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Making a difference in people’s lives

I really enjoy making a difference in people’s lives

In this article Marisa Murray reflects on her first year working as a podiatrist with Hayes and Associates.

As we see the summer come to an end, we welcome October as another busy month for our podiatry clinics. Today, marks my one-year anniversary working with Hayes and Associates. It also marks my first year working as a podiatrist after graduating in 2018 from NUI Galway. The clinics have been consistently busy since I have started which has allowed me to gain invaluable experience from the get-go.

I have discovered over the past year, that as a podiatrist, no day is ever the same. Day to day, patients present with various problems where it is my job to gather information, make a diagnosis and then form a treatment / management plan. The aim is to hopefully come up with a solution to that presenting problem. It can be challenging and involves problem solving which keeps my mind busy. This means my day is varied and interesting. I work alongside other healthcare professionals such as GPS, public health nurses and orthopaedic surgeons whom I refer people to if I feel its necessary.

The podiatry profession appeals to me on many levels as it involves working with people of all ages on a one to one basis. The job ultimately makes a big difference in a person’s quality of life. I get huge satisfaction in taking peoples pain away. One small intervention can often take that pain away on the spot. Not many other health care professionals can provide this instant relief. Patient education is also a big part of my job. Appropriate footwear is discussed with patients very regularly. I find it rewarding when a patient feels empowered to look after themselves after listening to my advice.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my first year working as a podiatrist with Hayes and Associates. I feel I have become a well-established member of the practice and now have my regular patients, many who I have built a great relationship with. I am lucky to be part of a team of experienced podiatrists who willingly share their knowledge and expertise to allow me to keep learning and progress in my profession.

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Footcare for Diabetics

How does diabetes affect my feet?

We ensure that our clients with diabetes get the proper and targeted treatments to maximise foot health.

Footcare for diabetics

At Hayes and Associates our Podiatrists routinely carry out neurological and vascular checks on patients’ feet, however for those with diabetes, our assessment is more in-depth. We test circulatory and neurological efficiency, as well as assess the general health and appearance of the skin and nails. We ensure that our clients with diabetes get the proper and targeted treatments to maximise foot health.

Based on the results, we will give the patient advice on how to look after their feet from day to day, and advise them on how often to have their assessed and treated. For anyone with diabetes, it is recommended to have their feet checked at least once a year.


How does diabetes affect my feet?

Diabetes can affect your feet in a number of ways – the most common being sensory neuropathy – loss or reduced sensation in the feet, and /or unusual sensations such as pins and needles in the feet, burning, hot or cold, tingling sensations and numbness in the feet.

Autonomic neuropathy – Decreased sweating resulting in very dry skin, which can lead to breaks (fissures) to the skin is another symptom of diabetes.

Podiatrists at Hayes and Associates are highly trained in the area of diabetes and the care of diabetics’ feet. We take part in ‘Continual Professional Development’ (CPD) programmes to stay up to date with new treatments and advancements in foot care for diabetics.

If you are diabetic and worried about your ‘feet health’ give Hayes and Associates a buzz to arrange a ‘feet health check’. They will give you the best advice on how to make sure your feet remain pain free and healthy.

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Break free from heel pain

Break free from heel pain

Break free from heel pain

Hayes and Associates will help you break free from heel pain.

Heel pain is a common phenomenon, and there are several conditions out there that contribute to the cause of heel pain. It is therefore important to have the condition assessed by one of our fully trained Podiatrists who can determine the cause and the treatment to help you break free from heel pain.

Moderate and severe heel pain

The condition can vary in severity from moderate to severe, depending on the condition that’s presenting and how long it has been present for.

Most frequent type of heel pain

An example of the most frequent heel pain that we come across is a condition called Plantar Fasciitis. It often hits us when we wake up in the morning and put our foot to the floor, or if we are inactive for a period and get up to move again. It is when the thick band of tissue that lies from our heel bone to our forefoot becomes inflamed, that we experience this discomfort in the heel.

If this condition is left untreated for a long period of time, it can result in the formation of a heel spur, which is when an extra bony growth arises from the heel bone.


