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Pandemic Lockdown – When to see a Podiatrist

Randy treating a patient at our Wallacia clinic.

Written by Philip Aumeer-Donovan

Posted 20th July 2021

In a pandemic lockdown, businesses are required to cease trading until the threat of the pandemic has eased, to help stop the spread of the disease. Accordingly, we have scaled back our operations for patients who are able to wait a little longer. For low-risk and non-emergency patients, it is better to remain in isolation until the lockdown is lifted.

However, we are still open for High-Risk and Emergency cases, where the risk of not receiving care is greater than not observing strict isolation. We want to ensure that we avoid the development of pain, wounds and infection that may require more serious and invasive intervention if left untreated. We want to keep you out of the hospitals!

We have also expanded our house call operations so that patients who are immunocompromised or at a high risk for contracting COVID-19, or are self-isolating for safety can still receive their essential podiatric care. For more information about the additional safety measures we have in place at Repairs Afoot, both for in-clinic and in-home care, please visit our COVID-19 Response page.

So, when should you come and see us during lockdown?

1. If you have an acute injury

If you have dropped something on your foot, stepped on something, kicked something, sprained your ankle, or have developed foot pain that is making walking difficult – come and see us straight away.

If you have stepped on something or developed a sharp pain in the bottom of your foot, we need to check that a foreign object hasn’t embedded itself into your skin, and look for signs of wounds, ulcers or infection.

If you have dropped something on your foot, kicked something or sprained your ankle, we can refer you for private imaging to check if you have damaged bones, ligaments or other structures. We can then advise you on how to treat your issue at home, or let you know when intervention at the hospital is absolutely necessary. We even have moon boots at the clinic if required!

If pain (and particularly acute or sudden-onset pain) is looked at early enough, it is generally easier to treat than if you wait to get seen.

2. If you have an ingrowing toenail

Don’t leave your ingrowing toenail until it becomes swollen and infected! If you are experiencing pain because of your toenails, we have a range of treatment options that can help stop it from getting worse. Sometimes, simply cutting the nail correctly will fix the issue. We can also gently pack under the edges of the nail, we have the Onyfix nail correction system to brace the nail, and we can do toenail surgery at the clinic if you require that.

If we can treat a nail in the early stages of ingrowing, we can often avoid surgery, but if it is left to get worse, surgery can sometimes be the only option for treatment, so you are better not waiting to see us about that.

3. If you are high-risk, keep your regular appointments

If you are a high-risk patient, our recommendation is that you should keep your regular appointments even if you do not have any obvious wounds or issues at the present time. It is possible for ulcers to form under hard skin that you are unaware of until the podiatrist starts to remove that hard skin, particularly if you have neuropathy, or loss of sensation in your foot. If you keep your regular appointment, your podiatrist can keep monitoring and identify areas of concern before they break down.

For high-risk patients, and particularly those who have slow healing or reduced blood flow to the feet, preventing issues from occurring is always much easier than fixing them after they have happened.

People with diabetes who are unable to attend to their own feet should also consider maintaining their regular appointments.

4. If you require wound care

High risk patients who develop a wound should come to see us straight away to prevent further complications.

If you already receive regular wound care at the high-risk clinic and are concerned about attending the hospital for these treatments at this time, we are able to treat these for you at the clinic until you are comfortable returning to the hospital clinics.

5. If your regular podiatrist has shut down

If your local podiatrist has shut down for the lockdown, we are taking new patients.  You are welcome to come and see us for your regular care and emergency care (especially if you are high-risk) until they open up again. We can also provide you with a home visit if required.

6. If you find something strange

If you are concerned about something on your foot or leg, and are not sure what it is – or how serious the issue is – take a photo of it and email it or private message us via Facebook. We’ll be happy to take a cursory look at it for you and let you know either how to treat it at home, if you will need to come into the clinic for us to examine or treat, or if we will need you to go back to your GP for referral to another specialist such as a dermatologist or skin cancer expert.

If you are ever unsure about whether to see us or not, just give us a call, email us, or send us a message – we’ll be happy to chat with you to discuss your needs.

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