The College of Podiatry statement on Allied health professionals’ role in rehabilitation during and after COVID-19

The College of Podiatry statement on Allied health professionals’ role in rehabilitation during and after COVID-19.

The College of Podiatry welcomes the four-nation announcement- ‘Allied health professionals’ role in rehabilitation during and after COVID-19'; which states that rehabilitation is critical to ensuring our population’s recovery from the impacts of the pandemic and the long-term sustainability of the health and social care system. 

The announcement highlights four groups of patients who will require rehabilitation following the pandemic, namely:

  • those recovering from COVID-19.

  • those whose health and function are at risk due to pauses in planned care.

  • those have avoided accessing health services during the pandemic and are therefore at increased risk of ill-health due to delays in diagnosis and subsequent treatment.

  • those for whom the lockdown has caused physical and mental challenges. 

As specialist clinicians, podiatrists have a crucial role in supporting the rehabilitation of people who are included in each of these categories, whether through undertaking neurological and functional assessment to identify lower limb muscle weakness and balance/mobility impairment or through provision of bespoke care packages to reduce the risk of foot ulceration and amputation. Podiatrists are also trained in public health, through national initiatives such as ‘What Matters to You?’ and can offer support to people who have experienced both physical and mental challenges as a result of lockdown.

The majority of elective foot and ankle surgeries were postponed due to the pandemic. The College’s Podiatric Surgeons are keen to help these people with the interventions required to ensure they are able to regain full function and mobility. 

The College of Podiatry Clinical Director, Dr Paul Chadwick, said: ‘The role podiatry can play within rehabilitation multidisciplinary teams is vast. We can manage not only muscle strengthening and gait retraining but have the skills to lead on the dermatological, cardiac rehabilitation and falls prevention issues. 

‘Podiatrists enable patients to understand their condition, help with medicines optimisation, self-monitoring, footwear and orthotic advice, exercise and strengthening thereby enabling increased movement to help people regain their health and their quality of life.'