Calluses and ingrown toenails are not just uncomfortable but are also a sign of problems which can be treated with the help of a specially-trained podiatrist. This is the message which is being conveyed by the Maltese Association of Podiatrists on the day dedicated to this profession.
Television Malta spoke with Yvonne Midolo who explained that among other things she is also seeing more cases of Maltese patients who have ended up with their toes amputated because of infections caused by diabetes.
Dr Midolo has been working as a podiatrist, a specialist in the treatment of feet, for eight years. She explained that calluses and infected toe nails are among the most common problems among the Maltese.
“We treat infected nails as well as ingrown toe nails. We can carry out a specific operation to stop the nail from being a problem. When it comes to calluses we treat cases where the pain being caused means the person cannot walk, ” said Dr Midolo.
One disease which is causing a lot of problems for patients, is diabetes which often leads to patients losing their sense of touch. “They step on a pin and do not even realise because their circulation is so bad. Or they have a wound and it cannot heal because there is not enough blood flowing down to the foot basically.”
Dr Midolo said that the number of cases where patients require toe amputation is increasing because of diabetes. “Sometimes it starts with something really small, such as a scrape, which then develops into a wound and becomes infectious and the problem becomes even worse. At that point we would need to amputate unfortunately.”
In cases where the infection spreads, the intervention of a podiatrist can save a life. “If we catch a wound at the very beginning, we can treat it and take care of it and indirectly we will be saving the patient’s life,’ she said.
On World Podiatrist Day, the association appealed to people who are diabetic to visit a podiatrist at least once a year.
It is estimated that in Malta there are 100 podiatrists, the majority of whom work with the Government.