Frequently
Asked Questions

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What is podiatry?


Podiatrists are health care professionals trained to diagnose and treat abnormal conditions of the feet and lower limbs.




How much does it cost?


A routine treatment or assessment costs from £40. Further treatments if required, may cost more or less depending on recommendations of the Podiatrist. Please note visiting consultants have their own price structure.




Will the NHS pay for my treatment?


No. We are a private clinic, and there is a charge for our treatments. Please remember that you can receive free podiatry treatment with the NHS.




Can I use my private health insurance?


Yes, as long as you have prior approval from your provider.




What is the difference between a chiropodist and a podiatrist?


Podiatry is the new name for Chiropody. The name change brings the UK into line with the rest of the world.




What is Achilles Tendonitis?


Inflammation of the Achilles Tendon. Achilles pain occurs just above the back of the heel, and often you will experience tightness in the calf muscles. Pain is present with walking and running, especially when pushing off on the toes.

It can develop gradually without any history of problems. It's a common issue for athletes and in particular distance runners. The persistent strain causes irritation and inflammation and may even cause the tendon to rupture.




What are ageing feet?


As we age, we naturally develop more problems with our feet. As we only have one pair of feet, it's essential to take care of them. If you don't take care of your feet, they can start to show signs of ageing at any age, but generally, it is most common from your fifties.

As we get older, an annual foot health check is as important as a sight or hearing test. Conditions like diabetes or circulatory problems can be diagnosed by looking at the feet. We treat common issues like corns, cracked skin and ingrown toenails.




What is athletes foot?


Athletes foot is a common fungal skin infection commonly found between the toes and on the sole. Athletes foot can cause the skin to flake and peel. As the skin is itchy, you are more likely to scratch, which can cause the skin to split. In severe cases, a secondary infection can occur where the skin has broken.

Fungal infections thrive in dark, warm and moist environments - inside the shoe is the perfect setting for an infection to develop.

Athletes foot can spread to the surrounding areas and the nails if left untreated. In severe cases, a fungal nail infection can also develop.




What are blisters?


Blisters are painful, fluid-filled lesions produced by friction and pressure. They can be caused by ill-fitting footwear, stiff shoes, wrinkled socks against the skin, excessive moisture and foot deformities. Blisters can become a more pressing concern if you have diabetes.




What are bunions?


A bunion, also known as hallux valgus, is a deformity of the big toe in which the big toe excessively angles towards the second toe and leads to a bony lump on the side of the foot. This can also form a large sac of fluid, known as a bursa, which can then become inflamed and sore.

They are most often caused by a defective mechanical structure of the foot, which is genetic. Poorly fitting footwear tends to aggravate the problem. Bunions can also be caused by age, arthritis or playing sport.

Some people have large bunions that cause no pain but do cause difficulties with footwear. In contrast, others have small bunions that can be very painful.




What are chilblains?


Chilblains develop when tiny blood vessels under the skin constrict under cold conditions reducing the flow of blood. When the area warms up again, this causes some leakage of fluid into the surrounding tissue. Not everyone develops them as this depends to a large extent on the efficiency of your circulation. People with poor circulation and other health problems involving their blood vessels are likely to be more prone to developing chilblains. Also, damp or draughty conditions, dietary factors and hormonal imbalance can be contributory factors. Rapid temperature changes from cold to hot is also believed to be a cause. If the skin is chilled and is then followed by too rapid warming next to a fire or through using a hot water bottle, chilblains may result.




What are corns?


Corns are caused by pressure or friction over bony areas, such as a joint, and they have a central core which may cause pain if it presses on a nerve. There are five different types of corns, the most common of which are hard and soft corns: Hard corns – these are the most common and appear as a small area of thick hard skin up to the size of a small pea usually within a wider area of thickened skin or callus. This may be a symptom of the feet or toes not functioning properly. Soft corns – these develop in a similar way to hard corns, but they are whitish and rubbery in texture and appear between toes where the skin is moist from sweat or from inadequate drying. Seed corns – these are tiny corns that tend to occur either singly or in clusters on the bottom of the foot and are usually painless. Vascular/neurovascular corns – these are corns that have both nerve fibres and blood vessels in them. They can be very painful and can bleed profusely if cut. Fibrous corns – these arise when corns have been present for a long time and are more firmly attached to the deeper tissues than any other type of corn. They may also be painful.




