Service

Podiatry

What does a Podiatrist do?

A Podiatrist’s primary aim is to improve the mobility, independence and quality of life for their patients. Podiatrists specialise in the foot, ankle and leg, leading the patient care through the whole journey including prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Podiatrists work in a variety of places and can work with a team of people including doctors and nurses or on their own running their own business.

What is a Foot Protection Service?

The foot protection service is usually based outside the hospital, for example, in a health centre or GP clinic. The foot protection service specialises in providing foot care for people with diabetes, preventing diabetic foot problems and dealing with foot problems that do not need to be treated in hospital.

The foot protection service should be led by a podiatrist (someone trained to look after your feet) with special training in dealing with diabetic foot problems.

Somerset NHS Foundation Trust Podiatry Service

We provide a foot protection service in Somerset to the following patients:

  • Patients within Somerset

AND

  • Patients with a medical condition affecting the health of your foot (e.g., Diabetes with neuropathy or Rheumatoid arthritis with significant deformity)

AND

  • A podiatric condition which is treatable by Podiatry (e.g., ulcer, callus, ingrowing toenail)

We are part of Somerset’s Integrated Diabetes Multi-Disciplinary Foot team and have strong links with the hospital vascular, orthopaedic, and orthotics services which we may refer you to if you require any further investigations or intervention.

Location

We are based in hubs across Somerset including Taunton, Bridgwater, Glastonbury and Yeovil.

Conditions we manage.

Patients with a medical condition may not necessarily be at risk of developing foot disease however, if the condition is presenting in the foot, your health care professional may refer you to our service.

Conditions may include diabetes mellites, rheumatoid arthritis, peripheral arterial disease, peripheral neuropathy, significant deformity, poor tissue viability and severely immunocompromised. Conditions of the foot (below the ankle) may include infection, open wounds or ulceration, gangrene, pathological callus, pathological nails and pain from a musculoskeletal problem.

What our Service does

Active foot disease management

We provide Priority Clinics for patients 18 years old and over with active foot disease. This includes infection, ulceration, gangrene or other hot red foot conditions. We provide wound care, debridement, providing offloading, as well as referring for investigations and linking with acute hospital care.

Routine care

We provide Routine Clinics preventative foot care to patients 18 years old and over. We don’t normally provide nail care alone unless the patient requires monitoring due to a history of foot disease or who are high risk of ulceration and amputation. Patients not eligible will be signposted to education on self-care or to private footcare including the Age UK toenail cutting service.

Toenail surgery

We provide nail surgery for patients aged 16 or over with in-grown or painful nails who meet our eligibility criteria. Using local anaesthetic, either part of or your entire nail can be removed and if required your nail can be prevented from re-growing. For more information, nail surgery leaflets are found under Podiatry Leaflet on our website.

Health care professions can access the “Ingrown Toenail Treatment Criteria Based Access (CBA) Policy” here.

Biomechanics

If you are aged 15 or over with a structural abnormality of your foot or a specific medical condition, we can carry out a biomechanical assessment. Before you access this service, you will need to try self-care and insoles from the high street.

Home visits

If you are housebound with ulcerated feet, and you can’t access your nearest clinic you may be able to get a home visit.

Education

If you are not currently eligible for our services, we can signpost you to educational resources or another service to support you.  We can provide educational and preventative support on how to look after your feet. For advice on general foot care, footwear, ingrown toenails and infections, there is an excellent library of advice at www.nhs.uk.

How to access the Podiatry Service

You can access these services via a referral from your GP, medical consultant or other health care professional.

Please visit our webpage for further information and support on caring for your feet and information for those who are at risk of developing foot ulcers.

What to do in an emergency

  • If you notice a new foot wound, sore or blister:
  • Cover with a clean, dry dressing
  • Keep clean and dry
  • Contact your GP during normal opening hours
  • If out of hours contact 111 by phone or the internet
  • If you are already under Podiatry, call us directly for advice straight away.

If you have a confirmed infection AND any of the SEPSIS signs or symptoms listed below contact 999 immediately or go to Accident and Emergency.

  • Slurred speech or confusion
  • Extreme shivering or muscle pain
  • Passing no urine in a day
  • Severe breathlessness
  • It feels like you are going to die
  • Skin is mottled or discoloured