A week in the life of a podiatrist

15 Sep 2015 Sam Brown

Meet Claire Kennedy, a podiatrist who loves her job and the difference she makes.

“A podiatrist is a healthcare professional who diagnoses and treats people with problems of the feet, ankles and lower limbs. Lots of people think being a podiatrist must be a bit gross – but I absolutely love my job, and the difference I make to my patients, and I wouldn’t change it for the world!

“No two days the same “I support lots of different patients in my role, from younger people with ingrowing toenails or biomechanical problems to patients with long term conditions such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. These conditions can reduce circulation and feeling in the feet, resulting in them becoming more deformed, particularly in bed-bound patients. This can result in painful foot pressure ulcers and other problems over time.

“Every day I go to different pre-planned clinics across Bristol. It’s great because it means I never tire of the variety – no two days are the same.

Monday: “I attend a clinic in Easton where I see people for an initial first assessment. I make recommendations for their treatment plan. This could include a one off treatment, a long term treatment plan for more complex cases, referral on to another specialism, or a referral back to their GP.

Tuesday: “I attend the Diabetic Foot Clinic at the BRI to treat patients who have chronic open wounds or gangrene as a result of their condition. I work intensively with Orthopaedic consultants,  Microbiologists, Radiographers (for x-rays) and the plaster room (for casting) as part of a specialist team. Our aim is to prevent amputation and deterioration of foot health to the point where it affects people’s quality of life.

Wednesday:  “I visit bedbound patients in their own homes, working with patients and carers to try and prevent pressure sores developing, and treating chronic wounds. I often share this care with the district nursing team.

Thursday: “It’s nail surgery clinic day. This involves removing part or all of a nail that is growing into the toe, causing pain and infections with open wounds. I administer local anaesthetic into each patient’s toe before the operation, so that the patient is not in pain during the surgery.

Friday: “I attend another initial assessment clinic in Bedminster. This focuses on biomechanical problems. I assess the way people are walking and how their feet are working. I prescribe stretching exercises or orthotics (which are inserts that go into the shoe to help feet work more efficiently). I provide alot of advice on appropriate footwear. I really enjoy my job. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing my patients walk out of a clinic with less pain, feeling empowered to take care of themselves with new advice or a new device. It really makes me happy!”

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