Foot Health during Coronavirus Lockdown
It goes without saying that we are all going through an extraordinary time at the moment. No aspect of life is normal. The days and weeks are starting to blend together, and the uncertainty about when it will all end can get us down if we think on it for too long. For me, this all came at a pivotal moment when I was making some big changes with my business and looking forward to the future…needless to say, that is all on hold for now!
However, it will all end, eventually. It may be a very slow return to ‘normal’ life, but life will continue.
In the meantime, I am only able to see emergency cases. Many of my patients are vulnerable and I am determined not to spread infection. But feet, being what they are, still need care and attention. So how best to care for them?
· Check your feet every day/have someone in your household check them. This is especially important if you are Diabetic or are known to have numb feet. Look out for areas of redness or heat, bleeding, pus, blisters or temperature differences between your feet. Give me a call/send me an email if you are concerned.
· Foot hygiene is important. Wash and dry feet regularly and thoroughly. Use talc between toes if they are prone to dampness. Change socks every day. If your feet are itchy and maybe peeling on the soles or between the toes you may have Athlete’s Foot. You are still able to get treatments from supermarkets and pharmacies without a prescription.
· Dry or hard skin? Use a good foot cream. Every day. Good brands include Flexitol, CCS and Dermatonics amongst others. Even something like E45 or Vaseline is good if the skin is dry rather than hard. Do not put creams between the toes! It encourages fungal infections.
· Corns? Medicated corn plasters are NOT advisable, and should be avoided entirely by diabetics and people with poor circulation. Use a gentle foot file/ emery board to take the worst of it off. Pad with plasters or cushioning felt. Ensure shoes fit well.
· Verruca? It can be hard to distinguish a corn from a verruca, the first-aid treatment is similar nonetheless. Any pain is likely caused by a layer of hard skin, which you can file down as with a corn. Do not use this file for anything else – verrucae are viral infections (we know all about them now!) They spread on surfaces. Keep it covered if you’re in the shower or bath as you can spread it easily. You can access off the shelf treatments such as Bazuka in the supermarket or pharmacy without prescription. Again, best avoided by diabetic patients.
· Keep nails down by filing regularly if you are diabetic, or by cutting straight across if you are able and have good circulation. Try not to dig down the sides of nails as if you leave a piece of nail this can quickly become ingrown and then get infected. Someone in your household can do this for you if they follow the above advice.
And something which I think is very important right now….
· If you are checking on an elderly friend/relative, ASK THEM about their feet. Are they concerned about anything? They may not have given them a second thought, feet are so easy to ignore, and a lot of people won’t like to talk about them. Neglecting feet can contribute to fall-risk in the elderly. Can you offer to get them a sturdy nail file? A foot file? Some foot cream? Do they need new slippers or house shoes?
Remember, some foot issues are urgent. Examples are ingrown toenails where there is redness/pus/bleeding, or if you know by experience this is how your nail will end up without treatment. Another example is a corn which is extremely painful and has maybe started to go red around the edges. If in doubt, give me a call and we can discuss your symptoms over the phone for free. If necessary I can arrange to see you.
Please continue to look after your feet, take care of yourselves and stay safe.
I look forward to welcoming you back to Curlew Chiropody again soon.