Do you always need to support low arches with insoles and orthotics? No and read why…

Fallen archesAs podiatrists, we often have clients present to us reporting that they have ‘flat feet’ or ‘fallen arches’.

‘Flat feet’ are often cited as an underlying factor in a whole host of problems, from back pain, to knee pain and even bunions.

So, do we always need to support our low arches with insoles and orthotics to prevent or relieve problems? Absolutely not!

It’s important to distinguish if this presentation is actually contributing to somebody’s problems or is a simple observation of the shape of their feet – in fact, a large proportion of the population have no visible, or a very low arch profile with no problems (myself included).

Something that is important however, is whether there is pain or discomfort when a person stands or walks.

In this case, the visible flattening of the arch may be indicative of a problem elsewhere. For example, excessive movement in the foot joints might be happening to make up for tightness in the ankle – in which case, it is the ankle that should be addressed.

In fact, shoe horning (pardon the pun!) arch supports under someone’s foot without this level of consideration can cause new or increased symptoms.

Remember, we are all different and just because something looks odd, it may not necessarily be.

However, we can often lend a hand in helping to identify the true underlying cause of pain originating from foot or gait problems and formulate a plan to help you get over it – be that, insoles, exercises or just footwear advice.

If you suffering with foot pain then book a consultation with a podiatrist today. Call us on 01926 865985 or you can now Book Online.

Foot Mobilisation Techniques – Our First Case Study!

Foot Mobilisation TechniquesSusan and I talked a lot about our Foot Mobilisation Techniques (FMT) course last September – a 3 day course with the Australian FMT Master, Ted Jedynak. We have slowly integrated the techniques into our treatments, where applicable, and have had some great results!

I’d like to share the story of one person who has felt the benefits of having his feet mobilised on a regular basis.

Mr H, a sprightly 87 year old gentleman, had complained for some time that his feet felt stiff and ‘dead’. When he got into bed they also hurt for a short time before they settled down. He seemed an ideal candidate to try my new techniques on and I demonstrated the moves at the end of his usual appointment.

At his next appointment, Mr H told me that his feet had felt great after the mobilisation, but only for a short time. We decided to try a course of weekly treatments over 6 weeks. The process takes 6 weeks as that is how long it takes the soft tissues (tendons, ligaments and joint capsules) to renew themselves – there is no point making the joints more flexible if the old tissues are pulling the joints back into their old positions.

We now have just one more session to go. Mr H has diligently followed the very simple exercises that I have given him to do, twice daily for 5-10 minutes. After 3 weeks he could feel a significant difference and after 5 weeks he is able to wiggle his toes, flex his ankles and has lost the ‘dead’ feeling. His feet are much more comfortable when he gets into bed and he has also noticed that he feels more confident when driving as he is able to move his clutch foot more easily and is getting better feedback from the foot. Needless to say, he is delighted!

We can help you too!

If you would like to get your feet ‘switched back on’, to keep you active and less prone to falling, or are just fed up with feet that feel tired and achy, why not book a session to try for yourself? I have opened up some extra hours on a Monday morning, specifically for FMT, but other days and times can be accommodated. Sessions are £23 each, or a course of 6 is £126 when paid in advance. Do call us on 01926 865985 if you would like further information.

Diabetic Foot Care – How will you know if your risk changes?

Over the past few months we have been looking at various aspects of diabetic foot care including the questions you should ask about your risk of developing a foot problem for example:

1. How often do I need to have a foot check? View article

2. How can diabetes affect my feet? View article

3. What is my risk of developing a foot problem and how have you calculated this? View article

4. This month we focus on “How will I know if my risk changes?”

Over the coming months we will explain more on…

What to do if you think you have got a foot problem? What is the best way of looking after your feet? Advise about shoes, socks and insoles; Changes to your lifestyle that you need to make;  How can managing your diabetes help and why are you referring me to someone else? What will they do? We will continue to answer your questions.

Diabetic Foot Care – How will you know if your risk changes?

Susan of Courtyard FootcareLast month we highlighted the fact that diabetes can affect both the feeling and circulation to the feet and that very often these changes are so gradual that they may go unnoticed.

An annual foot check by a qualified health professional will identify any changes in the feet. Specifically, blood flow to the feet is assessed by palpating the foot pulses (Dorsalis Pedis pulses and Posterior Tibial pulses) or with the use of a Doppler which can provide additional information on the quality of the pulses and blood flow. This together with an assessment of the appearance of the skin and nails and the temperature/ temperature gradient in the feet together with a history of any new symptoms e.g.  cramp, ulceration in the legs or feet will help to identify any deterioration in the circulation.

