Podiatry is a field of medicine that aims to improve the overall health and well-being of patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions associated with foot and ankle.
A Podiatrist is a specialist who provides medical diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle problems which can be experienced by everyone from children to adults. The preparatory education of most podiatrists in UK includes three years of undergraduate training in accredited podiatric school.
At the Brackenbury Clinic we make sure we provide the most clinically advanced care to patients seeking conservative treatment, foot-related sport injuries, biomechanical and orthotics, diabetic foot care, treatment of plantar warts or verrucae and painful lesions such as calluses and corns. Early diagnosis and treatment of foot problems are extremely important and a long term investments in overall wellbeing.
According to your foot and lower limb problem, the Piodiatrist can work together with our multidisciplinary team including osteopaths, homeopaths and acupuncturists to find the answers that will comfort you and bring you the relief and peace of mind.
COMMON FOOT PROBLEMS:
Ingrown toe nails
Ingrown toenails can be extremely painful. An ingrown toenail occurs when the toe nail grows into the nail bed and becomes embedded in the skin around the nail and later may become sore, red and swollen. This can result in the area bleeding or weeping and sometimes becoming infected. The leading cause of Ingrown toenail is inheritance, caused by the acute curvature of the nail although the way person trims his or her toe nails can be a contributory factor. Shoes that are too tight or short can put pressure between the nail and soft tissue and eventually cause ingrown toenails. Soaking your foot in warm, salty or soapy water several times each day is usually a good way to treat an ingrown nail. If the pain is persistent or see any discharge either sides of nail please contact your podiatrist to determine the best course of treatment.
Calluses and corns
A callus is an area of hard, thickened skin and they can usually occur over bony prominences or in areas where there is repeated friction and pressure. Calluses and corns have painful nerves and bursal sacs (fluid-filled balloons that act as shock absorbers) beneath them, causing symptoms ranging from sharp, shooting pain to dull and aching soreness. They can be disabling, and in a diabetic can lead to serious complications if left untreated.
Improperly fitting shoes are a leading cause of corns. Toe deformities, such as hammertoe or claw toe, also can lead to corns. Long term, stopping the pressure and getting rid of what is causing the pressure is the answer to corn and calluses.
You should be careful with over-the counter callus remover that have strong acids as they can cause chemical burns when not used correctly. If you need assistance relieving calluses corns, contact our office. In a visit to our podiatrist your calluses and corns can be trimmed and comfortable padding or insoles applied to relieve pressure over these painful areas.
Plantar warts or verrucae
Plantar warts are one of several soft tissue conditions of the foot that can be quite painful. They are caused by a virus, which generally invades the skin through small or invisible cuts and abrasions. They can appear anywhere on the skin, but, technically, only those on the sole are properly called plantar warts. Most foot warts are harmless, even though they may be painful.
Children, especially teenagers, tend to be more susceptible to warts than adults; some people seem to be immune against this virus.
Plantar warts tend to be hard and flat, with a rough surface and well-defined boundaries; warts are generally raised and fleshier when they appear on the top of the foot or on the toes. Plantar warts are often gray or brown (but the color may vary), with a center that appears as one or more pinpoints of black. It is important to note that warts can be very resistant to treatment and have a tendency to reoccur.
If left untreated, warts can grow to an inch or more in circumference and can spread into clusters of warts. Like any other infectious lesion, plantar warts are spread by touching, scratching, or even by contact with skin shed from another wart.
Occasionally, warts can spontaneously disappear after a short time, and, just as frequently, they can recur in the same location.
Our practice offers wide range of treatments to suit every need, including application of caustic medication, cryosurgery and homeopathic treatments.
BIOMECHANICS AND ORTHOTICS:
Most of the lower back, lower limb and foot pain can be caused by biomechanical dysfunction of the abnormal gait. The cause of dysfunction may be tight muscles, muscle imbalance or abnormal bony alignment. An assessment may be necessary to evaluate the function of your lower limb and feet during gait. At the Brackenbury clinic, patients often learn through a gait analysis and biomechanical assessment that their injury, leg or back pain is caused by a poor alignment of the bones, ligaments and muscles of their feet and rest of the lower limb.
