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I'm still standing

July 01 2019
Dr Jemell Geraghty (left) with trustees from the Legs Matter campaign on tour. © Legs Matter Dr Jemell Geraghty (left) with trustees from the Legs Matter campaign on tour. © Legs Matter
Top tips for knee to toe care over the summer, by Legs Matter champion Dr Jemell Geraghty

Top tips for knee to toe care over the summer, by Legs Matter champion Dr Jemell Geraghty

Most of the time our legs and feet work well. For this reason, we tend not to pay much attention to them. But, when we experience a problem with our feet or legs such as a blister, cut or soreness they soon let us know.
As a nurse I know the importance of looking after my feet as I spend long hours on them every day. Here are some ways to keep your feet and legs healthy:

  1. Check your feet when you get up. Look at the soles of the feet and in-between the toes. Make sure there is no broken skin or sore areas, swelling or build-up of hard skin. Look for changes in the shape of your feet.
  2. If you have difficulty bending, use a handheld mirror to look at the bottoms of your feet to check if you have small cuts, blisters, or ingrown toenails.
  3. If you notice anything unusual with your feet or legs, don’t hope it will go away. Instead ask your GP to deal with it fast.
  4. If you want to use cream apply it well to the heels. Avoid using cream in-between the toes as this is a sweaty area and can cause fungal skin infections.
  5. Socks are really important. Ensure they fit well and do not rub you. If you have two pairs you can wear one while you wash one.
  6. Wear well-fitting shoes that protect and support your feet and don’t wear shoes with bare feet. Always check your shoes before you put them on so you know that there is nothing inside that may cause pressure, friction or potential skin damage.
  7. Look after your toenails. Don’t cut down the sides of your nail as this can lead to ingrowing toenails. If you have any difficulty with your footcare, ask to be put in touch with your local podiatrist (chiropodist).
  8. If you are on your feet all day your legs can get tired and swollen, so rest is really important.
  • The Legs Matter coalition is working to increase awareness about lower leg and foot conditions:

Get Help

If your legs or feet are causing you problems, you should see your GP. Look out for legs or feet with these signs:

  • Swelling
  • Tired, throbbing and painful legs
  • Redness and skin marks from clothing
  • Cramp or pain after walking
  • Tingling sensation
  • Dry, itchy and scaly skin
  • Raised veins in the lower leg (varicose veins)
  • Hard skin, cracks or fissures on the heel
  • Sores and knocks that are not healing.
  • Thread veins. These small veins are present in everyone but are not normally visible until they expand and show through the skin.
  • Reddish or brown staining patches of skin between the knee and ankle, which can in the early stages often feel hot and painful, and can be misdiagnosed as infection.

Even if you don’t have exactly these symptoms, it’s important to seek advice. Your GP will then refer you to a specialist healthcare professional, such as a vascular nurse or your local leg club ( who will be able to do some simple tests to find out how to treat any problem you might have.

If you are a diabetic it is important that your feet have an initial assessment, and you attend your annual foot review.