Methods of treating heel pain

Taping and strapping


Stretching and Strengthening exercises

Footwear advice/care


Recovering from heel pain

Early assessment and detection of the cause of your heel pain is essential to a fast and speedy recovery. One of our Podiatrists at Hayes and Associates will diagnose and offer the optimal treatment plan for you.

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Is a verruca harmful to my health

A verruca is simply a wart that is usually found on the soles of your feet. A verruca can also appear around the toe area. In its early stages a verruca will look like a small, dark, puncture mark but later turns grey or brown in colour. It may also become rough and bumpy with a cauliflower-like appearance and may develop a black spot in the middle which is caused by bleeding. A verruca can grow to half an inch in diameter and may spread into a cluster of small warts on your foot.


Is a verruca harmful to my health?

Verrucae are not harmful to health, however, they can cause a sharp, burning pain if you get one on a weight-bearing area of the foot such as the ball or the heel. Because we are constantly pressing on these areas of the foot when walking, they can protrude into the skin and become more painful. When you have a verruca on the top of the foot or on the toes they protrude above skin level and they tend to be fleshier and cause less pain.

Verruca on Foot

Verruca on foot

Is a verruca contagious?

Verrucae are caused by the human Papiloma virus (HPV). This virus is very contagious but can only be caught by direct contact. It thrives in warm, moist environments such as swimming pools, changing room floors and bathrooms. So if an infected bare foot walks across the poolside it may release virus-infected cells onto the floor area of the swimming pool. If you then walk on this floor you can pick the virus up, especially if you have any small or invisible cuts and abrasions. This makes it even easier for the virus to penetrate. You could also catch the virus from an infected towel so it is important to implement preventative measures i.e. wearing special swim socks can prevent a verruca, not sharing towels, and, if you already have a verruca – changing your socks daily can prevent a verruca from spreading.


Are some people more susceptible to verrucae than others?

Verrucae tend to be common in children, especially teenagers. However, for unknown reasons, some people seem to be more susceptible to catching the verruca virus than others.


What’s the difference between a corn and a verruca?

A verruca is a viral infection, whereas a corn or a callus is simply layers of dead skin. Verrucae tend to be painful to pinch, but if you’re unsure consult your healthcare professionals – Hayes and Associates.


How do I avoid getting a verruca?

Minimise your chances of catching a verruca by keeping your feet clean and dry and covering up any cuts or scratches on your feet. Avoid walking barefoot in swimming pools, communal showers or changing rooms, wear flip-flops and avoid sharing towels. While you should wear verruca socks when swimming to avoid passing on the virus, they can also be worn as a preventive measure.


What do I do if I have a verruca?

If a verruca does appear, avoid touching or scratching it as it may spread into a cluster of several warts. Instead, cover it up with a plaster. In some cases this may cure it. If not contact your local podiatrist / chiropodist – Hayes and Associates.

Do not self-treat a verruca if you have diabetes or circulation problems

How can Hayes and Associates treat my verruca?

Verrucae can often disappear in time, fought off by your immune system. The general policy is to only treat them when they are causing pain. In children verrucae usually resolve themselves within 6 months but in adults they can persist for years. This is why it is important to seek professional advice and treatment from Hayes and Associates.

If your verruca is causing pain, there are a number of treatment options available – though no one particular treatment can guarantee a cure. For the safest and most effective treatment plan consult Hayes and Associates.


Can I stop my verruca from spreading?

To reduce the likelihood of your verruca spreading, we would advise you to book an appointment to see one of our highly trained professionals in one of our 6 clinics. The location on your foot, the verruca type and size will determine the treatment that best suits.


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Why do we get corns

When we walk or stand, our body weight is carried first on the heel of the foot and then on the ball of the foot, where the skin is thicker to withstand the pressure. When this pressure on our feet becomes intense, growths in the form of corns and calluses may appear.


What are Corns?

Corns are similar to calluses in that they are a build-up of skin cells, but concentrated in areas of excessive direct pressure. The central core distinguishes a corn from a callus, and corns are often accompanied by greater discomfort and pain in the foot.

