Steps in the right direction: podiatrists walk the walk about their profession

News Page 9th October 2019

Yesterday was International Podiatry Day, a global awareness campaign aiming to spread the word about the importance of foot health and raise awareness on podiatry both with the general public, other health professions and government health officials about the impact and the dangers of foot and ankle ailments.

University of Northampton’s podiatry lecturers and students offer their top tips for keeping your feet and lower limbs in tip-top condition and why podiatry is such a valuable profession.

 

Paul Fletcher, Senior Lecturer in Podiatry (top left in the photo) had one thing to say that sums up good lower limb health: “My top tip is to love your feet! Most people love their hair, or their hands or their face or their smile, those kind of things, but get involved with your feet.

“They are amazing structures and they are so complicated. People think they are just there to keep the end of their legs from fraying, but they keep us active and enable us to things like walking, running, jumping and once you know they’re not working properly you will soon appreciate them.

“Look after your feet and they will look after you.”

On why he chose podiatry as a career, he adds: “I was lucky to ‘find’ it, a careers adviser said to go into it and it’s been brilliant for me. I’ve had an excellent career with lots of variety. You are in ‘charge’ of your patient and they enjoy coming to the podiatrist. It’s really pleasant to chat to the patients and you can see the results of you actually making them better on the day. We have a big impact on people in a short space of time which is really rewarding.”

 

Charlotte (bottom left) is a final year podiatry student who switched from a very different profession to study at a later age than most: “I came to podiatry later in life, having a former career as a teacher. But this is a fantastic career and I am really pleased that I made the change.

“One of the reasons I decided to become a podiatrist is because you can work anywhere as there are feet anywhere and everywhere in the world. Unfortunately, people don’t look after their feet and they need looking after and I want to make sure people do look after them.”

 

Connor Ratcliffe is a Lecturer in Podiatry (bottom right) and an expert in sports/exercise podiatry. He had these words of wisdom to impart: “My top tip is…standing on one leg!

“This is particularly imports for sports patients as it will help reduce ankle sprains and make the whole lower leg more effective whether walking or running.

“If it feels a bit too easy, then you can make it more difficult by tipping your head back, lifting your chin all the way up to the ceiling. Or…close your eyes, which means you might wobble and fall!

“The more you practice, the easier it gets so give it a go.”

 

Senior Lecturer in Podiatry Stella Harvey is the team’s newest member. She became a podiatrist because of the wide variety of roles within the profession: “There are various reasons to choose podiatry, you get to study biology, medicine. It’s an undergraduate specialism but you qualify as a specialist but you go on to many different areas like children’s podiatry, sports podiatry, you can go on to become a podiatric surgeon.

“You can become an independent prescriber – there are plenty of different routes you can take.

“I further specialised in high risk podiatry – wound care – and preventing wounds particularly in people who have diabetes.”

If you want to join them at the University’s very own podiatry clinic, see our website.

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