Many people may ask “What is Podiatry?” and the answer is a profession that specialises in the lower limb and feet. Someone with a university degree in Podiatry is called a podiatrist.
“Podiatrists are university educated health care professionals specialising in the prevention, diagnoses, treatment and rehabilitation of disorders, medical and surgical, of the feet and lower limbs” (Podiatry Association of South Australia).
Podiatrist treat many conditions of the feet and lower limbs which can be painful and debilitating. If we have painful feet this can affect mobility, which can significantly impact on our quality of life. Podiatrist maintain mobility by preventing and treating foot pain and dysfunction.
What is Podiatry and why do we need it?
Podiatry is necessary as the foot is a highly complex structure, consisting of 26 bones, many joints, nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, muscles and tendons. The feet are the foundations of our bodies so damage to any of these structures can develop problems affecting a patient’s overall health and well being.
Podiatrists work in a range of clinical settings across both public and private sectors. Podiatrist are generally located in public hospitals, private practices, medical clinics, community health centres, sports clinics and aged care facilities.
They are important primary health care professionals, and often the first to detect other systemic issues. This is because the foot may be the first area to show signs of serious conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, or heart disease.
If a podiatrist detects signs in the feet indicating other systemic conditions they will refer you to the appropriate medical practicioner.
A podiatrist is qualified to treat any condition below the knee, including:
- Nails and general foot care (corns, callus, plantar warts, thickened or fungal nails, cracked heels and ingrown toenails).
- Foot pain (acute and chronic).
- Diabetes foot health checks.
- Children’s feet (in toeing, knocked knees, pigeon toed, tip toe walking).
- Sports injuries
- Skin conditions (tinea and psoriasis).
- Assessing and Fitting for appropriate footwear.
- Training, exercise and stretching programs to prevent lower limb injury.