Corns and circulatory issues

For those with circulatory problems or sensory deficit, it is very important to have either a corn or a callus seen to by a professional. Have your feet checked regularly by a Registered Chiropodist like Hayes and Associates. This will reduce the likelihood of further complications of the feet arising in the future.


Why do I get corns?

When we walk or stand, our body weight is carried first on the heel of the foot and then on the ball of the foot, where the skin is thicker to withstand the pressure. When this pressure on our feet becomes intense, growths in the form of corns and calluses may appear.


Where do corns appear?

Corns always occur over a bony prominence, such as a joint.


Are there different types of corns?

Yes, there are five different types of corns. The two most common are hard corns and soft corns.


What is a hard corn?

Hard corns are the most common type of corn and appear as small, concentrated areas of hard skin on the feet, up to the size of a small pea, usually within a wider area of thickened skin or callus, and can be a symptom of feet or toes not functioning properly.


What is a soft corn?

Soft corns develop in a similar way to hard corns. They appear as a whitish and rubbery texture between toes, where the skin is moist from sweat, or from inadequate drying. A Registered Podiatrist  / Chiropodist like Hayes and Associates will be able to reduce the bulk of the corn between the toes, and apply astringents to cut down on sweat retention between the toes reducing the risk of corns reappearing.


What are seed corns?

Seed corns are tiny corns on the bottom of the foot that tend to occur either singly or in clusters. Seed corns are usually painless.


What are vascular corns?

If you cut a vascular corn it will bleed profusely and these corns can be very painful. Never cut a corn yourself.


What are fibrous corns?

These arise from corns that have been present for a long time. These corns appear to be more firmly attached to the deeper tissues than other types of corn. They may also be painful.


How do I treat corns?

Don’t cut corns yourself, especially if you are elderly or diabetic, and don’t use corn plasters or paints which can burn the healthy tissue around the corns. Home remedies, like lambswool around toes, are potentially dangerous. Commercially available ‘cures’ should be used only following professional advice from a Registered Chiropodist / Podiatrist like Hayes and Associates.

You could use a pumice stone to remove the thickened skin a little at a time, or relieve pressure with a foam wedge between the toes, but if you are unsure of what to do about your corns, or if you are worried about corns, consult a registered Podiatrist / Chiropodist like Hayes and Associates who will be able to remove your corns painlessly, apply padding or insoles to relieve pressure, or fit corrective appliances for long-term relief from corns.

Book an appointment with us today to have your feet checked by one of our highly trained professionals.  Hayes and Associates have a wealth of experience in debridement techniques, and are only to happy to share their expertise and offer the best treatment plan for your corns.

If you need further advice on corns, or indeed any foot problems, don’t be afraid to give us a call or send us an e-mail to make an appointment.


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Have I a Callus on my foot?

Registered Chiropodists Hayes and Associates are experts in the treatment of Calluses and Corns on the foot.  As well as treating the condition they can also offer professional advice on preventing Calluses and Corns from re-occurring.

What is a Callus?

Callus or hard skin on the foot is an accumulation of several layers of the epithelium (top layer of our skin). This occurs due to a variety of factors, some of which include:Callus and hard skin on the heel

  1. Unsuitable or poorly fitting footwear
  2. Deformity of the foot (hammer toe, bunions etc)
  3. High activity levels can cause Calluses or hard skin on the foot.
  4. Standing for long periods of time can be one of the factors that can cause a Callus or hard skin on your foot.

What are the signs of a Callus?

As the stresses of friction and pressure on the skin occur, the body’s way of protecting the area is in the formation of hard skin or Callus and / or Corns on your feet. The visible signs of a Callus is hard skin on the heel, hard skin on the toe or hard skin on the foot. This then causes extra pressure and less room in your footwear, thus resulting in a cycle of Calluses and Corns.


What causes a Callus?

When we walk or stand our body weight is carried, first on the heel of our foot and then on the ball of our foot where the skin is naturally thicker to withstand the pressure. When there is excessive pressure on your feet some areas of the skin thicken in the form of a Corn or Callus. This is a protective response by the body to limit injury to your foot and can appear anywhere the skin rubs against a bone, a shoe, or the ground. This friction can be what causes a Callus or Corn.


