Louise the podiatrist sat talking to a patient

Louise is a podiatrist working in Torbay. Read more about how her passion for helping others led her to a career in podiatry and what she thinks are the best bits of the job.

Coronavirus has been an eye-opener.

My work had to change very quickly during coronavirus with only essential cases being seen. In some ways this has been quite positive because we’ve been able to spend more time with the patients. I’ve learned so much, so quickly, especially about wound management which makes up a lot of our work at the moment.

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I have a natural need to help people.

When I left school, I worked as a hairdresser and beauty therapist but soon realised that, although I enjoyed it, it wasn’t my passion. I have a natural need to help people and I found the best bit of the job for me was making people feel better about themselves, which is why I started thinking about a career caring for others.

I always enjoyed the sciences at school, but it wasn’t until I had a problem with my foot and learned more about foot pathology when visiting the podiatrist, that I became really interested in it as a career.

I did an Access course during evenings after work which was hard work! After that I went on to do a degree in Podiatry at Plymouth University for 3 years. I qualified just over a year ago and have already learnt so much.

My work is really varied.

Basically, I treat people’s feet!

My role as a podiatrist is not only to aid in the prevention and rehabilitation of the foot and ankle, but to treat each person holistically and really listen to their needs. This often means liaising with other health professionals to provide the best care package for each individual.

My working day is always different. My patients are mainly older, but we do treat some children and young people as well. We assess and treat new patients as well as reviewing long term treatment plans. We also treat a range of sports injuries and make orthotics.

There have been so many opportunities to learn and gain new skills, which is great. Since I started my job, I’ve done additional training days for musculoskeletal conditions, verruca therapies and treatment of the diabetic foot. It’s been really reassuring to have so many options to choose from moving forward.

Recently, with the increase in diabetes focussed treatments and wound management I’ve realised that this area would be something I would like to learn more about.

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Everything is changing and you are constantly learning.

My favourite bit of the job is the Specific Assessment Clinics because you never know what is coming in the door. I really like the variety and the fact that I am always learning new things. Seeing patients walk away in less pain (or no pain) is a really rewarding part of the job.

It can be really difficult when the outcomes aren’t what you want – it’s easy to feel frustrated and a little bit guilty even when there is nothing more you could have done for someone. A challenging part of the job is getting people to follow the treatment plans you give them. You have to be able to really engage with people and communicate in different ways to help them understand.

My daughter already wants to be a podiatrist.

A lot of people’s reactions when I talk about my job is – but why feet? My family are all really proud of what I do, and my five-year-old daughter already says she wants to become a podiatrist too – so she’s starting young!

You won’t know unless you try!

If I had to give anyone considering a career in health and social care advice it would be, you don’t know unless you try. I spent a long time doing a job that I wasn’t passionate about, so if you have even a flicker of uncertainty, have a look in to some of the roles available – there are lots of options available!

If you’re interested in a career in health and social care, visit our careers page.