Sensation in the feet is assessed using a tuning fork and 10g monofilament.  The ability to distinguish between sharp/blunt and warm and cool is also tested.

The feet will also be checked for ulceration, callus, infection and/or inflammation and deformity.

Checking your own feet on a regular basis is invaluable as any changes can be identified early, and appropriate action taken to help reduce the risk of developing a foot problem.

Book a FREE Foot Health Check with Courtyard Footcare today by calling 01926 865985 or you can book online

It’s chilblain time of year again…

… and although we don’t come across chilblains quite so often these days, they can and do cause misery to those that are afflicted.

Chilblains form when our extremities are exposed to extremes of temperature – from the cold, damp weather outside and then the sudden increase in temperature as we come into a centrally heated home. The capillaries in fingers, toes, ears and even nose will constrict in cold conditions to help maintain the body’s core temperature, but then if exposed to a sudden increase in temperature, they will rapidly dilate. If the capillaries can’t cope with the rapid increase in blood flow, some of the blood will leak into the surrounding tissues, causing dark red or even bluish swellings, which burn and itch.

The best way to combat chilblains is to keep the feet (or other affected part) as warm and dry as possible. When coming in from the cold, avoid the temptation of warming chilly feet in front of the fire, but let them warm up gradually. Make sure there is nothing to constrict the circulation by avoiding tight shoes or socks that leave an indent around the calf, soft-tops are best.

Smokers are more prone to developing chilblains as nicotine constricts the blood vessels, so that’s another reason to give up!

Chilblains will normally go away on their own after a few weeks, but if the skin breaks over the swellings, then special care must be taken to avoid infection. Spray with antiseptic, apply a clean dressing and seek medical help if you are diabetic or begin to feel unwell, as you may require antibiotics to fight the infection.

We have made up a gift pack for people who suffer with cold feet, which could help prevent chilblains. Each pack contains a bottle of ‘Warm Your Sole’ aromatherapy oil by Body Essentials, which contains the gorgeous smelling marjoram and ginger, and a pair of super fluffy bed socks. Available in both men’s and ladies’ sizes, the beautifully wrapped gift packs are priced at £12.50. warm-your-soleIf you’re fed up of your other half using you to warm their icy feet when they get into bed, this is the perfect gift!

For more information about chilblains, check out the NHS choices page.

Our November Newsletter is out!

Welcome to our November News update

This month’s summary: Kate tells you why she went to the Real Madrid football stadium; Susan explains how Diabetes can affect your feet; Leigh tells you about a “first” for Courtyard Footcare and our Strictly Competition is back! Enter our Competition and you could win a lovely prize!

Read More

Diabetes – how can it affect my feet & what is my risk of developing a foot problem?

Over the next few months we will be looking at various aspects of diabetic foot care including the questions you should ask about your risk of developing a foot problem e.g.

  1. How often do I need to have a foot check?
  2. How can diabetes affect my feet? What is my risk of developing a foot problem and how have you calculated this?
  3. How will I know if my risk changes?
  4. What should I do if I think I’ve got a foot problem?
  5. What is the best way of looking after my feet?
  6. Can you advise me about shoes, socks and insoles?
  7. Are there any changes to my lifestyle that I need to make?
  8. How can managing my diabetes help?
  9. Why are you referring me to someone else? What will they do?
  10. How often do I need to have a foot check?

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends annual monitoring of blood glucose, blood pressure, total cholesterol, kidney and eye screening and an assessment of lower limb for all people with diabetes.

Having a diagnosis of diabetes will put you at increased risk of foot problems. It is therefore very important to understand just how diabetes can affect your feet and your Risk Level.

Foot examinations should be carried out by a trained healthcare professional. A foot examination will:

  • establish if you have any foot problems at present
  • examine your foot shape and footwear to see whether you may be at risk of rubbing or pressure
  • check your skin for changes in colour and look for ulcers, sores, areas of hard skin and any signs of inflammation or infection
  • test the feeling in your feet to see how well the nerves are working
  • take the pulse in each of your feet to check the blood flow
  • work out your risk (low, moderate or high) of developing a diabetic foot problem.

Following the foot examination, you will understand why your feet have been classed as Low, Medium or High Risk of developing foot complications in the future and how to look after your feet. Those at Low Risk will be checked annually, Medium Risk, every 3-6 months and High Risk every 1-2 months.

If the foot check shows that you don’t have any foot problems, you will still need to have a foot check every year.

If your feet have not been screened and checked by a trained healthcare professional in the last year then you should contact your foot health provider, in the first instance, or GP.

The answer to question 2.

