Foot Pulse Podiatry, based in Coates Physiotherapy on Godfrey Road in Newport, offers an extensive range of foot care – ranging from cosmetic to medical – with owner, Jenny Foley, urging people to “be brave and come out”.
Ms Foley, who has been a podiatrist for about four years, started the new venture in October and – as a result – the podiatrist is “gold standard” for covid safety, including staff wearing a PAPR (powered air-purifying respirator) mask with FFP (filtering face piece) 3 filter, with a clear screen to help those hard of hearing.
Ms Foley said: “I’ve always wanted to open my business and when coronavirus put everything to stop I used it as an opportunity to build a covid-secure podiatrist from the get-go.
Foot Pulse Podiatry is based in Coates Physiotherapy (Picture: Google Maps)
“Don’t be alarmed by my PPE – it’s gold standard and the safest for you and me. Safety is our priority.
“The PPE makes elderly people feel safer; it’s almost like a barrier for them. Kids are like Marmite; they either love it or hate it. Some think I look like a dark Buzz Lightyear.
“I have people apologise when they take their shoes off; I work with feet and I’ve seen it all, so there’s no need to worry.”
Visitors have their temperature taken upon arrival with hand sanitizer available. Unlike some businesses, which have adapted digitally to the coronavirus pandemic, Foot Pulse Podiatrist cannot offer services online so “needs people to be brave and come out”.
Foot care can have a huge impact on health and quality of life, particularly if problems are overlooked or ignored.
Jenny Foley is a certified podiatrist
The NHS can help people with foot problems, but as they are “stretched” at the moment it may be beneficial for some to go private, even if it’s in between NHS appointments.
“Foot problems can worsen if they’re not dealt with,” said Ms Foley. “Footcare is massively important, especially for people with diabetes. There’s the saying: ‘lose a limb, lose your life’ but this can be prevented if it’s picked up early.
“We deal with painful corns, protruding nails, and more. Often we help people with dementia who aren’t aware they’re in pain.”
Foot Pulse Podiatry offers everyone a full foot assessment. This includes checking pulses and pressure points, nerve sensations, and proprioception – which is awareness of foot placement and muscle strength and can help prevent falls.
Ms Foley explained: “Many of the people I see are elderly and may be caring for their partner, so if they fall it can cause issues for both of them. Checking foot pulses can show if someone has atrial fibrillation (an irregular or abnormally fast heart rate) which can pre-dispose a person to strokes.
“I send two or three letters a week to people about atrial fibrillation that they didn’t know about.
“We deal with everything from kids with verrucas to elderly people with diabetes, from aesthetic to saving limbs.
“If an ingrown toenail becomes infected it can lead to sepsis – antibiotics will help, but you need to get the infection out.
“We are not just cut and come again – we are medical and preventative. Confirming diagnosis is half the battle.”
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Jenny Foley at Foot Pulse Podiatry in Newport
Although at the moment Ms Foley is the only podiatrist based at Foot Pulse Podiatry its location, in Coates Physiotherapy, means there is a “diverse” team of physiotherapists and medical experts available on-site.
As the business expands Ms Foley plans to build up the business, taking on a “nice mix of specialists”.
Since opening Ms Foley has also noticed people’s mental health improve just from chatting.
“Loneliness and depression is a big issue at the moment; a recent patient hadn’t seen anyone since March,” she said
“I like a good old chat, so people come in and we talk, and it seems to bring them some happiness and improve their mental wellbeing.
“I recently had a patient, a keyworker, who’d been suffering with corns for 16 months and didn’t know what to do.
“I removed them and she said it’s changed her life and she has a spring in her step. She’s not in pain when she visits now which gives me that warm fuzzy feeling.”
Foot Pulse Podiatry is also involved with the community, supporting the Wrap Up Newport project and planning to get involved with the Forgotten Feet project which offers free podiatry services for those most in need, such as the homeless.
Ms Foley hopes to collaborate with local businesses and said: “Small businesses should work together to support and promote each other.
“Supporting local business improves the economy. I’ve put so much into this and – when you come here – you’re paying for my daughter to do ballet or swimming at the local leisure centre.
“I’m not doing this because I’m running a big chain; I’m passionate about what I do.
“It’s important for people to not be scared, to attend their appointments. We’re not just aesthetic and we can stop things accelerating.”