FOOT CARE ADVICE DURING COVID 19
The Covid 19 lockdown is gradually being lifted, however, Clinics are still only seeing urgent cases and endeavouring to clear the long lists of cancelled patients. So how do you look after your feet while you are waiting to book an appointment for professional treatment?
There are two main aspects to foot health – footwear and footcare.
Firstly footwear. Just because most of us are spending extra time at home, does not mean one should be wearing slippers, mules or flip-flops all day. You may not feel that much is being demanded from your feet but think of what you are actually doing: cooking (exploring new culinary skills), Spring cleaning/de-cluttering, new hobbies and activities with the kids, gardening, DIY etc. All involve lots of standing and movement, so require a good shoe to provide shock absorption and stability. A lightweight trainer or substantial strap shoe is ideal in the house for adults and children, with more robust trainers or boots worn outside – and inside if doing DIY where feet could be injured if something heavy dropped on them!
If working from home involves lots of sitting in front of the computer etc remember to flex your feet and legs and wriggle your toes regularly to keep the circulation moving and get up and move around at frequent intervals to stretch muscles.
Bare feet or just socks feel nice when worn during chill times with feet up reading or watching a film but remember that more people, activities and time in the house can mean more things on the floor. If you walk around bare foot or just in your socks, be aware of needles, nails, glass, staples and other items that could cause an unpleasant injury to your foot.
As for footcare – well plenty of time for that now! Daily care is very routine – having washed feet, gently pumice any dry areas or hard skin, rinse and dry thoroughly. If toes are close together &/or have a tendency to be moist inbetween, apply surgical spirit (or old cologne/aftershave if you cannot get the spirit at the moment) and use moisturiser on the rest of the foot. For people who find it difficult to reach their feet, use a long handled foot file or emery board instead of pumice and dry the feet with a hair dryer. Drip the spirit onto the toes or use a cotton bud and apply moisturiser with a long handled spatula/wooden spoon to the top of one foot, then rub the bottom of the other foot over it.
Nails should be cut straight across so that the corners are proud of the skin. They can then be gently filed to round off the shape without taking the corners lower. Thick nails can be filed over the surface, from the nail base towards the end of the toe. Use of a nail brush, or old tooth brush, will help to remove debris from the sides of the nails and so keep them more comfortable (remember to move from nail base towards top of toe).
Hard skin and corns that get beyond control by routine care, may start to become uncomfortable. Please DO NOT resort to pedicure blades or corn plasters etc They can cause more problems. If possible use a cushion insole in the shoe or, if insufficient to alleviate the discomfort (or no room in the shoe), use felt padding or double thickness corn PADS (NOT plasters with acid in) which you can purchase in the chemist. Cut a horseshoe shape so that the sore area sits in the centre, with the open ‘wings’ towards the front of the foot and the thickness of the pad behind the sore area.
If an area on the toe or foot becomes Very painful, it maybe you have an infected or ulcerated site. Pad the area as above and apply a dressing over the top, then ring us for advice.
This particularly applies to Diabetic patients or those with poor circulation or other medical issues.
Ingrowing toe nails are another condition that is likely to cause a problem. If you have very curved nails but cut your nails as advised above (ie NOT down the sides) the nail should not become uncomfortable, provided you are wearing adequate footwear (wide, deep, with fastening and of correct length). However, ingrown nails occur for a variety of reasons and although the majority are due to poor nail cutting or poorly fitting footwear, others are due to direct injury or other conditions.
Try bathing the toe in warm salt water for three minutes – dry with a hairdryer, then apply a sterile dressing to the toe. Repeat this daily. Do not use antiseptic cream as it will make the skin more moist and prone to penetration by the nail. If you have no dressings and have to use an Elastoplast, then remove it at bedtime and wear a clean sock in bed (preferably white cotton). Take great care with footwear so that there is no pressure on the toe. If there is no improvement in 3 days of the above treatment, please ring us for advice.
Other irritating conditions such as athlete’s foot can be treated with antifungal cream (if under the foot) or dry spray (if between toes) available at the chemist. If you think you have a fungal infection of the nail, file it down as much as possible and apply Tea Tree oil until you can get a proper diagnosis (NB if the area around the nail becomes red or irritates, stop this treatment as you may be allergic to Tea Tree oil).
Verrucae can be treated with products such as Bazooka. Freeze sprays are not recommended.
For aching feet or suspected arch strain (planter fasciitis) – off the shelf orthotic insoles are available at most large chemists and may help. Also try massage of the foot from heel to toe (particularly before getting out of bed) and ‘rolling’ the arch over a frozen small water bottle. Again, good footwear is essential – trainers provide good shock absorption and will probably be most comfortable.
There are many, many other conditions that may arise during these exceptional times, from foreign bodies in the foot to sports injuries. Take the time to be more aware of your feet and your surroundings. Wear the correct shoes for what you are doing – with particular attention if you are walking/running more or have taken up a new sporting activity, such as tennis.
We are available to talk and advise. So if you have concerns, please do ring the Clinic and we will do what we can to help you.
(April 7th 2020)
Marlborough Podiatry Clinic
10 The Parade, Marlborough, SN8 1NE
10 The Parade, Marlborough SN8 1NE
No referral is necessary to attend the Clinic.
For information regarding appointment availability, fees and claiming on your health insurance, please ring the Clinic.
8.30am - 6pm Monday to Friday
9am - 1pm on Saturdays.
Tel: 01672 514581
Mobile: 07910 525376
There are 3 steps up within the clinic entrance