesthetics, and dermatology.

Medical effects

The high energy peak acoustic waves generated by SWT interact with tissue stimulating the medical effects of accelerating tissue repair and cell growth, reducing pain, and improving range of movement.

Some of the independent and combined effects of SWT are:

  • Capillary micro-ruptures in tendon and bone trigger repair processes leading to the creation of new blood vessels reversing chronic inflammation by increasing mast cell activity
  • Collagen production is stimulated by accelerated procollagen synthesis
  • Breaking down of calcium build-up in calcific disorders
  • Dispersion of pain mediators
  • Trigger point release.

Frequently asked questions

Will Shock Wave Therapy help me?

Most people experiencing chronic pain have unsuccessfully tried other treatments. Over 80% of the same people worldwide report SWT has helped resolve their condition.

How long does it take?

The application of SWT within your appointment is normally completed in around five minutes.

Does it hurt?

Depending on the level of pain already being experienced in the area to be treated there may be some discomfort. Treatments normally last less than five minutes meaning that any discomfort is tolerable but the intensity can be varied during the session to suit patient preference.

How many treatments will I need?

This varies depending on the nature of the condition being treated and the response of the patient. Effects are cumulative, typically more than one but fewer than six visits with relief normally experienced from the first visit onwards.

Will there be any soreness afterwards?

Sometimes there may be some tenderness for a short period but nothing intolerable or limiting.

Is there anything I can’t do following treatment?

It is sensible to avoid physical exertion for a couple of days following treatment to allow healing to take place.

If you would like more information or to book an appointment with one of our podiatrists or chiropractors please call 01628 773588 or e-mail info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk

Do you have tiny holes in the skin on the soles of your feet?

Punctate or pitted keratolysis

This is a condition characterised by multiple tiny holes on the top layer of the skin mainly on the soles of the feet. It can also be found between the toes, but usually affects pressure areas, such as the ball of the foot, heels and the pads of the toes.

Often it is accompanied with a distinctive smell.

What causes it?

Puncate or pitted keratolysis is thought to be caused by bacteria. Several species of bacteria are responsible including corynebacteria, Dermatophilus congolensisKytococcus sedentarius, actinomyces and streptomyces.

The small holes, or ‘pitting’ are due to the horny cells (stratum corneum) being destroyed by protease enzymes produced by the bacteria. This process is fed and exacerbated by moist conditions meaning that this condition is often found on sweaty feet.

The bad smell is due to sulfur compounds produced by the bacteria – thiols, sulfides and thioesters.

Who can develop it?

This condition is experienced more by men than women. Any profession where you are constantly on your feet and footwear is worn for extended periods makes the wearer prone to developing it. Examples are soldiers, farmers, industrial workers and fishermen but this list is by no means exclusive.

What is likely to make it worse?

This list isn’t exhaustive but these are some of the main influencers –

  • Hot, humid weather
  • Occlusive, fully enclosed footwear, such as rubber boots or vinyl shoes
  • Excessively sweaty feet (hyperhidrosis)
  • Thickened skin of the soles of the feet (keratoderma/hyperkeratosis)
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Aging
  • Immunodeficiency

What does it look and smell like?

Puncate keratolysis usually results in very smelly feet This is caused by infection of the soles of the feet. Either the forefoot or the heel or both become white with clusters of punched-out pits.

The appearance is clearer and more dramatic when the feet are wet, such as after a bath or shower, swimming or long periods in the same shoes.

It can affect the fingers but this is very rare. There is a variant where there are more diffuse or wide spread, red areas on the soles of the foot.

The key things to look for are –

  • Mainly affects the soles, forefoot, the heel and pads of toes or all three. Palms are very rarely infected.
  • Presents as  whitish skin surface with clusters of multiple, fine punched-out pits.
  • Pits can often join together to form larger, crater-like lesions.
  • A variant presents with diffuse red areas on the soles of the feet
  • Strong foot odour.

Why would you visit a Podiatrist?

The pits can present a striking and worrying appearance to the soles of the feet, but they don’t usually present with other symptoms such as pain. Occasionally, in chronic conditions, there  can be some itching and soreness associated on walking or standing.

The usual reason for concern is the strong smell that accompanies this condition.

A Podiatrist is trained to recognise this condition but if there is any doubt, skin scrappings and culture are possible to confirm which bacteria are involved.

How is it treated?

There are a number of topical anti-biotics and anti-septics that can be successfully applied, but these are normally only accessed through your GP.

Fucidic acid cream (or Fucidin) can be applied topically and if this fail, Clindamycin can be taken orally. Other medications are available and this would need to be discussed with your GP to decide the best treatment on an individual basis.

How can I prevent it or prevent it reoccurring?

Pitted keratolysis can recur quickly unless the feet are kept dry. the following are some ideas and steps to take to prevent that –

  • Wear boots for as little time as possible
  • Wear socks that allow effective absorption of sweat, ie cotton and/or wool
  • Wear open-toed shoes/sandals whenever possible
  • Wash feet with soap/detergent or antiseptic wash twice daily
  • Apply antiperspirant to the feet regularly
  • Do not wear the same shoes two days in a row allowing them to dry out
  • Nevershare footwear or towels with others.

If you would like more information or to make an appointment with one of our Podiatrists, call 01628 773588 or email info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

Do I have hammer toes and can they be treated?

What is a toe deformity?

There are various types of smaller toe deformities and depending on shape are classified as hammer, clawed or retracted toes.

There are three small bones (phalanges) in each of your four smaller (lesser) toes. The bones are connected by ligaments, which dictate range of movement and prevent dislocation. Tendons connect muscle to bone within the foot and control movement and provide stability relative to the ground when walking.

Larger muscles and tendons within the leg move the toes. Toe deformities can occur when there is a muscle imbalance within the foot and the leg. Buckling of the toes can be due to external pressures from shoes and direct injury resulting in toe deformity. Inflammatory and neurological conditions can cause toe deformity as well.

What causes the problem?

As with bunions, there is no single cause of lesser (small) toe deformities. They are frequently caused by defective mechanical structure in the foot which can be a result of genetics; certain foot types pre-dispose development of toe deformities.

Changes to lesser toe shape are commonly due to pressure from shoes or the next toe which can result in painful hard skin forming. It is quite common to see corns and calluses around the tips of toes or on top of small toe joints.

Poorly fitting footwear tends to aggravate the problem, squeezing the forefoot, crowding the toes together and worsening the underlying condition, resulting in pain and deformity of the joint. As we get older, toe deformities may progress become more pronounced. Arthritis and trauma can also play a role.

Is it serious?

Many people have pronounced toe deformities that are painless, but can cause problems with footwear, while other, more subtle toe deformities that can be very painful. Although treatment can ease pain, only surgery can correct the deformity.

Sometimes, pressure from adjacent toes can lead a cascade effect resulting in further toe deformities and/or pain in the metatarsals (long bones in the forefoot). For example, when deformity of the small toes is made worse by increasing bunion changes.

Patients who have altered nerve or blood supply to their feet and are assessed as at risk of lower limb loss, often first present with ulcers on their smaller toes. Left untreated, seemingly small issues can progress rapidly to limb threatening problems.

Who gets it?

Anyone, but they tend to be more common in women, likely due to more restrictive footwear. Parents or grandparents have toe deformities, may make you more prone to developing them. Medical conditions such as diabetes or inflammatory arthritis may also lead to development of severe toe deformities as the disease develops.

How do I prevent toe deformities?

Wearing sensible shoes that fit well is a good start. Choose wider shoes that provide toes with room to move and keep your heel height to no more than 4cm. Consider the following –

  • If you do to wear heels, vary your heel heights from day to day, one day wearing low heels and the next day slightly higher heels
  • Avoid backless, high-heeled shoes.as they force your toes to claw as you walk
  • A shoe with a fastening over the instep holds the foot secure and stable reducing the need for you to try to stabilise your foot with your toes
  • With existing toe deformities, try to accommodate your toes by selecting shoes that have a wider/deeper toe-box

Your podiatrist may recommend the following:

  • Conservative or no treatment (you can elect to live with your toe problems)
  • Regular foot-care by a Podiatrist to reduce callus build-up
  • Use of foot cream and topical medication for associated problems
  • Splints, shields, off-loading devices, pads and shoe alterations/footwear advice
  • The opinion of a Podiatric Surgeon

Non-surgical treatments can help relieve symptoms but it is unlikely they can correct the underlying deformity. Your podiatric surgeon will evaluate the extent of the deformity and remodel the shape of your toes, allowing a greater chance of fitting inside an average shoe.

Surgery is complex and intricate as deformities of the small toes can occur in any one of the three joints in each toe and in any direction. There are numerous surgical options for toe deformities and an increasing number of new technologies in surgery for small joints.

The aim of surgery is to address the underlying cause of the deformity to prevent recurrence. As with all surgery, there are risks and complications, and it is important to balance any potential risk against perceived reward when considering foot surgery.

You should certainly consider getting an opinion about surgery or surgical options from a Podiatric Surgeon if you are in pain or experiencing progressing deformity.

When should I see a podiatric surgeon about it?

If you experience any foot care issues which do not resolve themselves naturally or through routine foot care, then ask your Podiatrist to refer you to a Podiatric Surgeon.

Your Podiatric Surgeon will discuss options in a shared decision-making process accounting for your presenting symptoms, age, activity level, occupation and medical history, in conjunction with appropriate imaging. This will help you to make an informed decision on what is best for you.

Podiatrists and Podiatric Surgeons are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). You can check your professional is registered here.

If you would like more information or to make an appointment with one of our Podiatrists, call 01628 773588 or email info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

Oral medication (terbinafine) has been recommended for my fungal nails – is it safe?

Terbinafine and fungal nails

There are too many topical anti-fungal preparations currently on the market to list them all here. Their success also varies enormously and is covered in another blog. click here to read.

Having visited your Podiatrist or GP and had your nail infection confirmed as fungal, there are three main options.

