Happy Feet… and I’m not talking about the movie!

31st October 2018

When Ollie at Heal Medical and Wellness Spa, in Harrogate, kindly offered me a podiatry appointment I nervously accepted. This was because, firstly, I actually had no idea what this entailed and, secondly, because I’m not actually that keen on people touching my feet. Now I know Ollie is highly experienced in his field so I knew my feet were, as it were, in good handsNeedless to say, however, I was still nervous!

So when the day arrived, I looked at my feet and told them ‘we are in this together kids, let’s do this’. As always when I arrived at Heal I was greeted by the gorgeous smell of the Comfort Zone Tranquility range that they use, and highly recommend, and the gorgeous big smile of Matthew behind the reception desk.

I was handed a delicious coffee, which I chose from a great selection of drinks and then Ollie lead me up to his treatment room.

Boots off, socks off and in to his treatment chair I hopped. He then proceeded to read my feet as if he were a fortune teller. ‘Do you find, sometimes, that your feet are uncomfortable to walk on in a morning?’ ‘Erm yes…’ ‘Do you struggle to cut this big toe nail? Find it really thick?’ ‘Yes!!’

From his very quick glance he turns to me and tells me I have Onycholysis. My puzzled face looking back at him led him to thoroughly explain what this meant. Onycholysis is basically the nail lifting which results in the nail gradually detachingfrom the nail bed beneath it. A common cause of onycholysis in toenails is fungal infections or from wearing certain shoes. Ollie explained that this is especially common in women because we like to wear pretty shoes; for example pointy shoes that aren’t necessarily good for our feet.   Guilty as charged! The constant rubbing of the shoe on the toenail eventually causes the lifting of the toenail.

Onycholysis and fungal nail tend to go hand in hand (or foot in foot!) with each other as the lifted nail creates a cave, or as I imagine, a fabulous holiday home, for bacteria. Lovely! Luckily Ollie believes I don’t have a fungal nail infection. Phew!

I won’t bore you, or embarrass myself, by explaining all the other things he diagnosed from my dodgy feet but, what I will say, is it was very interesting. Ollie has a wonderful way of explaining everything. His super friendly personality mixed with his passion for what he does makes you feel like you are in wonderful hands and you know exactly what he is doing. He also gave me exercises to do to help remedy or delay any further damage I may cause over time.

I asked Ollie what the difference is between a podiatrist and a chiropodist? The answer is simple: nothing. They are in fact the same. The role for both is to advise you on how to take care of your feet and the type of shoes that you need to wear. Podiatrists/chiropodists can also treat and alleviate day-to-day foot problems such as fungal or ingrown toenails. They can also treat calluses and corns, verrucae, smelly feet, cracked heels and athlete’s foot. Podiatrists/chiropodists can also help to ease the pain for people who have diabetic foot ulcers.

A common area of practice within podiatry is also dealing with problems arising from the way your joints are aligned and your muscles function.

One thing Ollie really wanted to point out was that when you book to see a podiatrist you must make sure they are HPCP registered. This is the Health & Care Professions Council which regulate many professions such as practitioner psychologists, speech therapist, social workers etc. He told me to not be afraid to ask to see their registration. It is very important as it means that the podiatrist, or whichever health care provider you are seeing, is maintaining the level of training required and that they have insurance.

Podiatrists are specifically trained to look out for signs of diabetes as well as other problems.  As Ollie explained, diabetics can really suffer with their feet. There is also a rise in foot cancer as we all tend to neglect our feet and, unless we are a podiatrist, we are unlikely to know what symptoms to look for. I know that I neglect mine. In summer, in England, I will apply sun cream to my arms and legs etc., but I never put it on my feet. Why not?  An ‘MOT’ from a podiatrist like Ollie is reassuring!

Another thing Ollie and I talked about which, seeing as we are all friends, I will share with you, is the fact I have a… dun-dun-duuuun…. bunion. I have had it for years and years. Sometimes it is painful and sometimes not. Ollie explained that as well as certain shoes causing your bunion to hurt you can also find that when the weather changes and it gets colder it can become more painful. And he is right: it does! One of his suggestions to help with this was to keep it warm. Yes, wearing warm socks and boots can help but what he also pointed out is that, in winter, we will wear said socks and boots and warm winter coats and scarves but still wear thin jeans on our legs. We are therefore keeping the blood in our torso warm but then, when the blood travels down to our legs,it becomes colder for when it then hits our feet. Makes sense!  Ollie recommended that wearing long johns, (I know, sounds really sexy!) underneath can help keep our legs warm and therefore the warm blood flowing in to our feet. He recommended a website that sell silk long johns that are meant to be particularly good.  At least they sound a bit more fashionable!

After all this advice and information, Ollie then got down to business. He took out a surgical sterile single use blade to remove the calluses underneath my feet. When he was getting out the blade I was a bit nervous but, actually, I didn’t feel a thing. Wow! My feet felt and looked so much better afterwards. When he was finished and I stood up, I instantly felt the difference. My feet felt comfier!

After my appointment with Ollie I then went through to another treatment room and had a lovely foot spa which involved exfoliating my feet, followed by a foot mask and being moisturised. It was absolute bliss. I bet my feet were wondering what was going on. They have never had so much attention! You can add the foot spa on to any treatment or have it on its own. It really was very relaxing.

Foot Exfoliation

Ollie in Action

I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed my podiatry appointment. My nerves were instantly banished thanks to Ollie’s friendly and calming nature and his ability to clearly explain things. It has opened my eyes to understanding that it really is important to look after our feet. Our feet are a life line: they give us our freedom. Us ladies can happily spend a chunk of money on our hair without giving it much thought but we won’t think about spending money on our feet. How we treat our feet now will affect how they treat us later on in life.

Foot Mask

Since my appointment, when I put my shoes on now, I do think to myself ‘Would Ollie approve of these?’ He did explain that we don’t have to stop wearing our pretty shoes but maybe think about what we are doing for the day, and for certain parts of it, can we just wear some comfy trainers? Perhaps whilst we run some errands, but then, when we are off for a meeting or a dinner date, we can chuck on our killer heels. I think it’s just about being more mindful of what we put on our feet.

Since my appointment, when I put my shoes on now, I do think to myself ‘Would Ollie approve of these?’ He did explain that we don’t have to stop wearing our pretty shoes but maybe think about what we are doing for the day, and for certain parts of it, can we just wear some comfy trainers? Perhaps whilst we run some errands, but then, when we are off for a meeting or a dinner date, we can chuck on our killer heels. I think it’s just about being more mindful of what we put on our feet.

I was very kindly gifted this treatment but it is now something I will happily pay for, going forward. I do not want to neglect my feet anymore: sorry for doing so so far, feet!!

As well as podiatry they offer many more treatments at Heal Medical and Wellness Spa. Click on the link at the bottom of the page to have a look at their website. All their staff are highly trained and super friendly. They really do offer an all-round fabulous experience and all with the stylish yet relaxing environment, the tasty selection of drinks, the beautiful aromas they use and the blissful tranquil music they play whilst you are enjoying certain treatments.

I cannot recommend Heal Medical and Wellness Spa highly enough. If you would like to book in for a treatment (minimum spend £25) mention my name, Champagne Fashion on a Beer Budget.  You will receive these beautiful Comfort Zone products worth RRP £15.

Also, we are having a Christmas do for all existing clients and potential new ones on Wednesday 5th December. There will be fizz and nibbles and discounts on products and treatments on the night. Further details to follow but we would love to see you there!

Visit the Heal Spa website