Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about podiatry and treatments.

Frequently Asked Questions – Podiatry

What is podiatry?

Podiatry is the study of the lower limb. For a career in podiatry you need to study an undergraduate degree, and attain a Bachelor of Science (BSc). In the UK we are part of the Allied Health Professionals. https://www.england.nhs.uk/ahp/role/

You will work with people’s feet and legs. You’ll diagnose and treat abnormalities and offer professional advice on care of feet and legs to prevent foot problems.

What do I need to study podiatry? career in podiatry

In order to be accepted onto the podiatry course you will need to meet the academic requirements and also have experience and knowledge of the profession. We would advise you to gain this by:

  • Shadowing and work experience in podiatry
  • Contact NHS podiatry departments and private practice clinic
  • Visit the Zest Podiatry career page

Frequently Asked Questions – ingrown nails

Will my nail get better by itself – do I need the surgery?

If the ingrowing toenail has pierced the skin and caused an infection, it is unlikely to heal by itself. If left untreated the toe will remain infected until the nail spicule has been removed.

Will my nail re-attach?

No, a nail will not re-attach to the nail bed. Common damage is by dropping something on it, stubbing it or running long distance with long toe nails. The nail bed once lifted will need to grow out or be removed.

If the nail is only partially lifted or has some blood under it then you may need to have the nail removed, sometime it is recommended under local anaesthetic. At Zest Podiatry we can determine if this is the treatment you require and are able to offer this is clinic.

Do antibiotics help?

Antibiotics can help reduce the infection, inflammation and pain, but the toe will become reinfected if the ingrown nail is not removed.

Does salt water bathing help?

Bathing in salt water can help irrigate the skin and flush away infected matter but it is unlikely to prevent infection.

Do I have to have an injection for the local anaesthetic, and do numbing creams work?

Numbing creams can help the surface of the skin, but will not help deeper into the toe. Ice packs have been shown to work better, we can do that for you. An injection on both at the base of the toe being treated is necessary but it is done in less than 30 seconds. We can discuss the best approach to reducing pain at your initial consultation.

What do I need to do before the nail surgery?

Your podiatrist will have assessed you prior to surgery and given you information about the surgery and what to do afterwards. 

This includes:

  • Cut your toenails and clean under the nails the day before surgery. 
  • Remove all nail polish.
  • Take all prescription medicine as normal unless told differently. 
  • Inform Podiatry staff of any changes to your medication or health. 
  • Bring the names of any new tablets with you.
  • Eat and drink normally on the day of the surgery.
  • Bring a pair of flip-flops/slidders/(sandals to wear home.
  • Bring a book/mobile phone for distraction if necessary. 
  • Paracetamol or Ibuprofen (not Aspirin) may be needed after the surgery, make sure you have some at home.
  • Plan a restful day at home after the surgery with your feet up. You may feel tired after the surgery.
  • Prepare the equipment for redressing 
  • Arrange for a friend/family member to visit with you, if necessary AND to give you a lift home

How long will the surgery take?

We allow an hour for our nail surgery appointments.

When can I drive my car?

Driving the same day as having local anaesthetic in your foot may invalidate your car insurance. We recommend that a lift home from a friend/family member or a taxi can be organised.

When can I return to work?

Most patients can return to work after 24 hours; 12 hours minimum rest is recommended. A follow up appointment with a redressing and a wound check-up is made for the following day. If you are returning to sport, avoid swimming whilst an open wound, and be cautious with high impact sports such as squash and climbing. You will know if you have done too much too soon.

What should I expect after surgery?

  • Your toe will be numb for 1-2 hours after the operation. Should you experience pain such as  throbbing or discomfort as sensation returns use the painkillers that you would normally take for a headache, but avoid aspirin and aspirin based products e.g. Anadin.
  • Keep the feet elevated and rest as much as possible.
  • If there is further bleeding or oozing, keep the surgery dressing on and add extra gauze over the dressing (as provided by the podiatrist) and elevate the leg higher.
  • Do not remove the dressing or get it wet.
  • Avoid alcohol for 24 hours and do not drive for 12 hours.
  • You should be able to go to work /school the next day.

What happens after the 1st redressing appointment?

The podiatrist will show you how to clean, dry and apply dressing on the  toe. They will give you instructions on how to bathe the toe daily in salt water and redress until the wound stops oozing. This takes about 14 days

The podiatrist will give you information about what to do if you suspect that you have an infection

What should I expect after 1 month?

The average healing time is 4-8 weeks.

Sports that may injure the toe (squash & climbing) and swimming should be avoided until the wound has healed.

How successful is the operation?

As with all operations there are risks associated with surgery. The main outcomes associated with nail surgery are nail regrowth (typically occurs in 3% in cases), delayed healing, phenol burn and infection.

Frequently Asked Questions – verruca

What is a virus?

A virus is a tiny agent which can infect living organisms (host). The virus can copy itself inside our cells, it takes over the cell machinery and reproduces itself. The cell then bursts open, spreading the virus. There is a barrier around them making it hard for our body’s defence mechanism to locate them. Viruses infect a variety of living organisms, including bacteria, plants, and animals. 

The HPV (human papilloma virus)  

The HPV infects the skin cells in the outer layer of skin (epidermis) where it can stay undetected. They are harmless in that they don’t invade the body any deeper than the top layer of skin. They can however spread to other parts of the foot or onto the hands.

The virus causes an excess amount of keratin to develop in the top skin layer (epidermis). The extra keratin produces the unsightly and rough texture of the verrucae and wart. 

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