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21 Barclay Street, Heywood, VIC, 3304

Podiatry more than just cutting nails

Heywood finally has a podiatry service in the town again, and the new podiatrist is keen to clear up some misconceptions about what the profession is about.

“A lot of people think all we do is cut nails,” she said.

“But we do so much more.”

Ms Johnston started in the role at Heywood Rural Health in February, though the coronavirus pandemic restrictions have meant it has been low-key so far, only re-opening again last week. 

However, the service has returned after a fairly lengthy absence, save for a period where a locum travelled to town from Ararat, which ended about nine months ago. 

With Podiatrists in short supply the new service is a boost for both HRH and the town. 

Ms Johnston, who graduated last year, is part of the Warrnambool Podiatry Group and is in Heywood on Mondays and Tuesdays.

She is enjoying being at Heywood.

“It’s excellent here,” she said.

“We’ve got supportive and friendly staff and being multi-disciplinary we can get other opinions in if required.

“I can send them to the physio or (occupational therapy) here if I need to.”

While cutting nails is the stereotype, she said there were a range of conditions that could be treated.

“Especially people with diabetes,” she said. 

“Doctors will recommend they come to us at least once a year.  They get a couple of tests done, which aren’t invasive, and we look at the blood flow in their feet.

“We can pick up any changes early.

“A lot of people put down foot pain to ageing, but it’s not necessarily that, and they can be problems we can help rectify.”

The problems could stem from walking or even injuries suffered years ago that weren’t rehabilitated properly, Ms Johnston said.

Footballers with ankle issues were another speciality.

Ingrown toenail operations can be done in the chair “rather that stressing about going to the doctor or larger surgery”.