  • Do nothing
  • Try an over-the-counter or prescription anti-fungal topical application
  • GP prescribed oral medication

There are two mainly used oral anti-fungal medicines – itraconazole and terbinafine. This blog will look specifically at terbinafine (hydrocloride) because at Maidenhead Podiatry we are frequently asked about its potential side effects.

Liver problems were only reported in 0.1% of patients. 1 in 1000; but only 1 in 50,000 to 1 in 120,000 were serious

What is terbinafine (hydrochloride)?

Terbinafine is an allylamine drug, meaning it works by inhibiting squalene epoxidase, an enzyme involved in the synthesis of ergosterol, a component in fungal cell walls.

Terbinafine is available as cream, gel, spray and, of course, tablets for oral administration at the time of writing.

What is the history of terbinafine?

It is used in the treatment of onychomycosis or fungal nails (as well as a range of fungal skin infections). Terbinafine has been available since the early 1990s in the UK and the late 1990s in USA, but there has always been some reluctance regarding its potential side effects particularly those affecting the liver when taken orally.

When terbinafine was first deployed as a new antifungal, the choices for treatment of fungal nails were limited. Topical treatments were often, and remain, disappointing.

Until the 90s, oral griseofulvin and ketoconazole were the oral drugs of choice, indicated for dermatophyte or fungal nail infection, but they were far from effective. Generally, they required long courses with a narrow spectrum of activity leading to many patients giving up when they experienced unpleasant side effects.

The idea of a new, modern, antifungal drug was appealing with subsequent studies suggesting it had twice the success rate of griseofulvin and it became widely used in the treatment of dermatophyte nail infections.

How is terbinafine metabolised?

As with many drugs, terbinafine is metabolised by the liver and excreted by the kidneys, consequently a reduction in function of either of those two organ systems could result in serious problems and correct prescribing is crucial.

Terbinafine is highly lipophilic (combining with or dissolving lipids) and tends to accumulate in hair, skin, nails, and fatty tissue where it inhibits fungal growth..

What about terbinafine and liver damage?

The possibility of liver disease (hepatotoxicity) with terbinafine has long been known and drug manufacturers have highlighting that it should not be prescribed for patients with liver disease. Terbinafine, like nearly all classes of medications, has been shown to be able to induce idiosyncratic liver injury or drug induced liver injury (DILI), but that doesn’t mean it will.

The causes of DILI are many, although pre-existing liver disease may play a part. In otherwise healthy individuals it’s cause and reason for development is unclear, although genetic susceptibility may be responsible. As a consequence, The British National Formulary advises it should not be used in patients with known liver disorders. For those that are prescribed the drug, they should have liver function tests before starting and periodically after 4–6 weeks of treatment to assess liver function.

The test monitors the levels of liver enzymes present in the bloodstream. Elevation of these enzyme levels can signal early changes in liver function. Tablets are often prescribed a month at a time, the next month being prescribed only following a successful test.

Is terbinafine safe?

Hepatotoxicity or liver function problems are rare but the more common side effects in patients taking the drug include

  • gastro-intestinal upset,
  • taste disturbances,
  • headache
  • rashes

Further, liver problems may not be as common as is perceived. A 1996 British study reviewed 9879 patients who had taken the oral terbinafine. Half of these had other illnesses and conditions and were taking other medications at the same time. 14% reported various side effects but only half of these were thought to be related to the terbinafine as reported by their physicians.

Liver problems were only reported in 0.1% of patients. 1 in 1000

(14 cases) of which 10 cases were classified as minor and transient elevations in liver enzymes. In addition, some of these patients were found to have pre-existing history of liver disease (gall bladder disease, alcohol related changes, hepatitis and cirrhosis).

There were no terbinafine associated deaths.

The National Library of Medicine Liver Toxicity Database report on terbinafine shows less than one percent of patients see an increase in liver enzymes in the bloodstream and most resolve with stopping treatment. It estimates the probability of developing elevated liver enzymes levels requiring stopping treatment is about 0.31% for 2 to 6 weeks’ treatment and 0.44% for treatment lasting longer than 8 weeks.

It concludes that clinically apparent liver injury from terbinafine occurs rarely, in around 1 in 50,000 to 120,000 prescriptions.

How do I decide?

Remember,

  • no drug can ever be 100% effective for everyone so success isn’t guaranteed
  • successful resolution doesn’t mean you can’t get it again
  • re-infection within 12 months is not only possible but likely
  • successful resolution must be followed by an anti-fungal regime
  • leaving a fungal nail untreated rarely causes problems

As with most classes of drugs, terbinafine can potentially lead to liver problems. However, the data from the above control suggests that oral terbinafine is safer than perhaps it is perceived, and minor side effects are far more likely for most patients than serious liver damage.

Data from studies suggest the risk of serious liver injury to be between 1 in 50 000 and 1 in 120 000

Despite its rarity, patients taking terbinafine who exhibit any of the symptoms of liver problems (nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, anorexia, general itching and dark urine) should urgently be referred for further assessment.

If you would like more information , or to make an appointment with one of our Podiatrists, call on 01628 773588 or email info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

What is Diabetes?

At Maidenhead Podiatry we are frequently asked – what is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic, potentially debilitating disease.

It occurs as a result of problems with the production and supply of a hormone called insulin.

Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas by the islets of Langerhans which regulates the amount of glucose in the blood.

In type 1 diabetes the body either produces no or insufficient insulin and in type 2, or late onset diabetes, the body can’t use the insulin it produces effectively.

Type 1 diabetes is sometimes called insulin-dependant, immune-mediated or juvenile onset diabetes.

It is caused by an auto-immune reaction where the body’s defence system attacks the insulin producing cells.

The reason this happens isn’t understood but explains why the onset of diabetes often follows illness.

It can affect people of any age but usually occurs in children or young adults.

Type 1 diabetics need regular injections of insulin to control the level of glucose in their blood.

Type 2 diabetes is also known as non-insulin dependant or late onset diabetes.

Generally speaking type 2 diabetics do not usually require insulin injections but instead control their blood glucose through diet, medication and exercise.

Type 2 diabetes is most common in people over 45 years old who are also overweight however the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in adolescents and young adults is dramatically increasing.

Similar to older-onset type 2 diabetes, the major predisposing risk factors are obesity, family history, and sedentary lifestyle.

Onset of diabetes at a younger age (defined here as up to age 40 years) is associated with longer disease exposure and increased risk for chronic complications.

Young-onset type 2 diabetes also. affects more individuals of working age, accentuating the adverse societal effects of the disease

Furthermore, evidence is accumulating that young-onset type 2 diabetes has a more aggressive disease phenotype.

This can lead to premature development of complications, with adverse effects on quality of life and unfavourable effects on long-term outcomes, raising the possibility of a future public health catastrophe.

Some pregnant women develop a third type called gestational diabetes.

It develops in 2-5% of pregnancies but usually disappears post-partum.

Having gestational diabetes means an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in later life.

Impaired glucose tolerance means blood glucose levels above what is considered normal but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes.

Although there is a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and so significant changes to lifestyle including diet and exercise are strongly encouraged.

Type 1 diabetes

Recognising type 1 diabetes is important and the onset of symptoms can often be rapid and include

  • abnormal thirst and dry mouth
  • frequent urination
  • extreme tiredness and lack of energy
  • constant hunger
  • sudden weight loss
  • slow healing wounds
  • recurrent infections
  • blurred vision

Type 2 diabetes

These symptoms can also occur in type 2 diabetes but are often less obvious as the onset is usually more gradual and therefore harder to detect.

When it is finally  diagnosed it may have developed several years earlier with complications already present.

With impaired insulin production and action, sugar remains in the blood causing hyperglycaemia or raised blood sugar and it is this that can cause short and long term issues which can compromise health and lifestyle.

In the longer term, living with diabetes can lead to complications and a diabetic should always be mindful and aware of changes in their health.

Changes to the feet can take place with loss of sensation called neuropathy and reduction in peripheral circulation which in turn can lead to compromised healing.

The Podiatrists at Maidenhead Podiatry regularly perform diabetic foot checks for patients including

  • Visual health check
  • Skin colour and condition
  • Nail health
  • Pulse testing using Doppler
  • Sensation testing using 10g filament
  • Fine sensation testing using 128Hz tuning fork
  • Hot/cold temperature distinction

Early diagnosis and changes made to lifestyle and environment can significantly lessen the impact type 1 diabetes and those same changes in an adult can dramatically reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

There are many misconceptions about diabetes.

  • Anyone and everyone is at risk
  • Diabetes hits all populations regardless of income or social status
  • Diabetes is becoming increasingly common
  • More than 240 million people have diabetes worldwide
  • 380 million will have developed it by 2025
  • In Asia, Middle East, Oceania and Caribbean up to 20% of people are diabetic
  • Diabetes affects all age groups
  • Diabetes affects women proportionately slightly more than men
  • Up to 80% of type 2 diabetes is preventable

Ask us for a free copy of Diabetes : understanding your test results.

If you would like more information about foot care at Maidenhead Podiatry or to make an appointment to see one of our podiatrists please call 01628 773588 and speak to one of our reception team.

Ever thought about visiting a Chiropractor and wonder what they do?

Have you ever thought about visiting a Chiropractor but wondered what they do?

iStock_000001738011Medium

We took some time to speak to our Chiropractic team – Rebecca Rees (BSC) and Dr Lucy Steel (BSc, MSc, DC) to find out a bit more about what they do, how they could help you and about a typical days work, here is what they had to say:

How long have you been a Chiropractor?

Rebecca: I studied for my BSc in Chiropractic treatment at the Anglo European College of Chiropractic in 1994.  I have been practicing for the last 27 years.

Lucy: I studied for my BSc in Human Biology at Leeds University and my MSc and DC in Chiropractic at the University of Surrey in 2004.  I have been practicing for the last 17 years. I have a special interest Chiropractic during and following pregnancy.

