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Independently created content that is financially supported by our commercial partners. The Pharmaceutical Journal retains editorial responsibility.

Foot health in community pharmacy

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Middle-age adults risking health with lack of exercise

People often overlook the importance of maintaining their feet, and how integral feet are to mobility and quality of life, until problems arise. It is at the point of pain that many people will visit pharmacies to seek advice on a variety of foot conditions. As our survey of members of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) found, almost a third of pharmacists speak to patients about a foot condition more than once a week.

However, not all pharmacists feel well placed to advise patients on common foot conditions. A third of the over one thousand respondents, for example, feel uncomfortable diagnosing dermatological foot conditions, while more than half say the same for diagnosing musculoskeletal foot conditions. The survey findings are discussed in more detail in the news report (see The Pharmaceutical Journal launches foot health partnership with RB’) and the full survey results can be found at: pharmaceutical-journal.com/download?ac=1073686. This editorial campaign aims to do something about pharmacists’ lack of confidence in this specialty, raising awareness of the importance of identifying and the appropriate management of a variety foot conditions within pharmacy practice.

An infographic on (see ‘Identifying common foot conditions’) provides a visual guide to the features of both musculoskeletal and dermatological conditions to help pharmacists and pharmacy teams identify common foot conditions. A learning article (see ‘Management and treatment options for common foot conditions’) covers the management and treatment options for common foot conditions — from fungal foot infections, verrucae and warts, to blisters, bunions and ingrown toenails — in greater depth.

The high prevalence and financial burden of diabetes-related foot conditions, in addition to the impact on patients’ quality of life, highlight the importance for pharmacy teams of being aware of the symptoms and the relevant care pathways for these patients. A CPD article (see ‘The diabetic foot’) provides this information along with a module for readers to test their knowledge.

Discussing foot health with patients can be an uncomfortable experience for some. In our Q&A (see ‘Q&A: Let’s talk foot care with patients’), five healthcare professionals share their experience and describe how they promote foot care to patients, while also developing a multidisciplinary working model for foot care. The feature (see ‘A strong base: the importance of foot health’) unpicks why better education about foot care is important, not only for patients with long-term conditions such as diabetes, but for us all to ensure mobility and independence is maintained throughout our lifetimes.

In a career Q&A (see ‘How to get your foot in the door with foot care’), pharmacy manager Peter Bettles explains how his pharmacy-based foot clinic meets his patients’ needs and explains the opportunities and benefits this has had for his business.

Patients, when deciding which healthcare professional to consult locally, will consider what pharmacists can do for them. A community pharmacy sector, working collaboratively with other disciplines, can meet the requirements of patients with foot conditions, providing relief to a health system under strain.

We are grateful for the financial support of RB in producing this supplement. The Pharmaceutical Journal retains full control of all editorial content.

Scholl have been looking after people’s feet for over 100 years, and manufacturer RB has long been supporting pharmacy to achieve the best outcomes for their patients suffering foot conditions. The complexity of this category, however, was well illustrated by the survey of RPS members, who identified some important areas for further training and skills development.

This year, alongside this important new partnership with The Pharmaceutical Journal, RB has also been offering a series of evening training seminars for pharmacy teams, as part of RB’s training program: www.rbforhealth.co.uk. At these events, we have discussed that helping patients maintain problem-free and comfortable feet requires not just training across a diverse range of conditions but also enhanced consultation and category management skills. In our article on ‘Foot care and pharmacy’, we cover some of these supplementary skills that can convert category complexity for patients into an opportunity for community pharmacy, who are perfectly placed to offer treatment and advice.

This series of learning articles and educational content, focuses specifically on those areas identified by RPS members. RB is delighted to have partnered with The Pharmaceutical Journal to improve access to high quality foot care training that can meet the needs of pharmacists and support them in training the wider pharmacy team.

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Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, August 2017;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2017.20203387