Nikki Brook Attends Glasgow Conference

Having just attended this year’s Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists (SCP) Annual Conference held in Glasgow over the 17-19 November I thought I would share some feedback.  The conference allows us to further continue our professional learning plus learn about the latest clinical advances from keynote speakers across the globe.

The lectures and seminars I attended were in areas frequently seen at The Footcare Centre such as Diabetes, Rheumatology, Wound care / tissue viability as well as musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions and Podopaediatrics.

A lecture that particularly stood out for me was ‘Integration of MSK into diabetes/vascular clinics – device and footwear prescription’ presented by Dr. Jill Halstead, Prinicipal Podiatrist at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust.  Highlighted was the Charcot neuropathic foot with typical rocker bottom deformity, forefoot swelling with collapse of the medial longitudinal arch.  It is a painful, disarticulated foot with a dropped talonavicular joint.  Treatment includes specialist shoes, offloading boots or surgery such as subtalar fusion, Jones fracture or Charcot reconstruction.

Duncan Stang, Diabetes Foot Co-Ordinator for Scotland chaired the talk on wound care and tissue viability: demystifying wound healing for podiatrists.  He discussed types of dressings for wounds such as hydrocolloids, foams, alginates and hydrogels, the latter being water donating to the wound.  Interestingly, it was stressed that dressings do not heal wounds but they do allow for an optimal environment for healing to occur.

The role of debridement is important in wound healing.  Debridement methods such as autolytic, larval, mechanical and hydro surgical are all used to remove dead, devitalised or infected tissue to improve healing times.  On a light-hearted note, the speaker ended his talk saying “how far a clinician goes with sharp debridement can be like the difference between a toothpick and ice pick!” and that practitioners should always work within their own scope of practice and never be afraid to refer onto a colleague or another professional.

Other informative seminars were on podopaediatrics specifically on the hypermobile child.  The Beighton scale is used to score the amount of hypermobility meaning an excessive range of motion in any given joint.  Beighton criteria includes the amount of collagen, elastin and fibrillin found in patients who tend to have stretchy, fragile skin and osteopenia.  Other criteria used to assess for connective tissue diseases such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and Marfan syndrome is looking at symmetry, facial features, height, bone growth, muscle bulk and loss of function.

The Rheumatology lecture looked at the psychological aspects of rheumatic diseases.  Patients find everyday tasks difficult due to lack of grip, pain fatigue and joint stiffness.  Psychological distress is commonplace and can impede self-management.  A recent survey conducted by the National Rheumatoid Arthritis society (NRAS) found that only 3% support was received by doctors and nurses and 23% social and emotional support.  Patients felt that health professionals concentrate on physical well-being and less on their psychological well-being.  The survey reported that patients would like clinicians to understand their challenges and seek a trusting, honest relationship with medical consultants.  As the speaker highlighted, “there is more to arthritis than just drugs” and it should not be considered an invisible illness.

To sum up the experience of attending the conference, it is an event where as podiatrists we come back energised, inspired with new shared knowledge and evidence-based information that can then be utilised in the clinical setting and am looking forward to treating some challenging foot problems in upcoming clinics.

This blog has been written by Nikki Brook

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