What governing bodies are you a member of?

We are both registered members of the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) and the General Chiropractic Council (GCC).

What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is the treatment of spine and mechanical joint disorders. It is a common misconception that Chiropractors only treat backs. They can treat a wide variety of functional and mechanical disorders of any joints in the body.

What is a Chiropractic treatment?

Chiropractic treatment focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system and the effects of these disorders on general health. Treatment may involve – joint manipulation, soft tissue work, mechanical treatment such as Shockwave, RICE and rehabilitation advice.

What can a Chiropractor treat?

Our Chiropractors don’t just manage back pain but can also help with a wide range of conditions, head to toe, including –

  • Uncomplicated neck pain
  • Acute and chronic back pain
  • Osteo-arthritis (OA) and joint pain (as an addition to core OA treatments & exercise)
  • Leg pain
  • Prevention of migraine
  • Exercise guidance
  • Tension and inability to relax (through lifestyle advice)
  • Rehabilitation
  • Deep Tissue Massage
  • Muscle spasms and cramp
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain

Treatment is supported with individual advice and guidance about lifestyle, work and exercise to help manage a condition. You may be recommended massage, ice or heat treatment and specific exercises which you can safely do at home.

How do you treat these symptoms?

We help manage the discomfort through working on all the joints of the body, concentrating particularly on the spine/ spinal cord. We use their hands to make specific, gentle adjustments (the chiropractic term for manipulation) to improve mobility of joints, efficiency of the nervous system and release the body’s natural healing ability.

What could your clients expect on their first visit?

During your initial consultation we would explain about Chiropractic care and understand your personal situation through physical examination, observations and X-rays as needed. Our Chiropractors support the treatment they offer with individual guidance on lifestyle, work and exercise to help manage the condition.  We will agree a plan with our clients that best supports their ongoing treatment requirements.

Who could benefit from Chiropractic treatment?

People of all ages can benefit from chiropractic treatment, from a newly born baby to  over 100 years of age. Your consultation will be used to assess your requirements and the appropriateness of treatment. Following informed consent, your first visit will include treatment when assessed as appropriate.

Tell us one interesting thing about you?

Rebecca: My belief is that you are never too old to benefit from chiropractic treatment.

Lucy: My passion lies in the care of pregnant women, babies and children, most of my post-graduate training has been in these areas.

For more information or to find out more about how our Chiropractors can help or to book your appointment, please:

Call: 01628 779900

Email:  info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk

Visit:   maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk/treatments/chiropractic/

Your feet are amazing, don’t ignore them!

Don’t ignore your feet

When we are standing, running, walking and exercising, we take our amazing feet for granted. We use them in almost every activity, from walking to skiing, from football to rugby, from jogging to swimming.

What do you know about your feet?

For most of us, our feet are just something we walk on, just the point of contact between our body and the ground, but read on for some fascinating foot facts.

Animals are classified as plantigrade or digitigrade, depending on how much of their foot they walk on.

  • Plantigrades walk on the whole of their feet (such as people, bears, baboons, alligators and frogs).
  • Digitigrades walk on their toes (such as dogs, cats, birds and dinosaurs).

A biped is an animal with two feet (from the Latin bis, “twice”, and pes, “foot”).

Feet have many functions throughout the animal kingdom, not just locomotion.

  • Gannets use their webbed feet to incubate eggs,
  • butterflies ‘taste’ with their feet
  • elephants ‘hear’ through the soles of their feet, picking up vibrations from the ground
  • Geckos feet are sticky to allow them to ‘stick’ to surfaces
  • Ostriches only have two toes, but combined with long legs, can reach 40mph
  • Horses are the only animal with only one ‘toe’
  • mosquitos have scaled feet to allow them to land on water
  • crocodiles webbed feet take them from water to land
  • flying lemurs have toes that act like suction cups

As humans, we use Podiatrists (Chiropodists) to ensure good and continuing foot health. From a legal and registration point of view, the terms Chiropodist and Podiatrist are interchangeable and both or either require registration by the HCPC – The Health Care Professions Council.

The word Chiropodist comes from the Greek ‘cheir’ meaning hand, ‘pod’ meaning foot and ‘ist’ the person who practices.

The term originated in England around 1785 largely to describe ‘corn cutters’ in an attempt to separate the emerging profession from its perceived humble roots, but is not widely recognised internationally. Therefore, the change to ‘Podiatrist’ in the mid 1990s.

Podiatrist comes from the Greek ‘pod’ meaning foot and ‘iatreia’ meaning healing, thus, one who heals feet.

A Podiatrist will not only treat your feet and lower leg, but will advise and educate you on the best way to look after your feet.

Many people ignore their feet while pounding the treadmill or cross training, but they can be considered the very foundation of physical well-being.

  • One quarter of the bones in the body are found in the feet and ankles
  • Most movement begins in your feet and much like the foundation of a building they determine stability
  • Perhaps the most neglected yet complex structure in the body
  • A marvel of biomechanics
  • When feet are strengthened it increases and reinforces whole body balance and core stability.

Almost eight out of 10  American adults have experienced a foot problem, according to a 2014 survey by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). The poll also revealed that 25% of adults were unable to exercise because of foot pain.

Many foot injuries are due to overuse, or trying to do too much with too little support.

Toes don’t need to have the dexterity of fingers but some dexterity is important and the muscles of the feet need to have strength.”

It is easy to exercise your feet.

  • Try picking up a duster, towel or marbles with your toes and strengthen the muscles that build arch strength
  • Stand on one foot for 10 seconds is a good way to build core strength. If it becomes too easy then do it with your eyes closed. This is useful in preventing falls in the elderly
  • spread, point and individually lift your toes
  • roll a tennis ball or drinks can underfoot
  • stand on tiptoe to strengthen your calves

Feet are integral to every movement and improving their fitness can only be beneficial.

many aspects of footcare can be tackled at home, but sometimes it is best to seek professional help and advice to determine the best way forwards.

If you would like more information about Podiatry or to make an appointment with one of our Podiatrists to discuss your treatment options, call 01628 773588 or e-mail info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

Ever thought about visiting a Podiatrist and wondered what they do?

 

Have you ever thought about visiting a Podiatrist and wondered what they do?

And what is the difference between a Chiropodist and a Podiatrist? Read on to have our most commonly asked questions answered.

How many Podiatrists are there at Maidenhead Podiatry?

We currently have eight Podiatrists working at the clinic. Not everyone works at the same time or same number of hours but between us we provide clinic based treatments, home and nursing/care home visits.

Which governing bodies are our Podiatrists a member of and how are we regulated?

Our Podiatrists are all HCPC registered and Insured Members of the College of Podiatry. The HCPC is our government regulating body and the College of Podiatry provides our professional registration and insurance. It is vital to ensure that anyone who provides you with such an essential service is qualified, insured, registered and regulated.

What is a Podiatry?

Podiatrist comes from the Greek ‘pod’ meaning foot and ‘iatreia’ meaning healing, hence one who heals feet. The term originated around 1914 in an attempt to separate an emerging profession from its perceived humble roots. Chiropody developed as a profession in the UK while being called Podiatry in almost every other country. In the mid-1990s, our profession changed it’s name from Chiropody to Podiatry to bring us in-line with the rest of the world, but the skill set remained the same.

In the last thirty years, Podiatry has developed considerably as a profession with today’s Podiatrists capable of providing a wide ranging and comprehensive service in every health care aspect of the lower leg and foot.

Podiatrists are skilled healthcare professionals who have been trained to degree level to prevent, diagnose, treat and rehabilitate abnormal conditions of the feet and lower limbs. We can also prevent and correct deformity helping to keep people mobile, active and relieve pain.

What symptoms can you help treat?

Podiatrists can help a number of common conditions including but not limited to

  • gait analysis
  • bio-mechanical assessment
  • musculo-skeletal assessment
  • corns
  • callus
  • shockwave
  • verrucas
  • fungal nails
  • ingrown  nails
  • cryosurgery – verruca freezing
  • flat foot
  • hammer toes
  • diabetic assessment
  • heel pain
  • foot pain
  • Swift verruca microwave

What could your clients expect on their first visit?

Every patient journey at Maidenhead Podiatry begins with a consultation.

We take a comprehensive history including underlying medical conditions and medication. We then discuss the reason for attending followed by an examination. At this point treatment options are presented and following informed consent, we formulate a treatment plan and proceed with the best solution.

Depending on your reason for attending, your treatment plan could include

  • treatment
  • diabetic assessment
  • modalities such as Shockwave and Swift
  • advice
  • rehabilitation
  • sonography
  • surgery
  • ongoing assessment
  • onward referral

What do you use for assessment?

Most important are visual clues such as hair growth pattern and colour of the skin. Depending on patient requirement, we could use any of the following

  • observation
  • examination
  • palpation
  • 10g monofilament – to test for neuropathy
  • 128Hz tuning fork – for sensation testing
  • reflex hammer
  • Doppler – to help assess blood flow
  • Tip Therm – for assessing temperature perception

Who could benefit from a Podiatry visit?

Anyone who has feet. Our youngest patients are under 1yr old and our oldest is over 100yrs old.

Different age groups tend to present with different issues because of the effects of the ageing on the feet but conditions such as diabetes can affect all ages.

How accessible is the Maidenhead Podiatry?

We have our own private car park immediately next to the clinic, with wide, flat, no threshold doorways for easy wheelchair and disabled access. We have two treatment rooms downstairs. If you have any special access requirements, please let us know and we will make every effort to accommodate them.

What do I do now?

For more information about Podiatry or to make an appointment, please call: 01628 773588 or email  info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk. 

Biomechanics and musculoskeletal assessment – a guest blog by Jeremy Ousey MSc MCPod

Biomechanics and musculoskeletal assessment

As part of working in private practice I regularly visit online forums for patients with common conditions – such as plantar fasciitis, Morton’s neuroma and shin splints.