2. How can diabetes affect my feet? What is my risk of developing a foot problem and how have you calculated this?

Diabetes, once diagnosed, is a lifelong, vascular condition which can cause foot problems if the nerves and /or blood vessels become damaged.

Diabetes can affect:

  • The feeling in your feet (neuropathy)
  • The circulation in your feet (ischemia)

Often the changes are so gradual they may go unnoticed. It is therefore important to have your feet screened regularly by a trained health professional.

Controlling diabetes, cholesterol, BP, quitting smoking, increasing exercise and controlling weight will all help to reduce the risk of developing life and limb-threatening problems.

Developing a foot ulcer is serious as it is related to an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and amputations of foot or leg. It is therefore important to know what your risk is of developing a foot complication and potentially a foot ulcer.

What is YOUR Risk of developing foot complications and foot ulcers?

LOW RISK 

  1. There is NO significant nerve damage
  2. There is NO significant blood vessel damage
  3. There is NO history of foot ulceration (a break in the skin that struggles to heal)
  4. There is NO foot deformity
  5. Vision is NORMAL
  6. Your Action Plan: Agree a self-management plan and visit a podiatrist/chiropodist annually

MODERATE RISK

  1. There is some loss of feeling in the feet
  2. The circulation in the feet is reduced
  3. There is hard skin on your feet
  4. The shape of your foot has changed
  5. Vision is affected
  6. You struggle to look after your feet
  7. Your Action Plan: Take extra care of your feet. Have your feet checked by a podiatrist/chiropodist or health care professional every 3-6 months. This will reduce your risk of developing any diabetes-related complications in the future.

HIGH RISK

  1. There is some loss of feeling in the feet
  2. The circulation in the feet is reduced
  3. There is hard skin on your feet
  4. The shape of your foot has changed
  5. Vision is affected
  6. You are unable to look after your feet yourself
  7. There is a history of foot ulceration
  8. There is a history of amputation
  9. You are receiving renal replacement therapy (dialysis)
  10. Your Action Plan: Take extra care of your feet and have your feet checked by a podiatrist/ chiropodist or health care professional every 1-2 months

Call Courtyard Footcare today on 01926 865985 or book an appointment online

Diabetes – looking at the various aspects of diabetic footcare

Over the next few months we will be looking at various aspects of diabetic foot care including the questions you should ask about your risk of developing a foot problem e.g.

  1. How often do I need to have a foot check?
  2. How can diabetes affect my feet? What is my risk of developing a foot problem and how have you calculated this?
  3. How will I know if my risk changes?
  4. What should I do if I think I’ve got a foot problem?
  5. What is the best way of looking after my feet?
  6. Can you advise me about shoes, socks and insoles?
  7. Are there any changes to my lifestyle that I need to make?
  8. How can managing my diabetes help?
  9. Why are you referring me to someone else? What will they do?
  10. How often do I need to have a foot check?

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends annual monitoring of blood glucose, blood pressure, total cholesterol, kidney and eye screening and an assessment of lower limb for all people with diabetes.

Having a diagnosis of diabetes will put you at increased risk of foot problems. It is therefore very important to understand just how diabetes can affect your feet and your Risk Level.

Foot examinations should be carried out by a trained healthcare professional. A foot examination will:

  • establish if you have any foot problems at present
  • examine your foot shape and footwear to see whether you may be at risk of rubbing or pressure
  • check your skin for changes in colour and look for ulcers, sores, areas of hard skin and any signs of inflammation or infection
  • test the feeling in your feet to see how well the nerves are working
  • take the pulse in each of your feet to check the blood flow
  • work out your risk (low, moderate or high) of developing a diabetic foot problem.

Following the foot examination, you will understand why your feet have been classed as Low, Medium or High Risk of developing foot complications in the future and how to look after your feet. Those at Low Risk will be checked annually, Medium Risk, every 3-6 months and High Risk every 1-2 months.

If the foot check shows that you don’t have any foot problems, you will still need to have a foot check every year.

If your feet have not been screened and checked by a trained healthcare professional in the last year then you should contact your foot health provider, in the first instance, or GP.  At Courtyard Footcare, we are trained in and can provide diabetic footcare advice. Get in touch today to book your footcare assessment.

Our September News Update is out…

Summary of this month’s news:

  • Find out what is Kate’s favourite place to visit in the UK.
  • Susan tells you more about her summer activities!
  • Leigh shows you pictures of his “nearly finished” kitchen and shows you someone he met whilst on holiday!
  • Check out our September Product Offer.
  • If you love Strictly Come Dancing then read our top tips on how to ensure your feet are dance ready.

View our September news update here: