Lecturer’s tips to keep key workers comfortably on their feet

Date 17.06.2020

Key workers on their feet all day should forget the flip flops and hang up their high heels according to a Podiatry lecturer, who recently helped a local nurse to ‘carry on caring’.

Rodrigo Diaz-Martinez is relatively new to the University’s Podiatry clinic, having started in January this year.

But even with lockdown being announced he has continued with podiatric duties as the clinic was open for patients in need of urgent treatment. During lockdown, clinic staff either gave phone advice to or directly saw more than 250 people.

One of the patients Rodrigo saw was Peter Cobzaru, a nurse who works with patients undergoing dialysis. Peter is on his feet constantly, regularly working 12-hour shifts and had been struggling due to having painful, ingrown toenails on both feet.

Antibiotics from his GP were ineffective as the solution was surgical. Thanks to Rodrigo’s expertise, Peter is now pain free and needed only a couple of days off work to recover.

Rodrigo offers wise words to help keep key workers standing tall for extended periods: “Lockdown has meant a change in how almost all of us live and work, but for those who don’t have the option of working from home and are on their feet more than we are off them, there are a few tips below to help place their best feet forward.”

  • Practice good hygiene of your feet. It’s important to maintain your foot health and prevent infections and smells. Use soap and warm water to wash them and make sure you dry them well afterwards, especially between the toes
  • Check for changes. Make sure you look over your feet for any changes in the skin, pain, sensitivity, colour, etc. You should consult your GP or your podiatrist if you are concerned about anything, particularly if you are overweight or have diabetes
  • If you have diabetes or any other condition that can lead to sensitivity loss you should check your feet every day, avoid walking barefoot and contact a Podiatrist if you think you have any problems. We can assess this and book you an appointment if necessary
  • If your toenails are very difficult to cut or you have hard skin or calluses and can´t have treatment due to the lockdown, use a file and or a pumice stone and cream your foot with a good moisturizer daily
  • Appropriate footwear. Wear comfortable shoes with a good grip, appropriate depth, appropriate width and avoid high heels! If you do wear high heels in the office, wear flats on the way to and from work. Outside of work, only wear them for special occasions
  • If you want to start running avoid doing it abruptly and without appropriate trainers
  • Avoid wearing flip flops for long periods of time as they don’t offer much support for your feet and can result in arch and heel pain
  • Shoe shop in the afternoon. Our feet swell during the day so will be at their ‘biggest’ in the afternoon. Trying on shoes in the afternoon means you will always get the most comfortable fit whatever time of the day you subsequently wear them.

Find out more about Podiatry at the University of Northampton.