I frequently read statements similar to “my friend said I need a biomechanics assessment” or “you need to go to the musculoskeletal clinic” or “find someone to do a musculoskeletal assessment”.

Great buzz words that sound impressive and potentially complicated – but what do they actually mean? What is involved?

As a professional who does both musculoskeletal and biomechanical assessments I know what they mean to me, but what do they mean to my patients?

Certainly, when your pain is a mystery and it isn’t getting better, you need to see someone who has a special interest and intimate understanding of the form and function of the body. It can sound like there’s some mystical excitement and curiosity about the process but these assessments can provide the answer to your problems.

What is the difference between musculoskeletal and biomechanical?

Musculoskeletal assessments

These are primarily focussed on the diagnosis and treatment of a condition.

Your clinician will identify the region of the body affected and then palpate (manually explore) the structures in that area to see if they can reproduce the pain. Once identified, and depending on the level of pain, they can then test the joints, muscles and tendons supporting it to see how normal function has been affected.

Musculoskeletal assessment typically involves taking a clinical history, clinical assessment with palpation, clinical tests and may utilise diagnostic tests such as imaging, injections and trial interventions.

Conditions that are likely to benefit most from a musculoskeletal assessment are:

  • Plantar fasciitis and heel pain
  • Morton’s neuroma and metatarsalgia
  • Achilles tendinitis

Biomechanical assessments

These are more movement focussed and look at the way that your appendage/limb/body moves and functions.

It doesn’t necessarily look for the specific anatomy causing pain but the interaction of your body as a whole, the idea being that more global information can be integrated to identify the mechanical source of your pain.

A biomechanical assessment may involve the use of gait and movement analysis and occasionally force plates and in-shoe pressure analysis (however this is rarely required). Conditions that lend themselves to biomechanical assessments are:

  • Shin pain (shin splints)
  • Recurrent stress fractures
  • Tendon pain when running
  • Knee pain
  • Hip pain
  • Arthritis

When is each used?

This is where science and art meet.

Musculoskeletal assessment tends to be used to inform the need for a biomechanical assessment.

The musculoskeletal assessment looks to present a diagnosis for the pain, identify what may be related to and causing that pain, and then to strengthen or offload associated structures reducing pain and promoting healing.

Biomechanical assessment focuses in on the movements of the body and how they might cause pain.

Biomechanical assessment is most effective when one gets the same recurring pain that is not due to lifestyle choices or where the pain that you get is not enough to stop the activities you enjoy (such as running) but is enough to reduce that enjoyment.

What is the outcome of each assessment type?

Well, the outcomes can be quite similar. The recommendation following either assessment can include

  • Semi-bespoke or prescribed bespoke orthotics
  • Rehabilitative stretches and exercises.
  • Footwear advice or modifications
  • Prescription medication
  • Advice on taping and braces
  • Gait re-training.

Does it matter which assessment you book for?

Only if the clinic you go to labels them differently, however the clinician that you see should be able to perform both and direct your appointment as required.

It tends to be that the majority of people have an appointment that combines both, depending on time. This allows for components of each to be used as is necessary.

My advice however would be that starting with an initial consultation with a specialist and then allowing them to guide you in the direction will give you the best results.

About Jeremy Ousey MSc MCPod

Jeremy Ousey  is an HCPC registered Podiatrist and CASE qualified sonographer.

Having worked in podiatric surgical units, physiotherapy and multi-disciplinary practices, he takes a multi-faceted and patient-centred approach to care. With a bachelors in Podiatry, postgraduate degrees in podiatric sports medicine and medical ultrasound and a masters in the theory of podiatric surgery he allows evidence to guide his treatment plans.

Jeremy lectures on heel pain, extra-corporeal shockwave therapy, musculoskeletal examination, treatment of the foot and ankle including management of ankle sprains and verruca needling.

His interests are in the surgical management of skin lesions, nail surgery, musculoskeletal and biomechanical evaluation, acute and chronic sports injuries, tendinopathies, diagnostic ultrasound and surgical management of foot and ankle pathology

If you would like any more information or to book an appointment with Jeremy then please call Maidenhead Podiatry & Chiropractic Clinic on 01628 773588 or email info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk

What can you do about smelly feet?

Why do my feet smell?

It is a staple of comedy – cheesy feet, but not much to laugh at if you have smelly feet and you have no idea how to stop it.

No one wants smelly feet and there are simple things you can do to make sure yours stay fresh.So, what can you do about smelly feet?

Hyperhidrosis?

There are more sweat glands per inch in our feet than anywhere else in the body. Their function is to keep the skin moist and supple and regulate temperature when the weather is hot, if you have an unnaturally high temperature or while exercising.

They secrete all the time, not just in response to heat or exercise, like elsewhere in the body.

The average foot has 250,000 sweat glands and the capability to produce half a litre of sweat a day. In most feet, sweat has an important function, when contained within a shoe, with excess evaporating. Open shoes allow evaporation of sweat leading to dry skin, especially in the hot weather of summer.

Bromhidrosis?

Known as bromhidrosis, this where sweaty feet combine with smelly feet at any time of year. This mainly involves apocrine sweat glands found in the armpit, the groin and on the feet. It can be embarrassing and unpleasant for those who have them and those that smell them.

Foot odour is caused by bacteria on the skin breaking down the sweat and releasing an offensive smell and is often influenced by changes in levels of hormones.

Anyone can get sweaty feet, regardless of the temperature or time of year.

However teenagers and pregnant women are more prone due to hormonal changes making them sweat more and changing its composition.

Other factors include

  • being on your feet all day
  • being under a lot of stress
  • hyperhidrosis, which makes you sweat more than usual
  • fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot
  • sweat soaks into shoes and they don’t dry before you wear them again
  • bacteria on the skin break down sweat as it comes from the pores
  • an unpleasant odour is released as the sweat decomposes.

So how can we prevent smelly feet?

There are many things you can try, either individually or in combination. These include –

  • exercise good personal hygiene – wash and dry your feet every day
  • use an anti-bacterial soap on your feet
  • change your shoes regularly and dis-guard old, worn out shoes
  • don’t wear the same pair of shoes two days running – especially important with teenagers
  • change your socks (ideally wool or cotton, not nylon) at least once a day.
  • clean the inside of your shoes regularly with an anti-bacterial solution
  • wrap your shoes inside a plastic bag and put them in the freezer for 24hrs to kill micro-organisms including bacteria

In addition you could also try

  • wiping between your toes with cotton wool and surgical spirit following a shower or bath and after drying them with a towel
  • use a foot spray deodorant or antiperspirant on your feet
  • buy medicated/deodourising insoles for your shoes
  • wear leather or canvas shoes, as they let your feet breathe, unlike man-made materials
  • wear open-toes sandals in summer and go barefoot at home in the evenings

If that doesn’t work?

Smelly feet are a common problem that usually clear up before too long, with care. Sometimes it can be a sign of a broader medical condition and if the condition persists it is advisable to seek professional attention.

If you’re worried that your level of sweating is abnormally high and your feet unusually smelly, see your GP if simple measures to reduce your foot odour don’t help.

If you would like more information or to make an appointment with one of our podiatrists, call us on 01628 773588 or e-mail  info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk

Thinking of going back to high heels?

High or low heels?

Now that we have had the first relaxation in the rules that will, in time, lead to us returning to socialising as we knew it, we now have the prospect of returning to wearing high heels.

At Maidenhead Podiatry, our Podiatrists are regularly asked about the long term effect of wearing high heels and it is assumed we will disapprove, but that isn’t necessarily the case. So, here is the low down on high heels.

On the streets of towns and cities all over the country, during lockdown, people have made walking part of their daily routines. Choice of shoes for the task are practical and comfortable, with modest heel, laces and good foot support.

Why would you go back to heels?

There are many reasons for wearing high heels and although they are often worn for work, many reserve them for socialising. Of course, wearing heels can make you feel good, and they can have several effects on not just the foot,

The negative effects of wearing high heels are mostly temporary if they aren’t worn for too long.

Although a modest heel helps the feet work more efficiently, high heels cause you to walk with your weight on the balls of your feet.

How do heels change things?

It is estimated that for each inch of heel, the load on the ball of the foot increases 25%. Therefore, a three-inch-high increases the load by 75% over wearing flats.

Existing (foot) problems that can worsened by high heels include

  • neuroma
  • hammertoes, callous and corns, which are thickened, tough spots on the skin.
  • muscle and joint pain.The body has to adjust for an unnatural gait leading to compensation pain.
  • tightness in your calves and put yourself at risk of knee problems, low-back pain, and even neck and shoulder pain.

However as Podiatrists we are not completely against high heels. For everyday use, shoes with heels that are an inch to an inch and a half are fine. If you wear shoes with a heel of two inches or more, limit wearing them to a few hours, such as at an evening event or a wedding.

When you get home at the end of your day massage your feet and give your calves a nice long stretch too. Also, regardless of whether they have heels or not, always rotate your shoes so you’re not wearing the same pair day after day, This will make sure your feet and calves aren’t moving in the same position for long periods of time.

But I still want to wear them

If you are determined to wear heels then there is a way of telling which heel height could be ideally suited to you – it all comes down to the shape of your feet.

Surprisingly, some women are more suited to wearing skyscraper-high, while others will suffer after mere moments with the lowest of heels.

There is a tongue in cheek way to work out which category you fit into, with a three-step formula to quickly calculate your ideal heel height. Measurement is based on the flexibility of a curved bone that connects the foot and the leg – the talus.

If the talus tilts downwards when you are holding your leg out straight and relaxing your foot, then you have a lot of mobility and can wear high heels with ease, if it doesn’t, then you just aren’t cut out for wearing them and there’s nothing you can do about it.

So how do you measure your ideal heel height?

  • without shoes and sitting, hold your leg straight out in front of you keeping your foot relaxed. If your foot sits at a right angle to your leg without dangling then you have less mobility and will be more comfortable in a pair of flats. However, if the top of your foot follows the line of your leg and your toes pint, then you are a natural heel wearer.
  • to find your ideal heel height, get someone to place a tape measure from your heel in a straight line on the floor, then place a pencil at the ball of your foot at right angles to the tape.
  • Wherever the tape measure hits the pencil reveals your ideal heel height.

This simple formula can make footwear purchases more comfortable, although you still shouldn’t wear them all the time.

If you would like more information or to make an appointment with one of our Podiatrists or Chiropractors, give us a call on 01628 773588 or email info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

Caring for your feet and back during pregnancy

How do you care for your feet during pregnancy?

At Maidenhead Podiatry & Chiropractic Clinic we find foot and back care during pregnancy is often overlooked with treatment only being sought towards the end of term, and frequently only because backs seize up or feet can no longer be reached.

Our Chiropractors have a special interest in back and skeletal issues associated with pregnancy. This includes pre and post-partum.

Many changes occur during pregnancy but with forethought and planning they can be anticipated and managed as well as possible during this wonderful time. 

What changes?

Pregnancy means many changes in a woman’s body and there are common changes that develop over the nine month term.

Of these complaints, usually ignored, are changes to back, feet and foot pain.

A woman’s centre of gravity moves forward during pregnancy due to the natural weight gain. This leads to a new weight-bearing stance, leaning backwards to counter-balance the swelling abdomen, adding pressure in the back, knees and feet.

Back and foot care during this period is important and sometimes something as simple as exercises or a set of orthotics – specialist insoles – can bring relief and make life easier.

What are some of the common problems?

Common foot problems experienced by pregnant woman are over-pronation (rolling the foot inwards), oedema (swelling), and the build up of hard skin (callous) or corns as a direct consequence of increased pressure and friction.

This can lead to back an hip pain as well as pain in the heel, inner arch, or the ball-of-the-foot.

Many of these issues can be well managed at home with exercise, stretching and basic foot care. But sometimes it is best to seek the advice and treatment of a professional.

The roll of hormones

Relaxin is a hormone produced during pregnancy by the ovaries and placenta with important effects in the female reproductive system in preparation for childbirth, including relaxing the ligaments in the pelvis to facilitate birth.

This can increase back and hip pain leading to discomfort and soreness with standing and walking. Something our Chiropractors are familiar with and can provide comprehensive advice on treatment and management.

Relaxin also relaxes ligaments in the feet contributing to changes including pain and broadening of the foot. Changes to the shape of the feet during pregnancy are often permanent. Speak to one of our Podiatrists about managing foot pain.

Other changes

Many women may also experience leg cramping and varicose veins largely due to the temporary weight gain of pregnancy.

Because of this, it is important to learn more about back and foot health during pregnancy to help make this nine month period more comfortable.

If you would like more information or to make an appointment with one of our Chiropractors or Podiatrists, call Maidenhead Podiatry on 01629 773588 or e-mail info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

Ten tips for walking and running during lockdown

Maidenhead Podiatry and Chiropractic Clinic is open for routine care during lockdown. To view our Covid-19 measures, click here.

Groundhog Day

This is a popular North American tradition celebrated in the United States and Canada on February 2.

It follows on from a Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day and sees it’s shadow because of clear weather, it will return to it’s den and winter will persist for six more weeks.

But if it does not see its shadow because of cloudiness, spring will arrive early and it  emerges to welcome the new season.

While the tradition is enthusiastically marked and celebrated in modern times, studies have found no consistent link between a groundhog seeing its shadow and the subsequent arrival time of spring-like weather but everyone enjoys a good story.

Popular culture

After the Harold Ramis film Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray was released in 1993, the phrase has come to mean something that is endlessly repeated in almost the same way each time, with little variation.

Just like life during lockdown…

Murray’s character Phil Conners gets stuck in an endless time loop.

According to Wikipedia ‘the term Groundhog Day became part of the English lexicon as a means to describe a monotonous, unpleasant, and repetitive situation’.

A bit like our restricted living patterns at the moment.

Managing the loop

So many of us are taking advantage of the restrictions to walk and run more.

That is great for our health and fitness but can mean we are engaging in the same activities on a repetitive basis and at Maidenhead Podiatry and Chiropractic Clinic we are starting to see an increase in repeat stress injuries.

Ten tips for lockdown walking and running

  1. Take care and take your time. One of the big issues at the moment is the weather. So many people are out and about taking their permitted exercise that there is mud everywhere and it is all too easy to slip and fall.
  2. Wear appropriate foot wear. Wellies are a tempting idea when walking in a morass of mud but they aren’t a good choice for any distance as they are not a firm fit on the foot.
  3. Whatever you wear on your feet, make sure they fit well to avoid rubbing and blisters.
  4. Use socks to improve fit and protect the soft skin of your feet from rubbing and blisters.
  5. If you are wearing lace-up shoes or boots, take the time to lace them properly so that they are firm on the foot. Firm but not tight. This prevents excessive movement of the foot inside the shoe/boot reducing the risk of blisters.
  6. Remember a well fitted and fastened shoe protects the foot especially going downhill where the toes can be forced forward cramping them into the toe-box.
  7. Wrap your feet up to prevent them getting cold. We are seeing lots of chilblains at the moment. They are not only caused by the cold but by rapid changes in temperature so don’t toast cold feet in front of a fire when you get home.
  8. Briefly give your feet a visual check after each walk/run looking for blisters, redness or areas of soreness.
  9. If in doubt about any aspects of foot care, consult a professional.Get in touch with your local Podiatrist for information and advice.
  10. Clean your footwear at the end of each walk/run while the mud is still soft and easiest to remove.

Enjoy your exercise

All these measures should allow you to enjoy your exercise without foot problems.

If you find that isn’t the case and you need professional advice then give us a call.

Maidenhead Podiatry and chiropractic Clinic offers a range of foot care services and is open during lockdown. Whether you have corns or callous, thickened nails or pain when walking – give us a call on 01628 773588.

If you would like more information or to make an appointment with one of our Podiatrists or Chiropractors give us a call on 01628 773588 or email info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

Need help with your feet or back – use our search bar.

Use our search bar the find what you are looking for

Many people visit our website for help or information on Podiatry or Chiropractic.

Both Podiatrists and Chiropractors offer a range of treatments and skills to benefit their patients but sometimes all you need is to be informed.

Below we describe what Podiatry and Chiropractic are and explain many of the treatments and services we offer but if you know what you are looking for then use the search bar in the top right hand corner of the screen.

A large part of what we provide for patients is help, advice and education and this website contains information on definition, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of conditions and all can be accessed through the search bar.

It doesn’t matter if you are looking for something specific or just curious. Give it a go. Find what you are looking for in our education pages and previous blogs. Click on the search bar.

Podiatry

Podiatry is defined as the diagnosis and treatment of foot disorders; however, we assess, diagnose and treat from the knee down. We also treat warts on hands.

Chiropractic

Chiropractic is the management consists of a wide range of manipulative techniques designed to improve the function of joints, relieve pain and ease muscle spasm.

Chiropractors don’t only treat backs and can help with any soft-tissue or structural issues.

What is Podiatry?

Podiatry like many health care professions has general practitioners and specialists.

A general practitioner will treat anything from corns to verrucas and from plantar fasciitis or heel pain to ingrown toenails. We are all licenced to use local anaesthetic, perform minor surgeries such as ingrown nail removal and dispense antibiotics, if and where appropriate.

We provide vascular assessment and diabetic screening as a matter of course when requested or required. We have Podiatrists with special interests in areas such as diabetic care and biomechanical assessment and gait analysisGait analysis includes being filmed on a treadmill followed where appropriate by prescription of custom moulded orthotics together with an integrated exercise and rehabilitation program.

Seven Podiatrists and two Chiropractors trained in using the latest treatment and cutting-edge technology for a range of common conditions.

Cutting edge technology

Shockwave, which is a percussive mechanical treatment for chronic, or long-term, soft tissue pain such as heel pain, Achilles pain, hip pain and of course plantar fasciitis although it can be used anywhere in the body. It is used by both Podiatrists and Chiropractors

We were one of the first clinics in the country to use Swift, a microwave generator for the treatment of verrucas. We also offer salicylic acid, freezing and needling.

We offer all general foot care too including fungal nails, athlete’s foot, splits, fissures and infections. We also provide foot care in nursing and care homes as well as a domiciliary/home visiting service.

Contact us

Hopefully you have found what you are looking for but just in case you haven’t, give us a call on 01628 773588 and let us educate you. To find us follow the map and directions or put SL6 5FH into your sat nav.

We have our own free car park directly outside the clinic. Our premises are disabled friendly with no door thresholds and easy access throughout the ground floor. Let us know if you have any special requirements.

If you would like more information or to make an appointment give us a call on 01628 773588, and speak to one of our friendly receptionists or arrange a call back from one of our Podiatrists or Chiropractors.

And, we will of course cut your toenails too.

What is gout and do you have it?

Do I have gout?

Arthritis is a disease of the joints which results in them to become inflamed and stiff.

There are three main types of arthritis – Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteo-arthritis and the less common form, Gout.

What is gout and what causes it?

Gout is the result of too much uric acid in the body leading to a build-up in the blood. Small crystals can form, collecting in the joints causing irritation and inflammation, which can be painful and severe.

Is it serious?

Apart from the severe pain that gout can cause, most other side effects of gout are rare but can include kidney damage because crystals form to create kidney stones which are known for being extremely painful to pass.

Who gets it?

1 in 200 people are affected by gout. More men than women are affected and it tends to appear in middle age but can run in families.

How do I know I have it?

The main symptom of gout is waking during the night with an acute throbbing pain in the big toe, which is also swollen. Usually only one of the big toes is affected. The pain lasts for a few hours and usually subsides not returning for a few months.

