Feet are everywhere. We are born with them, live our lives with them and most of us die with them (unfortunately some even die from them or without them). When something goes wrong with them, there is an array of people we can see to help us. There are foot surgeons and doctors, podiatrists & chiropodists, foot health practitioners, nail technicians, and even hairdressers have been known to assist people with their foot problems. To find out the differences between all of these, have a read of this article:
But what qualities do the best people in the feet industry tend to have? We aren’t going to focus on the obvious qualities that any person involved in delivering health care should have, such as compassion, caring, empathy, and communicativeness. Instead, we are going to focus on the qualities that ensure you really will get the best outcome for whatever your foot-related problem is.
As there is no legislation to stop anyone from treating feet, for your safety and for best outcomes it is important that whoever you let loose on them is professionally trained. This should be from a recognised training body which sets high standards for its course delegates during training and after qualification.
Those high standards should predominantly apply to safety, not only for the benefit of those who are being treated, but also for those providing any treatment. If sterile instruments aren’t being used or COVID PPE guidelines being followed, then you really need to think are you seeing the best person to look after your foot health.
3. Knows their limitations
No one person has all the knowledge possible about feet. Some will have little and some will have a lot, but what really matters is that they recognise the limitations they have in their knowledge and/or skills. If they don’t then they are unknowingly doing you more harm than good. If they want their limitations to be less, then it is easily possible to learn more, and in so doing they can serve you better.
4. Refers on
For those who hit a limitation in their knowledge that means they are unable to help you properly, then they should refer you on to someone who can. If they don’t then you run the risk of receiving possibly dangerous treatments or advice. The best people in the feet industry have developed great referral networks to ensure their patients always get the best possible care available, even if that is not from themselves.
All of the above really point towards your foot person being ethical in their health care provision. They should put you first when providing that care. They shouldn’t be making decisions based on fear of losing you as a patient - or greed to get as much from you as possible. They should just manage your expectations, provide the most accurate & up-to-date unbiased information available, and carry out any treatments that are safe to carry out and that you have requested from them.
So if you already have someone who helps you with your foot problems, or if you are looking for someone to help you, then check that they have the above qualities and you can be pretty much assured that you and your feet will be in safe hands.
Written by Jonathan Small, Managing Director & Lead Podiatrist, Health First Foot & Gait Clinic, Southam, Warwickshire, www.healthfirstsoutham.co.uk, 01926 811272.