Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Walk this way

May 23 2009
The Salvation Army‘s drop-in podiatry service for Sterling‘s homeless may be replicated A drop-in podiatry service for the homeless has been opened in Stirling by the Salvation Army, in partnership with NHS Forth Valley. The trial project, at the Salvation Army‚Äö?Ñ?¥s Drip Road centre, has been such a success that it might be extended into Falkirk and Clackmannanshire. Homelessness is a real issue in Stirling with over 900 people shelterless in Scotland‚Äö?Ñ?¥s smallest city. Numerous chiropody problems are experienced by people living on the streets; the combined effects of poor footwear, rough sleeping and the effects of substance abuse and alcohol on the lower limbs. Heavy smoking can also cause vascular problems, such as arterial disease, and damage foot nerves. James, who had a hip replacement five months ago and can‚Äö?Ñ?¥t reach his feet, said of the centre: "It‚Äö?Ñ?¥s really excellent. Some nights I‚Äö?Ñ?¥ve had to sleep outside and it‚Äö?Ñ?¥s been very difficult with a sore foot, especially as I have had no access to hot water to soothe it. Before I was limping and in quite a lot of pain, but since my treatment I am walking much more comfortably." Although many homeless people are entitled to register with a GP without a permanent address, in practice many do not, which makes it difficult for them to get vital medical care. The drop-in clinic has so far carried out almost 300 treatments. Salvation Army‚Äö?Ñ?¥s Envoy Billy McMurray said clients were reluctant at first, probably because they were worried about the cleanliness of their feet, but the service soon became extremely popular. "A lot of our clients wear trainers and in wet weather their feet are never dry," he said. "Those who sleep rough have their shoes and socks on 24/7, which can‚Äö?Ñ?¥t be healthy for feet. Some have had to be referred to hospital or the doctor but the scheme has become so popular we now get up to ten people a session." Senior podiatrist Fiona Redding says helping people understand how their foot problems are caused is also extremely important. "When you can resolve a problem it‚Äö?Ñ?¥s a great feeling. In general the clients have expressed a genuine appreciation for the service provided." * The drop-in chiropody service runs every Wednesday from 2-4.30pm at The Salvation Army, 19 Drip Road, Stirling. 01786 448923 or email: