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Why do we have a foot health month for?

Discussion in 'General Issues and Discussion Forum' started by Craig Payne, Apr 25, 2006.

  1. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator


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    May is Foot Health Awareness week everywhere (except in Australia, where its later in the year). It been delcared by the Fédération Internationale des Podologues, suppoted by the American Podiatric Medical Association (but they had their's in April). Other countries do there own thing. There have been press releases (eg) and other activities.

    Why do we bother with such activties when all the evidence is that "theme weeks" do not actually work? The only reason I can see for foot health weeks or months are to give the organizers "warm fuzzies".

    What say you?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2006
  2. Admin2

    Admin2 Administrator Staff Member

  3. Felicity Prentice

    Felicity Prentice Active Member

    I guess the marketing/promotion walahs would say that it is an opportunity to focus our efforts (and therefore share and optimise resources) on penetrating the media with stories which might otherwise be overlooked. It is really difficult to get anything into the media unless it involves good footage (oh dear, no pun intended). Quite simply, the one criteria for selection of newsworthy stories is whether it has accompanying vision. Podiatry has a very low visual impact. You can penetrate the text media if there is sufficient headline drawing power - but again, unless you rely on weak jokes and puns, feet have a social impact status lower than earthworms.

    Having said all that, I find the whole theme week business rather embarrassing, "Love your Spleen Month", "Be kind to the distal aspect of the left ureter week", and so on. When you have an earnest press release about the importance of being careful about tinea alongside a West African Civil War atrocity story, it looks rather out of proportion.

    I guess the real question is - what are we actually promoting? Is it Foot Health, is it the Podiatry Profession, is it touting for customers, is it a group ego stroke?

    Back to the first paragraph (if you are still with me gentle reader). If we combine our resources then we can make a media impact - then, if the purpose is to promote podiatry, we can probably have a better outcome. But if we, as individuals, offered our time and expertise to a variety of places where we are actually needed (a homeless shelter, the local amateur foot team, the Oxfam trail walkers) then we can improve foot health in our community. But, of course, if we provide volunteer work we undercut the practitioners in our community, and we also reduce the pressure on the Government to provide resources to the needy. Bugger it. Be kind to your spleen.


  4. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    I agree it does focus our marketing efforts, but to what end?

    I have seen many sets of figures on the "success" of foot health weeks. eg number of calls to a free call number; number of column inches in print media etc etc - but I can never understand why they were considered measures of success.

    What success do we want from a "focused" marketing campaign, such as foot health week/month:
    - the alturistic aim of an improvment in the nation's foot health
    - a greater status for us as a profession and individuals (from awareness of podiatry; awareness of scope of practice; etc)
    - more income (patients in the door; better 3rd party reimbursement; higher wages; etc)

    Why are none of the measures of the "success" of foot health weeks/months measuring these things that really count?

    The published evidence I have seen (not in the last year or so) is that proper research before and after "theme" weeks is that there is no change in things like public perception etc etc.

    I am not for one minute suggesting there should be no marketing/public relations, just questioning why to foot health months/weeks???? We expouse the importance of evidence based clinical practice, why ignore the evidence on theme weeks/months?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2006
  5. Cameron

    Cameron Well-Known Member

    C, F and fellow netizens

    I do share all sentiments expressed so far on this topic. Long been a bone of contention especially since the purist in me has never been comfortable about masquerading professional self promotion with patient empowerment. However no criticicism to the many involved in promoting foot health week. In the global village I would have thought we should share the event at least that would give it gravitas. I have also mused at what personality would best represent Foot Health (promotion). In the UK for several years Ernie Wise (surviving parner to Eric Morcombe) became the key figure in the SOC&P promotions. Not clear why this was perhaps he had sore feet ? He certainly had "short fat hairy legs." Harry Secombe was the patron of the British Diabetic Association for many years and provided the celebrity profile as well as winning the sympathy of other diabetic sufferers.

    Another initiative the Brits had was a dinner and SOC&P "shoe and sock auction".

    Maybe we need something like that is Australia but would Eddie McQuire be interested? The PC could sponsore a nude thong (sandal) throwing contest which could certainly catch the public's attention. I personally keep my ugg boots on, well you need somewhere cool to keep your tinny in the shade.

    Many moons ago I was the liaison person for the Foot Health Council for Scotland and organised and co-ordinated all activities North of the Border for the National Foot Health event. I was particularly pleased to score a full page advert (paid by the Scottish Health Council) in a daily tabloid, circulation approx 17 million. Day arrived and openned the paper to see resplendent advert for Foot Health Week then noticed in the corner of my eye the telephone number for all enquiries was the clinic line (one line). Panic and scouring looks looks came from all in the office. My day passed slowly and the sliver lining was tarnished as colleagues "pulled my leg" about the jammed switchboard. On my way out I picked up enough courage to ask the office manager how things went. "Fine," she sang, "we received one enquiry all day."

    And the moral to the tale....

    Foot health promotions do not work.

  6. John Spina

    John Spina Active Member

    Here in the USA,the APMA does something similiar to promote foot health-I do not know for sure when it is--I really do not feel strongly one way or another about it.
  7. One Foot In The Grave

    One Foot In The Grave Active Member

    It's always apeared to me, to be an advertisment for customers for Private Pods (Public Pods sure as hell don't need to advertise) or something to keep the A.Pod.A busy.

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