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Talking Time: It's What Makes this Swansea Podiatrist Unique!

Updated: Dec 25, 2023

A photo of an incredibly handsome student podiatrist in a blue checked shirt drinking a cup of tea
A shot of 2016 Jeremy as a student, caught in the wild!

When I was a student podiatrist, there was always a bit of a taboo if one mentioned they wanted to go into private practice. It was as though they were 'lofty' or a 'bit too big for their boots' (yes, that pun was intended!).

However, I didn't see it like that.

I saw it as the opportunity to practice how I wanted to and have the freedom to study as much as I wanted to - after all, it's no secret that the NHS wants its pound of flesh... but maybe let's avoid the politics, right?!

So, I set off on my career in private practice, and I set myself two rules for how I chose my jobs:

  1. The job has to be interesting and give me room for growth.

  2. If rule 1 fails, the job has to pay well enough that I can bankroll my degrees.

Rule 1 mostly prevailed, and I had some amazing opportunities, albeit I actually worked for free in the NHS under 'honorary contracts'. Not only that, I had to travel between 1.5-3 hours either way to go to those jobs. Luckily, they were only one day each week.

"To study the phenomena of disease without books is to sail an uncharted sea, while to study books without patients is not to go to sea at all." - William Osler

Never were truer words spoken, when it comes to learning the complexities of patient management.

I learned from those jobs and the extra courses I took that 90% of the diagnosis is in history-taking. They said that in the books, but I never really believed it. So, now, the way that I treat my patients is with 'time'.

A woman taking her dog out for a run
What are you held back from doing because of your pain? If that's the only thing that matters, then the solutions might be simpler (and cheaper) than you think.

I take a history, but I don't just take a history for the sake of it. I take it to hear you. I want to know what causes you pain and why it's causing you pain. And then, why is that enough to bring you in to see me? After all, we all experience an ache or a pain here and there, but we let those issues continue on and on until they stop us from doing the thing we want. Or maybe it threatens to stop us.

You wouldn't believe the number of patients who come to me a week before they go on holiday for a problem they've had for six or eight months; if they had come 4-6 months ago, they would have been cured by now. Instead, I have just days to make their symptoms disappear.

That's fine, though, because I've heard them. I know that the treatment I give to reduce their pain in the next couple of days is entirely different to the treatment I would have given, but I also know that they will enjoy their holiday.

I think that one of the problems with healthcare is that it can be a bit cookie-cutter-esque in that every problem has a solution, and if the problem is X or Y description, it'll just be treated that way. But...

I don't rate that. How can I?

I mean, in my dreams, I'm a 30" waist and a 38" inside leg (you could probably flip those numbers around, but whatever)... If I bought two pairs of jeans with those measurements from different companies, I bet one pair would be more comfy than the other, right? Two pairs FROM THE SAME COMPANY and one pair would be comfier than the other, is a safe bet. So, why do we expect that from our healthcare providers?

If you come to see me and know you have an injury or foot pain, I will always recommend you allow approximately an hour (maybe two if you're complicated!) for your appointment. This is because, although I can probably create a pretty decent treatment and plan for you in about 15 minutes, I know I'll miss some of the critical stuff you don't want me to miss, so I don't do that.

I give you that hour.

Anyway, I've rambled on enough now. Email me if you're reading this, and it's starting to inspire some questions. I'd love to hear from you. Email, and I'll sit down and try to answer your question with a blog post. I just cannot guarantee when.

And if you have a problem with pain when you're moving and you're wondering if it's something I can help you with, book an appointment. I'll give you an appointment on the same day if I can, and I'll do what I can to provide you with a solution that works for you.

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