Inappropriate footwear can be a factor in the formation of a Callus or Corn

Most Calluses are symptoms of an underlying problem like a bone deformity, a particular style of walking, high activity or inappropriate footwear. Some people have a natural tendency to form Calluses because of their skin type. Elderly people have less fatty tissue on their feet and this can lead to a Callus forming on the ball of the foot.


How to treat a Callus?

You can control a small amount of hard skin by gently rubbing with a pumice stone, or chiropody sponge occasionally when you are in the bath. Use a moisturising cream daily on your feet. If this does not appear to be working, seek advice from registered chiropodists Hayes and Associates.


Painful Callus on my foot

If the callus is painful and feels as if you are “walking on stones”, consult registered chiropodists Hayes and Associates who, as well as treating the condition, will be able to advise you as to what caused the Callus and where possible, how to prevent Calluses forming again.

Hayes and Associates can also remove hard skin, relieve foot pain, and redistribute pressure on your foot with soft padding, strapping the foot, or corrective appliances which fit easily into your shoes. The skin on your feet should then return to their normal state.


Loss of natural padding on the foot

The elderly can benefit from padding to the ball of the foot to compensate for any loss of natural padding that may occur. Emollient creams can delay Callus building up on the foot and help improve the skin’s natural elasticity. Hayes and Associates are the best people to advise you on the most appropriate skin preparations for your feet. It is always better to consult the experts and when it comes to foot care Hayes and Associates are number one in the North East.

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Ingrown Toenails

What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail (Onychocrypytosis) is a very common condition, and most often seen in the big toe. This is when the nail becomes imbedded into the surface of the skin causing a portal entry for fungus and bacteria, which can lead to infection if untreated.



First sign of an ingrown toenail?

A build-up of hard skin on the toe and debris at the borders can cause redness, swelling and discomfort – this is usually the first sign of an ingrown toenail. Hayes and Associates, Podiatrists and Chiropodists are experts in the treatment of ingrown toenails and use their vast experience and expertise to treat the symptoms of ingrown toenails and clear any infection that might be present with the least amount of discomfort for the patient.

Early stage symptoms of an ingrown toenail: The skin at the edge of the nail becoming red and swollen, possible fluid build-up and painful to touch.

Advanced stage symptoms (infection present) of an ingrown toenail: Heightened pain to touch, redness on toe, swelling around toe, skin growth around the problematic area, bleeding and pus from nail infection on the toe.


What causes an ingrown toenail?

There are many reasons as to why an ingrown toenail can occur – tight fitting footwear; cutting the toe nails incorrectly; picking the corners of your toenails, irregular and curved toenails; abnormal gait; trauma to your toes, e.g. stubbing your toe; genetic predisposition and those who are athletic are at a higher risk of getting ingrown toenails because of the consistent pressure put on the feet over long periods of time. These are just some of the reasons why we get ingrown toenails. Whatever the cause – Hayes and Associates are experts in the treatment of this condition.

So, how do we treat ingrown toenails?

Through an assessment with Hayes and Associates, we will discuss these factors in more detail. We will distinguish the cause of the ingrown toenail, if antibiotic cover may be required to combat any infection under the nail, and in more severe cases of ingrown toenail surgical removal of a section of the nail may be necessary.

We would highly recommend being seen by one of our highly trained Podiatrists at Hayes and Associates if any of the symptoms of ingrown toenail are experienced. For an appointment and further advice on the symptoms, the cause and the treatment of ingrown toenails please call 01-8413350.

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Do I need Orthotics

Sometimes feet can be a real pain.

You have only one pair of feet and they take you everywhere. So, it’s a good idea to take care of them. But, most people don’t give their feet a second thought … that is, not until they hurt. And once those feet are hurting, most have no idea of how to eliminate the pain. They often soak their aching feet or take time out for a quick foot rub, but outside of those remedies, their feet just go on hurting. That can lead to serious trouble. Most foot pain is the result of a faulty relationship between the bones and muscles of the foot. Even the slightest misalignment of the bones and muscles can cause a lot of discomfort. Misalignment can result in a number of problems, such as pronation, flat feet, persistent ankle sprains, bunions, corns, calluses … even back and neck pain.