If it is more persistent, pain may be constant accompanied by swelling, redness and heat. If symptoms are persistent a visit to your GP is needed as they can be controlled by medication.

How do I prevent it?

You can reduce your chances of having attacks by leading a healthy lifestyle by:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Eating a healthy diet including what you drink (i.e. avoiding too much alcohol or fizzy drinks)
  • Making sure there is plenty of Vitamin C in your diet.

What are the treatments?

Gout can be controlled and regulated with anti-inflammatory drugs, which your GP will be able to prescribe, and these will alleviate the attack over 24 hours or so. Anti-gout medications are usually only taken during pain episodes.

When gout strikes, it helps to elevate your leg to reduce swelling together with the application of ice or cooling lotions while waiting for your medication to take effect.

Your podiatrist will also be able to increase comfort through advice and adapting your existing footwear with orthoses or other specialist insoles to help redistribute pressure away from the affected joints.

Made-to-measure shoes can also be prescribed and your podiatrist will be able to advise you on the correct type of shoes to wear and where to obtain them.

They can also provide protective shields for your toes or padding to relieve pressure and thereby reducing friction. Any secondary problems like ulcers or corns can also be treated.  They can also refer you to a specialist for more serious cases.

When should I see a Podiatrist?

If you experience any foot care issues which do not resolve themselves naturally or through routine foot care within three weeks, it is recommended to seek the help of a healthcare professional.

To talk to a podiatrist (also known as a chiropodist) – https://maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk/what-is-a-podiatrist/ – about the options available regarding treatment, you can contact an NHS Podiatrist or a private practice Podiatrist.

In both cases, always ensure that any practitioners you visit are registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC) and describe themselves as a Podiatrist (or Chiropodist).

In the NHS, through your GP, Specialist teams of rheumatologists, podiatrists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists, along with specialist nurses, will provide the most effective care and treatment for patients with arthritis, especially those with rheumatoid arthritis.

To contact an NHS Podiatrist, please contact your GP practice for information on an NHS referral (in some areas you can self-refer).

If you would like more information or an appointment with one of our Podiatrists give us a call on 01628 773588 and speak to our reception team.

Snap-shots from the history of footwear

We are constantly being told of the importance of shoes and, more to the point, the importance of the right shoes.

It can be a dry subject so here are some fun facts, interesting snippets and snap-shots from the history of footwear.

The Ancient Egyptians used to paint the picture of their enemy on the sole of their shoe so that they stamped on them when they walked and today in parts of the Middle East, throwing your shoe at someone is considered a gross insult.

The Romans are thought to have been the first to make left and right shoes, previously both had been the same, and they coloured them according to rank.

In the thirteenth century shoe/boot makers were called ‘Cordwainers’, named after the fine, hard wearing goatskins that came from Cordova in Spain.

‘Cobblers’ at this time did not make shoes. They bought up old ones and re-made them for re-sale, the same materials being used repeatedly. Hence the term – ‘cobble something together.’

Although now seen as a sign of femininity and glamour – a pair of high heels was once an essential accessory for men.

The history of footwear is inextricably linked with the history of transport. In every century before the last two, the most common way of moving from one place to another was either walking or riding.

In previous centuries, horse-riding was almost exclusively a male pursuit and this had a profound effect on the design of men’s shoes. Men’s high heels helped keep the foot in the stirrup and helped control the horse during hard riding. They couldn’t be functional if the heel was too narrow or tapering, as it would tend to snap; and if they were too high, walking was difficult.

Therefore, the design was a response to practical need. They had to be dual-purpose, suitable for riding and convenient for walking. By the middle of the nineteenth century, improved coach design and development of the railways meant there was less demand for a boot primarily designed for riding and so the design changed again.

Some diminutive men through history also used them to make themselves appear taller, even the odd film star today.

During the same period surviving women’s shoes suggest they were not made to be worn outdoors. When women travelled, they went by coach or, in the seventeenth century, sedan chair.

Therefore, women’s high heels had little to do with practicality. Indeed, at the court of Louis 16th, women wore such extreme high heels that they could only walk with a stick and could not tackle stairs without assistance. 

Of course the shoes described were the preserve of the wealthy. For the majority of people, footwear was chosen for practicality. Boots that kept the water out and the warmth in. Shoes and boots that were worn until worn out, often passed down from the wealthy to their servants as long as they weren’t too elaborate.

Fashions also varied from country to country. One example is the way the french revolution swept away all fashion and fripperies. Shoes became plain flat and without heels. The fashions that would give even the most masculine man a strangely female gait were replaced by that allowed walking to be natural and easy for the first time in generations.

Today’s shoes are a progression and natural development of earlier styles and continue to change year on year.

‘Shoes can lift the spirits, delight the sole and give confidence to the insecure’. Colin McDowell – Shoes, Fashion and Fantasy

Shoes develop with contemporary fashion moods and designers play with scale, proportion, colour, texture and function. What is most important is that they are comfortable, supportive and fit for purpose.

If you would like more information or an appointment with one of our Podiatrists then call Maidenhead Podiatry on 01628 773588 or e-mail us on info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

Do you have small bumps around your heels?

Do you have small bumps around your heels?

Many people are concerned that they have small lumps around the circumference of their heels.

Although they can appear alarming they are known as piezogenic papules are quite harmless and in the main, painless.

They comprise soft, compressible lumps, often on the back and round the side of the heel  and commonly on both feet.

A determining feature is that they vanish when the foot is off the ground.

What causes them?

The cause is small herniations in the fatty tissue of the heel(s) breaking through tiny tears in the fascia (retaining connective tissue) of the heel under load, which is why they are invisible when the foot is lifted from the floor.

Piezogenic papules are more likely in the young and athletic and tend to occur more commonly in females than males.

People who have the connective tissue disorder, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) are more susceptible, as are those who stand for long periods of time such as shop workers and hairdressers.

Athletes such as long distance runners may well develop piezogenic papules.

Why do some people get them and not others?

They are not age or race specific.

Weight is sometimes a causative factor.

Ranging from 2 mm to 2 cm in size, they are usually pain free.

Occasionally they can be painful if nerves herniate through the fascia together with the fatty tissue.

Painful papules are usually larger than 2cm, are less frequent and usually linked to a history of long periods of standing.

What can I do?

Painful piezogenic papules require some change in lifestyle, reducing weight bearing exercise and where appropriate, reduction of body weight.

Compression stockings can assist by preventing the herniations in the first place, while heel cups or taping may help relieve pain.

A visit to your Podiatrist will guide you towards a tailored solution, from exercise to orthotics.

When the papules are painless benign neglect is the best policy.

If you would like more information or an appointment with one of our Podiatrists at Maidenhead Podiatry, call us on 01628 773588 or e-mail info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

Swift - Effective micro-wave verruca and wart treatment

Ten things you need to know about Swift verruca treatment

Ten things you need to know about Swift verruca treatment.

  1. Swift verruca treatment is a new technology, developed in the UK, which has been licenced for the general treatment of verrucas and warts in Podiatry.

swift

Verruca is the Latin word for wart. There is no difference between a verruca and a wart and the terms are interchangeable usually depending on location.

There are approximately 150 different human papilloma viruses (HPV) some rare, others more common, causing warts on different parts of the body.

HPV have been with us for thousands of years and are highly adapted to human skin and mucosa.

Warts/verrucas may have many presentations and can appear on any epidermal surface.

They are generally transmitted via direct contact, but may also transmit indirectly, however, the virus will not affect tissues deeper than the basal (bottom) layer of the epidermis.

At Maidenhead Podiatry, our Podiatrists may treat warts/verrucas on the hands and feet.

  1. Swift verruca treatment uses microwave energy delivered through a special probe applied to the skin to treat the affected tissue.

2

Microwaves work by generating heat in the wart/verruca, focused under the probe, to a maximum depth of 5mm.

Microwaves love water and when the electric field is applied, local water dipoles (H2O) try to align with field but lag slightly behind causing collision between molecules and therefore generating heat.

  1. Who can benefit from Swift verruca treatment?

Swift_Slider_web2

Almost anyone who has stubborn warts and verrucas can benefit from Swift.

There are contra-indications to Swift but outside these anyone who has warts/verrucas on their hands or feet can benefit.

Precautions

If any of the following apply to you, speak to your Podiatrist before treatment –

  • Metal pins, plates or replacement joints in the foot or ankle
  • Pacemaker
  • Neuropathy or poor peripheral circulation
  • Poor or limited healing capacity
  • Immune suppression
  • Pregnancy or breast feeding. It is known that verrucas and warts can increase in size during this period
  • Low pain threshold
  • Young children – treatment on children under ten years old may not be appropriate for a number of reasons which one of our Podiatrists will discuss with you during your consultation.
  1. Can anyone have Swift verruca treatment?

1.1

With a few exceptions, (see above) most people with verrucas and warts should be able to have this treatment.

Your Podiatrist will carry out assessment prior to treatment and advise you accordingly.

Swift is suitable for most people with few exceptions, although the purpose and reason for a consultation prior to treatment is to identify anyone for who it may not be appropriate. One of our Podiatrists will discuss any concerns with you.

  1. What will the wart/verruca look like after it has been treated and how quickly will it work?

3

Immediately after the treatment there will be no change to the appearance of the wart/verruca.

A change should start to show after a few days.

Swift works by prompting an immune response and time is needed for the process to gather pace.

That is why there is a gap of at least two weeks between treatments.

As regression is established the verruca will shrink in from the edges at the same time as reducing in thickness – or ‘debulking’.

The dermal ridges or ‘fingerprint’ of the underlying tissue will gradually re-establish itself as the verruca resolves.

A follow up visit will allow one of our Podiatrists to evaluate any changes and make a decision on whether or not you require another Swift application. 

  1. How many Swift verruca treatments will I need?

Case-Study-2.3

This depends on how you respond to treatment.

Some resolve within three treatments but more may be needed particularly with large or multiple lesions.