Once diagnosed, patients receive a tailor-made treatment plan designed to restore the foot and lower limb back to more normal and symmetrical function. Treatment plan may include footwear guidance, orthoses and exercise therapy.
Our Podiatrist specializes in Custom Orthotics, also known as prescription foot orthoses. Orthotics are custom-fit shoe inserts that alleviate most types of foot pain and ailments including pronation (turning of the foot), flat feet, heel pain, bunions, corns, and calluses, as well as various types of lower limb and back pain.
Different types of Custom orthotics are prescribed to patients based on physical need. Our Podiatrist offers Rigid, Semi-Rigid and Soft/Flexible orthotics. Rigid orthotics offer the ultimate in functional control, excellent for growing children as well as patients suffering from foot, lower limb, and back pain, leg length differences and foot abnormalities. Semi-rigid orthotics offer shock absorption and are recommended for sports enthusiasts who are highly susceptible to foot and ankle injuries and ailments, including plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, and repetitive ankle sprains. Soft orthotics maximize shock absorption for patients who no longer have the protective fat pad cushioning on the soles of their feet, resulting in painful pressure areas. Soft orthotics are recommended for elderly, arthritics, diabetics and those patients with severely deformed feet who have a difficult time moving about in shoes.
- Heel pain – plantar fasciitis
- Shin splints – medial tibial stress syndrome
- Achilles tendonitis
- Metatarsal pain – Morton’s metatarsalgia
- Stress fractures
- Knee pain
- Hip/back pain
- Flat or high arched feet
- Ligamentous instability
- Degenerative arthritic joints
- Hallux valgus - bunions
CHILDREN’S FOOT PROBLEMS
Many adult foot problems originate during childhood, so it is important to see a podiatrist regularly in order to prevent long-term problems from occurring. Our podiatrist specializes in Pediatric Foot Care. Our service is dedicated to “early detection, early prevention”. We specialize in all forms of conservative treatment of the pediatric foot. We treat many conditions including children’s foot and ankle pain, juvenile bunions, structural deformities such as flat feet and high arched feet, toe deformities, plantar warts (verrucae), ingrown toenails and we also provide footwear advice for growing feet.
DIABETES AND YOUR FEET
According to the diabetic UK, about 2.5 million people suffer from diabetes. It is estimated that by 2025, there will be more than four million people with diabetes in the UK. Foot problems are a big risk in diabetics. Diabetics must constantly monitor their feet or otherwise they could face severe consequences, including amputation. What you may not know is nearly 80% of life altering amputations could have been prevented.
Foot problems in persons with diabetes are usually the result of three primary factors: neuropathy, poor circulation, and decreased resistance to infection. Also, foot deformities and trauma play major roles in causing ulcerations and infections in the presence of neuropathy or poor circulation.
Patients who suffer from neuropathy, increasingly difficult to distinguish between hot and cold and dull and sharp, as well as the ability to feel pain and pressure. This could lead to potentially dangerous and undetected injuries for a diabetic. The risks of developing ulcers and infections are significantly increased.
Poor circulation inhibits the body’s ability to allow adequate blood flow to extremities. Blood carries the necessary oxygen and nutrients necessary to aid in the body’s healing processes as well as keeping those body parts active and healthy. Poor circulation to the feet and legs slow down the healing process when injured. When your wound is not healing, it’s at risk for infection. As a diabetic your infections spread quickly and greatly increase the risks to contract gangrene.
When your foot becomes numb, they are at risk for becoming deformed. The bone condition Charcot foot is one of the most serious foot problems and it warps the shape of your foot. With Charcot foot your bones fracture and disintegrate and eventually this could lead to severe deformities in your foot. Large bony overgrowths develop as the body replaces lost bone with the new bone and may protrude from the top of the foot. Calluses and ulcers may form when bony protrusions rub inside the shoes. Infected pressure ulcers and osteomyelitis (inflammation of the bone caused by infection) may develop. As this can be very disabling, early diagnosis and treatment is vitally important.
Most of these problems are preventable through proper care and regular visits to your podiatrist. Our podiatrist specializes in diabetic foot care and can provide information on foot inspection and care, proper footwear, and early recognition and treatment of foot conditions.