But there is something that can help these problems. Something better than warn water in a tub and occasional massages. Prescription orthotics.

What are orthotics?

Some people call them “arch supports” but they really aren’t, they’re much more. Prescription orthotics are custom-made forms which correct your individual foot problems. They are made of high-impact materials, such as plastic and super-strength woven fibres, and they’re designed to be inserted right into your shoes.

The most important feature of a pair of orthotics is they’re made specifically for your feet. You and someone else may have a similar foot problem, but your feet are unique. They’re not like anyone else’s. That’s why orthotics are custom-made.

Once orthotics are slipped inside your shoes, they fit comfortably to your foot. So comfortably, in fact, that once you start wearing them you won’t want to walk without them again.

How do they work?

As your foot rests on the orthotic it is gently and consistently directed into the correct position for walking, running, and standing. With a pair of orthotics, pressure points, improper rotation of the foot, and painful muscle strain are all eliminated because your foot is functioning properly.

How are orthotics made?

First you must be fitted for them. It’s not hard. Your podiatrist gives you a complete examination and determines your particular foot problem. A plaster impression will then be made of your feet held in the correct position. When the casts are finished, they are sent to the orthotic laboratory where they are used to produce your orthotics. Here, technicians, following your podiatrist’s specifications, add special heel lifts, or built-ups to customise an orthotic to correct your specific problem.
The lab sends them back to your podiatrist … and they’re ready for fitting.

How long will I have to wear them?

There’s really not an answer to this question. You see, orthotics rarely cure your foot problem. They work on the same principle as glasses … an eye specialist may prescribe glasses for you, but they won’t cure your vision problems. Instead, orthotics simply modify the function of your foot as you continue to wear them. However, in some young patients, the early use of prescription orthotics before the body is fully developed may actually correct a foot problem. Or at least, they can insure that the problem does not develop further.
In other words … you’ll need to wear orthotics as long as you want to avoid discomfort.

Remember, your feet are the foundation for your entire body. Obtaining and consistently wearing orthotics can be the best investment you can make in your overall well-being.

Now, talk to your podiatrist

Half of your foot problem is already over. You accomplished that just by coming in to have your feet examined. Now, the other half is treating the problem. Orthotics may be what your podiatrist prescribes.

Facts to know about orthotics

Orthotics are made by prescription only and designed for your particular foot problem.

Warning! Many imitations are sold over the counter by sport shops and pharmacies. Genuine orthotics are prescription medical devices which correct your abnormal foot function and minimise your foot problem.


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Bio mechanics

Bio Mechanical Evaluation

What is Podiatric Biomechanics?

Podiatric biomechanics is a specialisim concerned with preservation, restoration, and development of the function of the foot and its associated structures.

The foot is unique, intricate, and mechanically complex structure made up of 26 major bones and associated joints. The efficiency with which the foot functions when walking depends on the way in which those bones and joints move in relation to each other. Efficiency and pain-free function also depends heavily on the foot’s angle to the leg and to the ground. If things do not work well in either of these areas, painful problems may often be the result.

Biomechanics refers to the use of the mechanical methods, such as electronic pressure plates or observation, in the diagnosis and treatment of the function of the foot and leg.

What problems can occur?

Obviously the foot plays a crucial part in the process of walking and often suffers as a result of poor function. The painful foot problems that may result from inefficient function include corns and callus, painful toenails, pain in the ball of the foot, in the arch, or in the heel. Not only painful foot problems; less obvious, but very important, is the fact that inefficient foot function has an influence on other parts of the body.

A small structural or functional imbalance in the foot may often cause no foot pain at all. Instead, it may cause problems in the ankles, knees, hips, back, neck or even the jaw – all parts of the body that are connected to the feet by the skeleton. The effect may show as pain, instability, restricted movement, or in some cases, just fatigue.

How does the foot function?