What are calluses?


Callus (or callosity) is an extended area of thickened, hard skin on the soles of the feet. It is usually symptomatic of an underlying problem such as a bony deformity, a particular style of walking or inappropriate footwear. Some people have a natural tendency to form callus because of their skin type. Older people have less fatty tissue in their skin, and this can lead to callus forming on the ball of the foot.




Diabetes and feet?


Diabetes may affect your feet in many ways. One of the first changes can be loss of sensation (peripheral neuropathy) in your feet, often starting at the toes. Your chances of losing feeling in your feet (neuropathy) increase with the number of years that you have diabetes. Research suggests that up to one in three people with diabetes have some loss of sensation. The onset of neuropathy is gradual, and often people who develop this complication are unaware of it at the start. Usually it occurs between 7 and 10 years of having diabetes. In some cases, it can occur sooner where blood sugar levels have not been so well controlled. Very occasionally, pain or a burning sensation may accompany a loss of feeling (painful neuropathy). Additionally, when the nerves in your feet are affected, other changes may follow, for example, your toes may start to claw and the bones in your feet can become more susceptible to fractures.Another change that can occur is reduced blood flow to your feet. Diabetes may also affect your ability to heal and reduce your natural ability to fight bacteria. Consequently, it would be best if you took particular care of any scratches, cuts or blisters on your feet.




What are fungal nail infections?


Fungi called Dermatophytes live harmlessly on the skin but can often multiply and lead to infection in dark, warm and moist environments such as the feet. Particular shoes can make the feet hot and sweaty, which can lead to the fungi multiplying quickly. Not keeping the feet clean and dry can also increase infection risk. The infection will progress if left untreated. The nail can become discoloured with the nail turning white, yellow, green or even black. The nail can become thickened, and the texture can change, making it difficult to trim. The shape of the nail can also change, which can cause discomfort when placing pressure on the toes that are affected.




What is gout?


Arthritis is a disease of the joints which causes them to become inflamed and stiffen. There are three types of arthritis – Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteo-arthritis and the less common form, Gout. Gout is the result of an imbalance of uric acid in the body. It manifests via a build-up of uric acid in the blood. Small crystals may form, which collect in the joints, causing irritation and inflammation, and which can be very painful and severe. Gout can be controlled and regulated with anti-inflammatory drugs, which your GP will be able to prescribe. These will alleviate the attack over 24 hours or so. An immediate measure is to levitate your leg to help reduce swelling along with the application of ice or cooling lotions while waiting for your medication to take effect. A podiatrist will also be able to help alleviate issues by adapting your existing footwear with orthoses or other appliances which fit easily into your shoes and help redistribute pressure away from the affected parts. Made-to-measure shoes can also be prescribed, and your podiatrist will be able to advise you on the correct type of shoes to wear and where to obtain them. They can also provide protective shields for your toes or padding to relieve pressure and reduce friction. Any secondary problems like ulcers or corns can also be treated. They can also refer you to a specialist for more severe cases.




What is plantar fasciitis (heel pain)?


Heel pain is a common occurrence, and in most cases, the pain is caused by some form of mechanical injury caused by small repetitive injuries that occur at a rate faster than the body can heal them. Heel pain can also be caused by lower back problems or inflammatory joint conditions. Plantar fasciitis (or fasciopathy): This is the most common caused by damage to the fascia band (similar to a ligament) which connects the heel bone to the base of the toes. This condition can be caused in various ways, including extensive running, walking or standing for long periods, especially when you have a sedentary lifestyle. In particular, a change of surface (e.g. road to track), poor shoe support, being overweight, overuse or sudden stretching of your sole, as well as a tight Achilles tendon, can lead to this condition.




What is an ingrowing toenail?


