With A&E departments in crisis across the country, leading podiatrist Dr Judith Anders says those with foot issues could save themselves and the NHS valuable time by accessing an immediate consultation with a dedicated foot expert.

“A&E is for acute serious emergencies,” says Judith. “Why wait for hours on end when what you really need is the attention of a podiatrist who will deliver a quick solution, as well as targeted advice and follow-up treatment?

“Not only is waiting at A&E time-consuming and worrying, but at the end of the wait you’ll be seeing a medic who won’t have the specialist foot health expertise and will likely just refer you back to your GP.

“I had a patient this Christmas who went to A&E with gout and they sent him away. They told him to see a podiatrist who could treat the condition and deliver follow-up care. He went to see his GP and he said the same.

“There was a cost to his time and the NHS when it could have been sorted out so much quicker. I treated the issue immediately.”

Judith, a podiatrist for over 20 years, and founder of Feel Your Feet, a campaigning support group covering a rainbow of foot issues, says we are at a point in the calendar where foot injuries are common.

“New Year resolutions see people starting new exercise regimes which means people can easily develop foot injuries, ankle strains, and shin splints. Suddenly they think they need to go to A&E whereas that kind of injury is likely to be caused by an issue with a person’s gait, which a podiatrist can advise on.

“We have also just come off the back of the party season. That can mean girls walking home from parties in bare feet. A podiatrist can find a foreign body like a stone or glass and remove it quickly and painlessly. Alternatively, they might be suffering in-growing toenails from forcing feet into tight shoes.”

Judith is seeking to change long-term and potentially damaging attitudes to foot health.

“A person wouldn’t go to A&E with an issue with their eyesight or your teeth,” she says, “they’d seek the attention of the relevant expert. Feet are no different. Podiatrists have an expert knowledge of how the foot works and the correct treatment.

“Avoid A&E and talk to someone who can offer immediate help.”

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