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  • The podiatry team looking after regional and remote feet

    Author: Nicole Madigan

Podiatry is an area of allied health care that often goes unrecognised. But husband and wife team Simon and Britt Lloyd, along with their business partner Zac Hayes, are trying to change that. Not only that, they’re also bringing a much needed service to remote and regional locations to ensure all feet are taken care of.

“We are trying to change the stigma around feet - they are not as disgusting as everyone thinks,” says Ms Lloyd.

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“Our feet are so important to showing what is going on with our overall health, and taking care of them is essential to living healthy lives.”

The Travelling Podiatrist is 100 per cent mobile, allowing the company to travel to regional and remote pockets of New South Wales and Victoria.

“The model was created based on the need for podiatry care in patient's homes for those that were unable to travel distances to access healthcare,” says Ms Lloyd.

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“During COVID, we discovered just how important this service was, and became an essential healthcare provider for many of the region's health networks.

“For many of our clients, our podiatrists were the only care they received in home throughout the pandemic and lockdown.”

Although our regional communities are connected, they remain incredibly isolated when it comes to adequate healthcare.

The Travelling Podiatrist travels within a 400km radius to provide care for individuals that can’t access it under normal circumstances.

“Without the care that our company provide these regions and rural communities, they would be forced to drive hundreds of kilometres to access basic medical care, which does not always include podiatry accessibility.

“We travel to these communities because we believe that everyone deserves professional healthcare, no matter their geographical location.”

According to Ms Lloyd, our feet are an essential part of the human body - and are often the most neglected.

“The mechanics of our feet and legs carry the rest of our body while we walk, run, ride, swim, and without the proper care, the rest of our body can really suffer.

“For diabetics, adequate foot care is essential to managing their condition. Checking pulses and circulation in a diabetic’s feet regularly is a must, and neglect can lead to amputation.”

Access to a podiatrist is severely lacking in remote and regional areas, says Ms Lloyd and in many of the areas they service, The Traveling Podiatrist is the only provider of podiatry care available.

“Which would mean that without us, they would have to travel a minimum of two hours to get treatment.

“For many of our clients, their access to a vehicle, the funds to travel and even their ability to be mobile enough to do this would mean that it's not an option - and therefore their health is at risk of serious decline.”

Of course, the arrival of COVID-19 and the subsequent restrictions and lockdowns hasn’t made it easy.

“Dealing with two different states, the lockdowns, the facility shutdowns, it was incredibly rough.

“We are incredibly lucky and grateful to say that throughout the last two years, we have remained completely operational in our business, which is a huge accomplishment.

“There were instances where we were on the road and had to turn around because a facility had to shut down for a period, or we were denied access to a hospital or clinic due to suspected outbreaks.

“Throughout the last two years, we have learnt to be versatile and pivot at the drop of a hat - and our clients have been so understanding and flexible, which we are so grateful for.

“Our team of podiatrists have been incredibly dedicated to the cause of getting to these locations and have chosen to self-isolate for periods of high-risk exposure to ensure they can get to see their clients without any issues. 

“At the beginning of the first lockdown, we discussed the possible impacts that this could have on our personal lives and the business as a whole, and I am forever grateful to be surrounded by a team that are client-focused, caring, considerate individuals that are invested in doing their part for our communities by staying home and pushing through the tough times.”

Ms Lloyd says while the importance of feet is underestimated overall, it’s particularly the case in regional and remote areas.

“As it stands, the rate of obesity and diabetes is double that of metro areas, yet they have a fraction of the resources available to them,” says Ms Lloyd.

“Allied health professionals can monitor, assist and diagnose conditions that are sometimes undetected because facilities in these areas don't have the resources to do so.

“Regional and remote areas are under-equipped, understaffed and exhausted with the demand for help - so it's services like ours that are essential to these communities.”

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Nicole Madigan

Nicole Madigan is a widely published journalist with more than 15 years experience in the media and communications industries.

Specialising in health, business, property and finance, Nicole writes regularly for numerous high-profile newspapers, magazines and online publications.

Before moving into freelance writing almost a decade ago, Nicole was an on-air reporter with Channel Nine and a newspaper journalist with News Limited.

Nicole is also the Director of content and communications agency Stella Communications (www.stellacomms.com) and a children's author.