Nature produced a magnificent architectural and functional design in the foot. It is intended to work efficiently under excessive loads and demands, often in extreme conditions imposed on it by footwear and the environment in which it has to work. However, impressive though it is, this complex structure’s function depends heavily on having its correct functional angles and joint movements maintained.

In walking or running, the foot needs to be flexible enough to absorb the shock of hitting the ground thousands of times a day. It also has to be firm enough not to collapse as the body’s weight moves over it at each and every step. Small wonder then, that sometimes things start to go wrong with foot function, and pain or disability results. In most cases, it is not until heavy or unusual demands are made on the feet by work, sport, injury, or simply by the passage of time, that potential weaknesses are revealed.

What is a biomechanical examination?

Podiatric biomechanics is very technical and requires a high level of skill to deal with problems of standing, walking and running. It is the use of this skill in performing a biomechanical examination that enables podiatrists to identify and treat functional faults..

A biomechanical examination involves taking a series of measurements of the feet and legs with the patient standing or lying down and may include checking joint movements and assessing muscle strength and flexibility. It will often include watching the patient walk to assess the way in which the foot works.

State Registered Chiropodists / podiatrists* may approach various parts of the biomechanical examination in different ways. Many depend entirely on their skill and experience in conducting a physical examination and use simple observation of the patient walking to arrive at their results. Others, however, may choose to use video analysis to examine the way the patient walks, computer connected insoles in shoes, or pressure plates on the floor. Much depends on the podiatrist’s personal preference.

As modern technology advances, so does the variety of new equipment available to podiatrists to gather information from a biomechanical examination. Nevertheless, the most important factor in any examination will remain the highly trained podiatrist’s professional skill in interpreting the information gathered, and using it to prescribe the specialist treatment that will most benefit the patient.

The results of a biomechanical examination enable the podiatrist to assess the positions of the feet and legs and the amount of excessive motion occurring. Once that is established, the podiatrist will be able to decide which treatment can help the feet to function more efficiently.


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Ageing feet


Ageing Feet

Older feet naturally develop more problems because the skin tends to thin and lose it’s elasticity. Healing can take longer and wear and tear to the joints over the years may have caused some degree of arthritis.

But painful and uncomfortable feet aren’t a natural part of growing old or something to “put-up with”. A lot can be done to improve comfort, relieve pain and maintain mobility.

It’s not too late to start caring!

Follow the SCP daily foot care routine and keep on the move. Keeping toenails cut and under control will help keep you mobile but you may need help with this from your chiropodist/podiatrist or a friend.

Keeping warm

Try to keep your feet as warm as possible, but don’t cook them in front of the fire! Warm stockings or socks can help. Avoid anything too tight which can restrict your circulation or cramp your toes. Wearing fleece-lined boots or shoes or even an extra pair of socks will also keep you warm but do make sure your shoes aren’t tight as a result. Bed socks are also a good idea.

Choosing the best footwear

The older you get, the more you need a shoe which holds your foot firmly in place to give adequate support. Throw out those sloppy old favourites as they may make you unstable when you walk.

Look for shoes with uppers made of soft leather or a stretchy man-made fabric which is also breathable. Avoid plastic ‘easy clean’ uppers which don’t allow the foot to breathe and won’t stretch to accommodate your own foot shape.

Many shoes have cushioning or shock absorbing soles to give you extra comfort while walking. When buying shoes, ensure that you can put them on and take them off easily. Check that the heel is held firmly in place – you’ll find that a lace-up or velcro fastening shoe will give more support and comfort than a slip-on.

Your shoes should be roomy enough, particularly, if you intend to wear them everyday. If you suffer with swollen feet, it’s a good idea to put your shoes on as soon as you wake up, before your feet have had a chance to swell.


Exercise can help to keep feet healthy – it tones up muscles, helps to strengthen arches and stimulates blood circulation.

Further advice

You can ask your GP to refer you for free treatment. If you do not qualify for this, or need urgent attention you should contact a private podiatrist.

Always ensure that any practitioners you visit are registered with the Health Professions Council and describe themselves as a chiropodist or a podiatrist.

The Society Of Chiropodists And Podiatrists


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