BLOG - REGULAR BLOG BY JANET McGROGGAN - PRINCIPAL PODIATRIST 

The Plantar Fascia [fa-she-a] is a band of fibrous connective tissue in your foot. It is not a ligament, tendon or muscle.  
 
The plantar fascia originates in the calcaneus (heel bone) on the plantar surface (sole) of your foot. It stretches forwards and separates into five slips each one attaching into the plantar surface of each of the five metatarsal heads which make up the ball of your foot. 
 
Adding ‘-itis’ to any anatomical word means ‘inflammation’ E.g. Tendonitis – Inflammation of a tendon. Therefore, plantar fasciitis [fa-she-i-tis] means an inflamed plantar fascia. 
 
The plantar fascia has the unenviable task of supporting our body through our feet. It holds the fore foot to the rearfoot and without it our feet could completely collapse. 
There are several first line treatments you can try but remember Plantar Fasciitis is a symptom of a disorder and if home remedies do not work you must see a podiatrist or G.P. 
 
The first thing to do is take a long hard look at your footwear and remember when doing this think support, support, support! 
 
AVOID - Thin soles, flexible soles, high heels, narrow footwear, slip-on shoes. Especially avoid flip-flops (the havaianas style) and ballet pumps. 
If you have tried supportive footwear and gentle stretching with no success, then it is time to see a podiatrist. 
 
Go to Find a Podiatrist - UK or the HCPC website to find a qualified and regulated podiatrist. 
 
A podiatrist will take a medical history and ask you what treatments you have tried. They may recommend that you undergo a biomechanical assessment. 
 
 
This is a very exciting week for Stride Clinic and Age UK Cheshire.  
 
Age UK is the UK’s largest charity for older people and they are determined to keep the over 50’s on their feet. Cutbacks in the NHS mean that basic foot care and toenail cutting services are no longer accessible to many and Age UK Cheshire are aware that this can cause older people to become isolated due to the problems associated with painful long nails and untreated foot problems. 
 
It is so important that footcare is carried out by a HCPC registered podiatrist or assistant practitioner and to this end Stride Clinic and Age UK Cheshire have developed a basic footcare and toenail cutting service that is affordable and accessible within the Age UK Cheshire Northwich Community Centre. 
Many people have lost or damaged toenails and this can be unsightly and embarrassing. There are a variety of causes. 
 
• Missing due to nail surgery 
• Damaged through fungal nail infection 
• Missing due to trauma 
• Missing or incomplete due to nail pathology 
• Damaged through medication 
 
The first picture here is from a female patient (permission granted). Three and a half years ago a horse stood on her right big toe causing a lot of trauma resulting in the nail coming off completely. 
Why, oh, why do we have foot problems? I mean aren’t we just doing what nature intended? Your gait is as unique as your fingerprint.  
 
We do not all walk about perfectly upright, arms swinging symmetrically at our sides, head forward like the synths in Humans. Just stop in your main street or my personal favourite, the airport and look around you. Limps, striding, sloping… just look at this guy  
But what is the root of it all? Why the individuality? This is not an exhaustive list, but a taster, and some lucky people will never have a problem, but a recent survey found that 66% of people in the UK say that foot or lower leg pain has stopped them from exercising at some point. 
Let’s face it, sometimes feet are not great at being feet. They get lumps and bumps, limps and pains.  
 
Why? Well at the end of the day the way we, humans, stand upright, stacking our leg bones perpendicular to our foot bones and our pelvis, spine and head on top of that.  
 
Also, in western society, we shove them into man made, often unstructured, footwear and walk on flat hard surfaces like concrete or wooden panels, also man made. 
 
But isn’t that what feet are for? 
 
Ultimately feet like the rest of our bodies have evolved from chimpanzee like ancestors. Our closest living ancestors are bonobo apes. 
My daughter is heading to Creamfields later this summer and as a podiatrist this is when I can really get into annoying parent mode.  
 
So, while she is worrying how close she can get to The Chainsmokers I am wandering round mumbling words like Welly Legs and Immersion Feet. 
 
Online there are several weird and wonderful items to make your festival life ‘erm easier (shoe covers that look like giant trainers!!!) it really is not complicated.  
 
So, when you are packing items to bundle into your wheelbarrow or whatever think of your feet. All other clothes items can get wet and muddy, but your feet are the things that can make or break your crazy jumping about at the gig and after the whole thing is over. 
Varicose Vein surgery has been named in a list of 17 procedures that NHS England has deemed unnecessary as it aims to save money and even out the current postcode lottery for some treatments.  
 
This has probably got varicose vein sufferers in a panic but let’s take a look at what varicose veins are and what non-surgical treatment options are out there. 
 
There are many factors that would make you prone to various veins and wouldn’t you know it being female is one, as is being pregnant.  
 
Family history, being overweight, age and prolonged periods of standing for example as part of your job all contribute and the more boxes you tick the more likely you are to develop varicose veins. 
Photo by Eirik Skarstein on Unsplash 

Our Principal Podiatrist, Janet McGroggan was interviewed by Tanya Pearey from Woman's Weekly Magazine.   Publication date 19th June 2018.  Click the image or 'Read More' for the full article. 

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