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Chronic health problems and podiatry!

Chronic health problems introduction

👣 👣 As a Podiatrist, I work with people who have various chronic health conditions / problems. Sadly these conditions can often be life-long and can affect a person’s quality of life. Some I come across can only be managed via medication or other treatment options, with no cures as yet. Let's hold some hope :o)

This is why we have seen a massive focus over the years on prevention of diseases through leading a healthy lifestyle. For example, through exercise, having a healthy diet, limiting alcohol intake and smoking cessation. However, this is not necessarily always the case! For some conditions more research needs to be done, with reasons for the problem often unknown.

I have other blog posts with helpful ideas re good nutrition, keeping active and diabetes prevention, etc. Take a look... 👣👣

❔ So what type of chronic conditions do I deal with? ❔

Firstly, I must point out that other health problems can often come into play when someone has a chronic health problem.

As a Podiatrist, I want to help my clients have the best quality of life and this can be through assisting them with having good foot health.

Various conditions I come across include:

- Arthritis (including psoriatic arthritis)

- Rheumatoid disease

- Peripheral neuropathy

- Cardiovascular disease (covering heart and circulatory system, such as coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke and peripheral vascular disease (PVD))

- Cancer

- Osteoporosis - Dementia

- Fibromyalgia and M.E. / CFS (Mylagic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)

- Mental health problems

Various chronic health problems exist

The above are just a few and those experiencing any of these conditions may require foot care in particular. I must point out that chronic health problems affect everyone differently, there are different severities, with varying symptoms. Therefore, individualised treatment is provided.

📉 Some statistics........... 📈

Statistics re health problems in Sunderland

Unfortunately, for the area I work within (Sunderland) the overall health of people is generally worse than the England average - according to Public Health England (2018).

As per aforementioned, I work with clients who have cardiovascular diseases and sadly, statistics show that for those under 75 in Sunderland there is a higher rate of death due to heart disease and stroke, more than the national England average.

2017 statistics shows that diabetes diagnoses for those over the age of 17 is not significantly different to the England average, but I must still emphasise the need for preventing diabetes! Head here for some tips re diabetes prevention.

It’s commonly known that obesity and mobility issues are associated with chronic health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. These problems can be additionally linked to issues with our joints and feet.

This shows us that looking after our lifestyle is vital!

On average, we are living longer! Compared to England, the population of Sunderland has a higher proportion of older people and we need to care for their needs. Older people use health and social care services more intensively than any other population group.

Callus (hard skin)

☹️ So what are the most common symptoms I see when treating people with chronic health problems?:

- Joint pain

- Loss of sensation in the feet

- Deformity in ankles, toes or the main foot

- Swelling

- Ulceration

- Callus (hard skin) I detail the most common problems I see within my role here.

💡 Awareness! 💡 Part of my job is raising awareness and it's worthwhile mentioning that September is Pain Awareness Month! Chronic pain affects around 1 in 7 of the UK population. The source of the pain of many illnesses isn’t always visible. Read this to gain further understanding I’m sure you agree that everyone deserves a good quality of life and for those living with chronic pain, I have been told there’s nothing more they would want than to feel OK and have less pain.

Chronic pain information

If you have a chronic health problem (or even if not!) what are the usual treatments you can expect from me?:

- assessment of the foot along with appropriate treatment according to the problem

- foot care, advice and education (can also include advice around appropriate footwear)

- orthotics (insoles)

- liaising with other relevant health professionals, e.g., GP. Head here for an idea re individual foot treatment.

💖 Need some help? 💖

Maybe you have a health problem and are struggling caring for your feet? It may be that you cannot reach your feet, therefore struggle to cut your nails? Or you have an ingrowing toenail or pesky corn?

Whatever the problem, get in touch for some much needed foot health relief!

Lynn, Podiatrist in Sunderland xx

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