Katherine Wolfe attends the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists Conference

Hi everyone, just reporting back on my time at our Society’s (The SCP) Annual Conference in Harrogate (The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists) held over the 24th-26th Novermber. The conference happens every year and it allows us to further continue our professional learning, plus learn about the latest clinical and practical developments from renowned industrial speakers.

A lecture that particularly stood out for me was presented by Dr Richard Weller, a Senior Lecturer in Dermatology at The University of Edinburgh. It was all about Dermatology of the lower limb, which in our work is highly important, as there are many skin conditions that can affect the lower limb just like many other sites on the body. These conditions however, differ in specific structural appearances and functional requirements in the foot.

Commonly we see conditions such as Psoriasis, Eczema and Tinea Pedis (Athlete’s foot), they all very much look the same, however respond to different treatments. Dr Weller in the lecture was very enthusiastic about focussing on common dermatoses of the foot, how other conditions present with the same appearance but importantly the best and most recent effective treatment management for the conditions.

One of the interesting facts that came from the lecturer, was Dr Weller innocently told us the dark dirt and grime you see on the streets of London is roughly 98% made up of human skin! Skin takes about 2-3 weeks to go through a living cycle of new skin to dead skin!!

Skin conditions arise for various reasons; these are a few of the common conditions that Dr Weller spoke about and that I see in my clinics:

  • Tinea Pedis (Athlete’s foot) is a fungal infection, fungi likes to grow at blood level temperature; this is why fungus thrives in feet. Fungus conditions are usually asymmetric. Best treatment for fungus is to avoid corticosteroids but use topical fungal treatment or nail fungal treatment depending on where the fungus is present. Clean socks and shoes are also very important!
  • Eczema is inflammation of the skin and can be itchy. This is due to an exaggerated antibody reaction (antibodies are produced by your immune system to fight off foreign bodies). There are 2 main types of Eczema – Acute, which has a wet red appearance on the skin, and most commonly Chronic, which has a dry thick scaly appearance. Corticosteroids are often the best effective management for Eczema, with diligent skin hydration through emolients.
  • Psoriasis is the over production of new cells. Instead of cells taking a 2-3 week cycle, Psoriasis is a 3-4 day shedding of new skin. It often presents in ‘plaques’ with a clear border between skin and the plaques of Psoriasis. Interestingly, 90% of people with Psoriasis on the bottom of their feet may smoke, however it clears after a couple of years from when the person affected stops smoking.
  • Pitted Keratolysis is due to a bacterial infection in the feet. It’s commonly found in people that sweat a lot. Therefore, the best management for Pitted Keratolysis is wearing cooling shoes and socks – cotton is best! Usually with Pitted Keratolysis there is a fungal infection present as well, therefore treat the fungal infection too with topical fungal treatment and also make sure your feet are clean. Lastly an antiperspirant for your feet is key – this helps deal with your sweat levels of your feet!

Having attended the conference and been inspired by all the lectures and seminars I attended I am looking forward to treating some challenging foot and dermatological problems in my upcoming clinics.

Katherine Wolfe

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