An ingrowing toenail is where a piece of nail pierces the flesh of the toe. It can feel as if you have a splinter, be extremely painful and inflamed or infected. In more severe cases, it can cause pus and bleeding. Ingrowing toenails most commonly affect the big toenail but can affect the other toes too. A nail that is curling (involuted or convoluted) into the flesh, but isn’t actually piercing the skin, isn't an ingrowing toenail but can feel very painful and can also appear red and inflamed. There are many genetic factors that can make you prone to ingrowing toenails, including your posture (the way you stand), your gait (the way you walk) and any foot deformity such as a bunion, hammertoes or excessive pronation of the feet (when your foot rolls inward excessively). Your nails may also have a natural tendency to splay or curl out instead of growing straight, encouraging your nail to grow outwards or inwards into the flesh. One of the most common causes is not cutting your toenails properly, such as cutting nails too low to relieve the pressure and discomfort of an involuted nail.​Tight footwear, hosiery and socks can also push your toe flesh onto the nail so that it pierces the skin. Also, if you sweat excessively or don’t rotate your footwear, this makes the skin moist and weak so that it is easily penetrated by the nail. If you have brittle nails with sharp edges or are in the habit of breaking off bits of nail that are sticking out, you are also more likely to get an ingrowing toenail. Less common is a fungal infection or in some cases, particular types of medication, for example, isotretinoin.​Active, sporty people are particularly prone, because they sweat more. Younger people are more likely to get it (as they pick their nails more, compared to older people who may not be able to reach their toes!).




What is osteoarthritis?


The most common type of arthritis in the UK is osteoarthritis which is a condition that causes joints to become painful and stiff. You may experience swelling, tenderness and a grating or cracking sound when moving the joint. For some people, the symptoms can be mild and may come and go. For others, it can be continuous and severe.

The exact cause is not known, but several things are thought to increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis including joint injury, age, family history, obesity and previous conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and Gout.




What is rheumatoid arthritis?


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a condition that causes inflammation in many joints of the body but mainly affects the hands, feet, wrists, ankles and knees – and tends to occur symmetrically. For example, if your right big toe is swollen and painful, chances are your left big toe will be too. Also, as well as joint pain and stiffness, symptoms include muscle aches, anaemia (a low blood count leaving you feeling tired), and fever. The stiffness tends to be worse in the morning and after rest.

Unlike osteoarthritis, which is caused by wear and tear, RA is a chronic inflammatory disease where a faulty immune system attacks the tissue that lines and cushions the joints, leaving them swollen, painful and stiff. RA tends to affect the smaller joints such as the fingers and toes first, so feet are often one of the first places to be affected. Symptoms usually strike the toes first and may then affect the back of the feet and the ankles. The joints may enlarge and even freeze in one position so they can’t extend fully.




Why have I got sweaty feet?


Most of us have suffered from foot perspiration and odour from time to time. Yet, for some people, sweaty feet (along with sweaty palms and armpits) are a persistent problem, which can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. For some people, this can affect their day-to-day life considerably, and result in decreased social contact with others. But the condition is treatable.

There are more sweat glands per inch in our feet than anywhere else in the body. Their function is to keep the skin moist and supple and regulate temperature when the weather is hot, if you have an unnaturally high temperature or while exercising. They secrete all the time, not just in response to heat or exercise, like elsewhere in the body.

Excessive sweating, also known as hyperhidrosis, has a lot to do with how the sweat glands in the feet work. With 250,000 sweat glands, feet do tend to sweat more than other parts of the body, but with a daily hygiene routine, few people should suffer from the embarrassment that it may cause.

Sweaty feet (along with palms and armpits and the face/scalp) tend to be symmetrical. The exact cause is unknown but due mainly to overactive sweat glands. In some cases, the cause can be genetic.

Possible other causes include stress on the foot, sometimes caused by a structural problem, or because the foot is under strain or tired, for example when you have been standing on your feet all day.




Corvid 19 Corona Virus Emergency Treatment


Coronavirus Practice Update
If you have a foot emergency; which would be infection or pain that persists when footwear is off. Then you can speak with one of our podiatrists to check if you require emergency treatment. A triage will first be carried out by phone. Call 02871374097 only for emergencies; general foot care issues will not be dealt with.





Carlisle Road Foot Care

Health + Foot Clinic

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Email: info@carlisleroadfootcare.com
Tel: 028 7137 4097
63-65 Carlisle Road
Derry, BT48 6JL

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Fri: 9 am to 5 pm
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