These can be from 14 days to over a month apart depending on progress. Your Podiatrist will discuss this with you.

When the virus enters the skin, some people’s immune systems immediately respond by producing antibodies and killing it dead. Others don’t and a verruca forms.

However, the necessary immune response can still happen at any time, and, days, weeks, months or years later, the verruca can suddenly disappear.

This is why your GP will tell you to leave it alone and it will go away in time.

Having a verruca does not mean there is anything wrong with your immune system.

Swift is designed to prompt that local immune response for the body to heal itself.

Swift treatment results in a degree of localised tissue damage prompting a healing response part of which is antibody recruitment.

It is also thought to stimulate heat stress protein production which is known to prompt a strong healing response.

Patients who are immune-suppressed are at risk of developing multiple, resistant lesions, which are difficult to treat. 

  1. How does Swift verruca treatment work?

Case-Study-1.3

Swift treatment consists of timed bursts of microwaves, usually up to five seconds.

Large and multiple sites can be treated during each appointment.

The microwaves are applied through a specialised applicator direct to the wart/verruca. Your Podiatrist may prepare the site by gently shaving off overlying dead skin with a scalpel.

Treatment is applied in timied bursts and can be applied to one or multiple sites with a short pause between each application. The number of sites to be treated can be discussed with one of our Podiatrists. 

  1. Does Swift verruca treatment hurt?

As with many treatments for skin lesions, some discomfort, even pain may be experienced during treatment.

Sensation varies from person to person but most people undergoing Swift describe it as similar to a prick with a needle although some may find it more painful.

Swift is applied for up to 5 seconds at a time and any discomfort usually lasts 1-2 seconds then quickly subside and disappear. 

In rare cases some minor discomfort or tingling may be experienced for 24hrs before dissipating completely.

  1. What can I do after Swift verruca treatment?

Normally any pain or discomfort ends as soon as the treatment is finished but it is possible there may be some minor discomfort.

However one of the great things about Swift is there is no broken skin, also no dressings and no need to keep it dry.

Therefore you can do anything you wish. Swim, shower, run, jump and play.

  1. Does using swift verruca treatment mean that the verruca won’t come back?

iStock_000003869273XSmall (2)

Once the wart/verruca has gone, it is usually gone for good.

However, even though Swift works by prompting an immune response and production of the appropriate antibodies communicating a degree of immunity, there can never be a guarantee that you won’t catch another at some point in the future.

Swift is now in use at Maidenhead Podiatry.

For more detailed information on verrucas and other verruca treatment options in general click here and for (dry) needling click here.

If you would like more information on Swift in particular or verruca treatment options in general, to speak to one of our Podiatrists or to make an appointment please call 01628 773588 or e-mail Maidenhead Podiatry on info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk

Choosing your baby’s first shoes

Choosing your baby’s first shoes is such an important purchase.

The Podiatrists at Maidenhead Podiatry are often asked for advice on children’s foot wear and what to look for when buying their baby’s first shoes.

As parents know, most babies don’t stay in one place for very long.

What a fascinating place the world is, particularly if it’s all new to you……and then you learn to crawl.

First things first

 

By about four months most babies start to rock and roll, first from their side to their back, and back again.

Soon after they’ll start to lie with their upper body supported on one or both hands – all the better to see the world around them.

Next, they learn to sit.

At first, they can stay in place when you put them down for just a few seconds before tumbling back, but later they’ll be able to sit up for themselves as their muscles strengthen and coordination improves.

Babies then work out that by pushing down with hands to raise their upper body, they can pull themselves along.

Later, their legs join in too and then they’re off.

Crawling

At high speed too – they can crawl 400m in the time it takes you to drink a cup of tea.

Obviously not all babies are the same and some don’t crawl, instead they perform a rather curious bottom shuffling.

Don’t use a baby-walker – your baby will stand when they’re ready and baby-walkers won’t make it any sooner.

In fact, badly adjusted baby-walkers are thought to hinder development.

Cruising

“Cruising” comes between crawling and walking.

Having pulled themselves up on the furniture children slide their hands to one side, then their feet. This allows them to move their whole body.

To stay upright they will always keep either two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand in place.

At first they crawl when confronted with a gap between furniture.

However, as they grow they learn to cross by moving their feet into the gap and letting go to totter to the next support.

Walking

Between 9 and 18 months old, most children learn to walk, depending on development of muscular strength.

But don’t hurry them or become anxious – your child is an individual and will walk as soon as they are ready.

First steps on a very long road.

First shoes

As soon as your child can take a few steps unaided then they are ready for their first pair of real shoes.

When choosing your child’s first shoes try and find a shop with a trained fitter.

Then look for these features in the shoes you choose –

  • close cropped soles to prevent tripping
  • space for movement and growth built in
  • soft leather uppers for cool comfortable feet
  • light, flexible soles to aid development of walking
  • whole and half sizes and a choice of widths to find the correct fit
  • fully adjustable fastenings
  • padded ankle for protection and support

At this age most children learn to run and perform little standing jumps.

Once they reach this stage you will need shoes that can take some punishment and still look good.

Infant shoes need room to grow without sacrificing fit.

Toddler

As your child grows, you will pass many other milestones together. First birthday, first words, as well as other occasions.

While all this is happening your child’s feet and their walking continue to develop all the time.

By the time your child is a fully-fledged toddler they will clearly walk very differently from when they took those first steps.

Arms are no longer used for balance so they can be used to pick up (and throw down!) things that catch their eye.

Knees and feet now point forward as the hip joints are fully in place.

Ankles and knees now flex too, reducing the shock that leads to head movement and, in turn, tumbles.

However walking is still flat footed (which is what can make can make toddlers look clumsy) so light and flexible soles are still vital.

Don’t be concerned by their feet appearing ‘flat’ at this age as it is all part of  a developing foot.

If you would like any more information or to make an appointment with one of our Podiatrists call 01628 773588 or e-mail info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

Red, itchy toes? Could it be chilblains?

We are open during lockdown. Click here to read our covid precautions.

Do you have chilblains?

Cold weather always brings an increase in enquiries prompted by cherry red, itchy and sometimes, weepy toe tips. With temperatures due to dip below -7degreesC this week we have already seen an increase in concerned callers.

Our Podiatrists at Maidenhead Podiatry understand many people suffer from cold feet in winter, but not all develop chilblains. A question regularly asked is ‘why do I have chilblains? What have I done wrong?’ But is isn’t a matter of doing anything ‘wrong’, some people are simply prone to them due to genetics or poor peripheral circulation.

Of course, not everyone with poor circulation develops chilblains but it can make you more susceptible.

What do chilblains look like?

Following exposure to the cold chilblains appear as small itchy, red swellings on the skin of the tips of the toes and/or fingers. They can appear in a little as a couple of hours and can become increasingly painful. They normally start as small cherry red dots or patches which can slowly increase in size with a slight feel of firmness. It is possible that they will swell, form small blisters, and may weep before drying out leaving cracks in the skin, exposing the foot to the risk of infection.

They normally occur on tips of toes, particularly the smaller ones, but can also appear anywhere on the foot, on fingers, face, especially the nose, and the lobes of the ears. They can also occur on areas of the feet exposed to pressure, for example, on a bunion, heel or where the second toe is squeezed by tight shoes.

Chilblains are usually caused by the skin’s abnormal reaction to cold although exposure, damp or drafty conditions, dietary factors and hormonal imbalance can contribute.

If the skin is chilled, and is then followed by too rapid warming next to a fire or hot water bottle, shower or bath, chilblains may result.Frozen leaves

Who is most at risk?

This condition mainly affects young adults working outdoors, in cold places, or people who do not wear socks or tights during .colder weather. Too often, even in cold weather, patients attend Clinic wearing light footwear with no socks leaving their feet vulnerable to extremes of temperature.

Also susceptible are elderly people, and those whose circulation is less efficient that it used to be, people who don’t take enough exercise, and those suffering from anaemia.

Chilblains can develop at any age and frequently skip a few years before reappearing predictably in cold weather.

What causes chilblains?

When the toe and skin is cold, blood vessels near the surface vaso-constrict or get narrower. If the skin is then exposed to heat, or experiences a rapid change in temperature, the blood vessels become wider or dilate.

If this happens too quickly, blood vessels near the surface of the skin can’t always handle the increased blood flow and this can cause blood to leak into the surrounding tissue, which causes the swelling and itchiness associated with chilblains.

What are the symptoms?

With the onset of the cold weather, chilblains will be experienced as burning and itching on their hands and feet. On entering a warm room, the itching and burning is intensified. There can be swelling or redness, and in extreme cases, the surface of the skin may break, with sores (ulcers) developing.

If in doubt – seek professional advice and visit your Podiatrist.

foot in snowHow long do chilblains last?

Some come and go over a few days, others can persist for a couple of months at a time, only disappearing with warmer weather. Chilblains are virtually unknown in warmer climates but Britain’s cold damp winters are ideal for encouraging their appearance.

How do I prevent chilblains

This isn’t as easy but try to keep your body, feet and legs at an even temperature. This is especially important if your circulation is poor and you have limited mobility. Your whole body, rather the just the feet, needs to be kept warm. No matter how it might look, trousers, long johns, long boots, long socks tights and leg warmers  all help.

Do chilblain creams help?

Most chilblain creams work by counter-irritation. This means they use a different sensation, such as heat, to distract the brain from the itching and pain. Generally though, although they can bring relief they aren’t treating the underlying condition and have little influence on the length of time the chilblain is experienced.

If  chilblains have developed what can I do?

Whatever you do, don’t scratch them. Soothing lotions such as witch hazel or calamine, which can be bought from your local pharmacy, will take away most of the discomfort.

Cover them with a loose, dry plaster and wear warm socks.

If the chilblain has ulcerated, apply an antiseptic dressing. If you have diabetes or undergoing medical treatment, have the ulcer assessed by your GP or Chiropodist/Podiatrist.

