Feet for Life
Even when they are healthy, our feet take a hammering. Seeing the London Marathon emphasises the point. Consider the impact of more than 40,000 steps making up a marathon course. With each foot having some 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments and about a quarter of the number of bones in the skeleton it is little surprise that sustained mobility depends on good foot care. It is not something we tend to think much about.
Members of our Faculty of Podiatric Medicine were active close to the finishing line of last week’s London Marathon and they have been driving home the message about the importance of foot care for continued function. It is amazing that apparently trivial facts are perhaps not so trivial. How many realise, for example, that there is an ideal time of day for shoe shopping? The answer is featured in our Twitter campaign #feetforlife
The statistics for inadequate foot care and the entirely preventable consequences are staggering (sorry!). One of the major challenges relates to the problem of the so called diabetic foot. The international burden of diabetes is enormous and predicted to become an increasingly significant public health problem. There are almost 100 million people with diabetes in China, more than 65 million in India and well over 24 million in the USA. It has been estimated that, globally, a limb is amputated because of diabetes approximately every 20 seconds. In the UK some 120 amputations are performed every week as a result of diabetes.
For those whose limb problems have not quite reached such an end stage it is not difficult to appreciate the pain, immobility and indeed psychological consequences of foot ulcers and infection. A particularly tragic characteristic of this morbidity is that so much of it is preventable.
Our Faculty of Podiatric Medicine has been in the vanguard of specialists calling for an integrated foot care pathway, with trained staff in foot protection services in the community and access to multidisciplinary specialist teams. This has been shown to considerably lower the risk of amputation, indeed those patients at risk but who receive podiatric care are nearly four times less likely to require amputation.
The Faculty, under the leadership of Professor Stuart Baird has been active in advancing all aspects of podiatric care and they are currently engaged in a very active, successful and high profile social media campaign. Follow the action and join in on Twitter via #feetforlife and @rcpsglasgow. If you would like electronic or print versions of any of our #feetforlife graphics, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also download them here