When it comes to our feet, many of us take them for granted and are rather neglectful. From my personal experience, thirty years of standing on my tippy toes to style people’s hair caused my toes to rebel, and suddenly one problem after another began to emerge.
It started with an unpleasant ingrowing toenail, and moved on to developing Plantar Fasciitis. I am no stranger to pedicures. Still, if I were not being treated at the hands of an expert, treatment could become a torture rather than an enjoyable experience. I realised that just having my toenails cut and filed was not doing the trick, and in fact, was leading to health issues.
Many of my pals and those in the know raved about a woman they called “The Foot Queen”, Fiona Patterson, who was based at Beauchamp Foot Care.
Fiona trained under the renowned Dr Scholl in Islington, obtaining her degree in Podiatry at Durham University in 2010. Additionally. she also undertook her degree in anaesthesia at Dublin University. Fiona has worked at Beauchamp Foot Care for 24 years, along with her three partners.
Fiona is a fantastically camp but no-nonsense lady who really fills you with confidence. I personally hate anything to do with my feet and so I spent the first two minutes apologising for how neglected they were. Fiona just nodded, however, reassuring me that they were just fine, and she would get them back to their original glory. I quickly felt relaxed and at ease, and as she expertly worked on my feet, I felt like I was being lifted into the air. I got chatting to the Foot Queen and tried to prize out some gossip about which famous people have wiggled their toes at her.
Let’s find out more from the women herself.
What inspired you to start treating people’s feet?
I decided to do podiatry as I knew I liked treating people and I’m not squeamish.
Results fell into place. It all kind of came naturally to me, to be really honest.
How did you train?
I trained at the London School of Chiropody (as it was then) and then obtained my BSc degree from Durham.
What are the most common foot problems?
I would put them in this order:
Nail problems – there are a plethora of those!
Verrucae, athlete’s foot, and other conditions.
How can we best care for our feet between visits to the clinic?
I would advise that before washing them, you file them, and after washing them, thoroughly dry them, not forgetting in between the toes. Hardly anyone does this. Keep nails straight and short (ish). Cream them every day too. Any problems should be seen by a podiatrist.
What would you suggest athletes, who are more prone to sweating, use to look after their feet?
For athletes, see above re drying, especially between toes. If you have any signs of a fungal infection (itching, maceration of the skin, little blisters), see a podiatrist. Do not spend all day in your trainers. Take them off when you can.
How do you treat ingrowing toenails?
Ingrown toenails are usually self-inflicted. Be careful how you cut them. I treat them in two ways. If it’s a one-off event, a conservative treatment is required – carefully cutting the offending spike out.
If they’re recurrent, nail surgery is required under local anaesthetic. Sounds traumatic but isn’t, and well worth it for pain-free toes.
Who are your average clients at the clinic?
I’d say the average age are people in their fifties. We have tended the feet of pop royalty, actors, and the odd client you might want to curtsy for (shall we say).
How do you care for your shoes to make sure your feet are healthy?
You must make sure your shoes fit. Take into consideration the length, width and also the depth of the toe box. Loose shoes are nearly as bad as tight ones, so don’t keep your favourite ones if you are slipping in them.
You also perform pedicures at the clinic. What is the most popular nail-polish colour?
We use Essie products in the clinic, and I’d say two colours. Wicked, a deep plum colour. It’s been around for years. Also, Ballet Slippers, as rumoured to be worn by Her Majesty!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Travelling with my husband Marc. I love to knit and crochet. There is a bit of an interior designer in me and that would have been my other choice of career. Not to be a cliché but my gay pals since I left school have been a great way to unwind and have fun.
Favourite place in London?
Favourite place in London is Greenwich. Really nice vibe.
The one thing you would change in London.
I’d get rid of the bike lanes that seem to have popped up everywhere.
The one thing that would turn you off a person.
Can I say two things? Noisy eaters and ill-mannered people are a put off for me.
Your favourite film?
My favourite film is Phantom Thread with Daniel Day-Lewis.
What do you most love about your job?
The sense of satisfaction when a patient leaves me pain free.