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Ending the silence let's make more noise about foot health!

Ending the silence let's make more noise about foot health!

When we commissioned our new survey on the ‘state of the nation's feet’, to mark the start of this June’s Foot Health Month, we expected to find that many of us fail to appreciate or cherish our feet. But we’ve been struck by just how many people said they had experienced foot pain that had a real impact on their life and health - and, worryingly, how many people said they did not know where to turn to for help.  

This new research shines a spotlight on how many of us are suffering in silence from debilitating foot pain, and shows just how important foot health is for us, our families and the UK’s economy.  

We asked 1,500 people to tell us about their foot health and almost 60% of people who took part in the research said that they were currently experiencing foot pain of some sort, but fewer than half of them had sought help from a podiatrist or doctor. 

Nearly all of those (98%) who reported having experienced foot pain said that it had left them struggling to walk, while two-thirds of everyone surveyed said that foot pain had prevented them from exercising.  

Of the 50% who didn’t seek help for their pain, more than a quarter (26%) hoped it would go away on its own, and one in ten said the condition of their feet meant they were too embarrassed to see a specialist. 

Almost 20% of our respondents reported having taken time off work because of foot pain, which is bad for the economy and, in a world where more of us are working for ourselves, can be a strain on family finances. 

Spreading the word about foot health

So the scale of the problem is huge. What do we take away from all this? First of all, there is a public health challenge. The vast majority of our survey respondents, 70% of everyone who took part, admitted to neglecting their feet more than the rest of their body. Our job must be to help people to look after their feet better by spreading messages about how people can stay healthy and mobile. For that reason we have been talking to journalists about foot health and during Foot Health Month we’re seeing some great coverage of foot health issues in the media, as we work to increase the visibility of foot health.

You can keep up to date with this by following the hashtag #FootHealthMonth2018 where we’ll be highlighting coverage as it appears. We’ve put some links up here as well and we’ll be updating this over the next few weeks. 

Working together to improve the health of the UK’s feet

The more worrying finding for podiatry as a profession is that many people simply do not know where to turn when faced with foot problems – only 36% of respondents who sought help had turned to an expert such as a podiatrist. It’s vital that more of us know where to turn when we suffer foot pain. This is why initiatives like Foot Health Month are so important. We’re looking forward to a month of activity in podiatry clinics and practices all over the UK, to showcase the important work podiatrists do and to raise awareness of how people can maintain healthy feet and get expert podiatric help when they need it.   

It’s been great over the last few days to see some of the activity that podiatrists around the UK are undertaking to support Foot health Month and raise awareness of foot health and of podiatry. Some podiatrists are giving away copies of our new foot health leaflets, some are providing free foot health checks or advice in their clinic or community, and some are taking to social media to spread the word. Look out for Foot Health Month posters and displays in the windows of participating podiatry practices and follow #foothealthmonth2018 to keep up with social media activity.

Foot Health Month is just one of the ways we intend to keep raising the profile of Podiatry and of foot health, so that more people know how to take care of their feet and when to visit a podiatrist for expert help.

Steve Jamieson
CEO and General Secretary

Some suggested Tweets to share this blog post:

What do the results of @SCP_PodiatryUK’s latest survey tell us about ‘the state of the nation’s feet’? by @SteveJamieson12 www.scpod.org/ending-the-silence #FootHealthMonth2018

@SCP_PodiatryUK chief exective @SteveJamieson12 looks at what we can learn from new survey data on foot health in the UK: www.scpod.org/ending-the-silence #FootHealthMonth2018