Ultimately, time and warmer weather will bring lasting relief, and in the worst cases, a move to warmer climes will provide permanent relief.

If you would like more information or an appointment with one of our Podiatrists, call Maidenhead Podiatry on 01628 773588 or e-mail  info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

Feet and pregnancy

How your feet change during pregnancy

How can you look after and care for your feet during pregnancy?

At Maidenhead Podiatry we find foot care during pregnancy is often overlooked with treatment only being sought towards the end of term, and frequently only because feet can no longer be reached.

Anti-natal classes provide lots of information and education about the changes to your body during pregnancy but they rarely include the changes that can take place with your feet     

Why do the feet change?

Pregnancy means many changes in a woman’s body and there are common changes that develop over the nine month term. Over the course of a pregnancy the body produces increasing amounts of the hormone relaxin.

Relaxin is a hormone produced during pregnancy by the ovaries and placenta with important effects in the female reproductive system in preparation for childbirth, including relaxing the ligaments in the pelvis to facilitate birth.

The action of relaxin on the soft tissue support structures of the feet combined with gradual weight gain can lead to foot pain as ligaments in the feet relax contributing to changes including pain and broadening of the foot.

Changes to the shape of the feet during pregnancy are often permanent.

This means that your favourite shoes may not fit your any more once you hear the pitter patter of tiny feet.

How do feet change?

A woman’s centre of gravity moves forward during pregnancy due to the natural pregnancy weight gain in the area of the pelvis and abdomen.

This leads to a new weight-bearing stance and often changes the way you walk, adding pressure in the hips, knees and feet. Often a simple set of orthotics can bring relief and make life easier but professional guidance is recommended.

Other common foot problems experienced by pregnant woman are over- pronation (rolling the foot inwards), odema (swelling), and the build up of hard skin (callous) or corns as a direct consequence of increased pressure and friction.

This can lead to pain in the heel, inner arch, or the ball-of-foot, often worse in the mornings on rising or after periods of rest such as sitting and having a coffee.

Many women may also experience leg cramping and varicose veins largely due to weight gain.

Because of this, it is important to learn more about foot health during pregnancy to help make this nine month period more comfortable.

What can you do and what can we do for you?

Some of the changes are inevitable but there are things you can do to accommodate your feet and make them more comfortable including –

  • put your feet ‘up’ when you can
  • wear shoes that allow for the changes
  • avoid heels
  • avoid flat shoes – a modest heel will be most comfortable
  • use foot cream regularly to keep the skin supple
  • visit a podiatrist for general footcare and nail cutting

A visit to a podiatrist will ensure you are doing the best to care for your feet and you will be given advice on how to continue that care before and after pregnancy.

At Maidenhead Podiatry we can treat and tidy the feet removing hard skin and callus and trimming and burring the nails. We can also give advice on bio-mechanical and gait changes and foot wear choices.

In addition, one of our Chiropractors, Lucy Steele‘s passion lies in the care of pregnant women, babies and children, and most of her post-graduate training has been in these areas. So, if back and/or pelvic pain is your problem Lucy will be pleased to help..

If you would like more information or to make an appointment with one of our Podiatrists, or Chiropractors call Maidenhead Podiatry on 01629 773588 or e-mail info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

What is a Podiatrist?

What is a Podiatrist and what can they do for me?

This article will guide you through the many and varied aspects of Podiatry and help you find the foot care that suits you best. To assist in stopping the development of preventable foot problems and advise you in self care.

To offer a better understanding of the foot care options available to an individual we have split this blog into sections starting with the simplest or self care and escalating to the most complex or podiatric surgery as an end point.

  • Self care and footwear

 

Not everyone needs to become a patient. Many foot conditions can be safely and appropriately managed with the right equipment, skills and confidence.

Many foot health advice leaflets are available through the NHS and the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists and your Podiatrist will be happy to give you advice and guidance.

Poor choices in footwear can cause significant foot problems and seeking and following advice to make good choices of appropriate footwear can prevent development of new conditions, aggravation of existing ones and prevention of falls. Again, your Podiatrist will be happy to give you advice and guidance.

  • Footcare

Simple footcare is defined as nail cutting and skin care including the tasks that healthy adults would normally carry out as part of their daily personal hygiene routine.

Of course this doesn’t apply to everyone but it is an important aspect of footcare that ensures many individuals check their feet regularly while still mobile and pain free.

For those who do attend clinic regularly for simple footcare, examination of the feet during a routine appointment acts as an early detection system ensuring prompt intervention and prevention of developing more serious foot health problems.

PODIATRY

  • Core Podiatry
  • Nail surgery
  • Warts and verrucas
  • Fungal nails
  • Long term and neurological conditions

 

Core Podiatry is defined as ‘the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of common and more complex lower limb pathologies associated with toe nails, soft tissues and the musculo-skeletal system with the purpose of sustaining and improving foot health. (Farndon 2006).

The main foot conditions affecting older people (as opposed to children) requiring core podiatry are -nail problems, corns, callus, toe deformities, and falls prevention.

These conditions can be managed successfully by Podiatrists in the NHS and Private practice using a range of treatments including sharp debridement (scalpel), pharmacology (creams, tablets, steroid injection) and therapies (often in conjunction with footwear advice and and prescription of orthoses where appropriate0.

Although the call for Nail surgery is small – approximately 8 per 1000 GP patients – there is certainly a need for an effective, non-recurring treatment.

Since the 1970s partial or total nail avulsion has become a standard Podiatry procedure where part (the sides) or all of the nail are removed painlessly to the nail bed under local anaesthetic to resolve recurring problems with ingrown nails.

The likelihood of regrowth is reduced to almost zero (0.5%) with the application of  phenol to the nail bed.

Warts and verrucas are small skin growths caused by the human papilloma virus. Verrucas are warts on the feet, common in children and although harmless they can be painful.

Most verrucas will clear up without treatment within two years but there are numerous treatments available through your Podiatrist including

Fungal nails are very difficult to treat successfully. There are numerous topical applications available as well as GP only prescribed oral medication. Your Podiatrist will discuss your best options and agree a treatment plan.

Long term and neurological conditions include conditions such as Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, stroke and Parkinson’s and a Podiatrist’s management often involves management and prevention of potential escalation of foot problems.

Core podiatry is essential in maintaining the integrity of the feet of people whose medical condition places them at risk of developing complex problems.

Falls prevention. Foot problems in older people are often associated with impaired balance and mobility and where there is a history of multiple falls there are usually more foot issues.

The existence of a corn, bunion or poor footwear choices are often at play and podiatry intervention can moderate the risks.

ORTHOTICS

  • Orthotics, footwear and Musculo-skeletal provision
  • Podopaediatrics
  • Sports injuries
  • Footwear

Orthotics, footwear and Musculo-skeletal provision. Bio-mechanics and bio-mechanical assessment are an essential part of podiatry provision and the discussion of findings and correction of underlying issues with orthoses can have positive implications across the breath of podiatry services.

Many patients present with musculo-skeletal pain caused by bio-mechanical problems which can involve foot, knee, hip and lower back affecting gait (the way they walk).

Often the most cost effective and appropriate treatment is the provision of orthoses (specialist insoles) which modify and correct the bio-mechanical problem.

There are a number of different orthoses that can be prescribed by your Podiatrist depending on presenting condition and patient need. Orthoses range from a simple heel raise or cushioned insole to specific complex custom devices.

Podopaediatrics focuses on provision of Podiatry for children. This ranges from treatment of warts and verrucas to early identification of foot deformities. From gait assessment to prescription of orthoses.

Sports injuries often occur due to abnormal rotation and deformation of joints and/or muscles. Podiatrists target improvement and resolution through bio-mechanical assessment and prescription of orthoses combined with strengthening exercises and footwear.

Footwear choices can directly affect foot conditions. Podiatrists offer advice from correct choices when buying shoes to measuring for custom made footwear depending on requirement.

SPECIALIST PODIATRY

– relates mainly to long term conditions and may or may not be provided within a general podiatry clinic.

  • Diabetes
  • Systemic musculo-skeletal disorders
  • Dermatology
  • Advanced technology

Diabetes care is one of the basic provisions of any Podiatry practice and your podiatrist can offer regular foot health assessment as part of good diabetic control and patient education.

Early detection of foot problems can ensure correct management and reduce the likelihood of critical long term changes.

Systemic musculo-skeletal disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) increase the need for a range of basic foot care services. Up to 90% of people with RA have some kind of foot involvement sometimes leading to the formation of callus corns and occasionally ulceration.

Early Podiatric intervention can improve long term outcomes.

Dermatology can be considered part of core Podiatry as many of the common skin problems seen on the feet are amenable to Podiatric treatment. From tinea pedis (athlete’s foot) to melanoma.

From verrucas to cellulitis you can ask your Podiatrist for advice.

Advanced technology is becoming more a part of day to day Podiatry provision. At Maidenhead Podiatry we use Swift – a microwave treatment – for verrucas, Shockwave for chronic soft tissue pain and Cryopen for freezing warts and verrucas.

EXTENDED SCOPE PRACTICE

Podiatrists who work in extended scope practice usually work in the NHS although they can be available in larger private practices and have undertaken additional training in their clinical areas  and may actively engage in the following –

  • non-medical prescribing
  • requesting blood tests
  • requesting scans
  • interpretations of test results
  • injection therapy
  • advanced vascular investigations

PODIATRIC SURGERY

Podiatric surgery is surgical treatment of the foot and associated structures carried out by a Podiatric Surgeon often as a day case and under a local anaesthetic.

In Conclusion good foot health has a fundamental link to health and well being. Poor foot health can have a significant impact on mobility, independence, and quality of life.

If you would like more information or to make an appointment with one of our experienced Podiatrists then give us a call today and make an appointment on 01628 773588 or email info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk and help lay the foundations of a healthy lifestyle.