What is Podiatry?
Podiatry is a branch of medicine that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of disorders affecting the foot and the lower leg. This also includes injuries, problems with walking or gait, complications related to medical conditions such as arthritis and diabetes, skin or nail diseases such as ingrown toenails, cracked heels, and other fungal conditions.
How Does Podiatry Work?
Podiatry is the solution for all foot problems. It involves the treatment, prevention and management of diseases affecting the leg, knee, foot, ankle and other related structures. Some lower limb conditions are inborn, while others are a result of poor posture and biomechanics, gait abnormalities, an injury or a medical condition.
A podiatrist is a medical specialist who is responsible for the treatment of lower limb disorders that are often painful and debilitating. Some of these conditions are linked to bone and joint disorders, muscular problems or neurological or circulatory diseases.
Apart from the treatment of foot problems, a podiatrist also implements strategies on risk prevention, provides prophylactic treatment to help delay or minimise the need for hospitalization or invasive treatment, and comes up with therapeutic care plans designed to improve the mobility and overall health of the patient.
A podiatrist may recommend orthotic correction or prescribe shoe inserts called orthotics to correct or support the heels, arches, muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones in the feet. If the patient's condition requires extensive surgery, the podiatrist will collaborate with the appropriate medical specialist to ensure quality patient care.
In addition, a podiatrist can also offer advice on athletic footwear and help with issues concerning occupational health and safety.
What are the Benefits of Podiatry?
Podiatry improves mobility and independence through the management and prevention of foot problems. Anyone can go see a podiatrist when they feel that there is something wrong with their feet as this holistic health specialist can treat people of all ages and from all backgrounds, ranging from babies, children and teenagers to working adults, athletes and elderly folks. A podiatrist can treat a wide range of foot-related conditions, including the the following:
- Bunions and hammertoes
- Developmental abnormalities that affect walking
- Effects from systemic diseases such as diabetes
- Foot fatigue
- Fungal infections
- Growing pains
- Heel pains
- Ingrown toenails
- Mobility problems
- Sports injuries
- Weak ankles
- Plantar warts
- Foot ulcers
- Skin cancer located on the foot
- Shin splints
- Athlete's foot
- Cracked heels
- Arch pain
What Can You Expect From Podiatry?
A consultation with a podiatrist can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and is no different to a doctor's visit. However, a podiatrist does way more than just take the client's medical history and address their symptoms by prescribing a medication; they assess the client's gait, range of motion and even their footwear.
The practitioner may ask the client to stand, walk and jump so that they can evaluate the health of their joints as well as the alignment of their feet with their spine. Once they have identified the root of the client's problem, the podiatrist will go on to provide treatment using the appropriate tools. After the treatment session, the podiatrist will let you know if your feet are as good as new or if you need to come back for follow-up care.
It is important to see your podiatrist every six months or once a year, not only when you start experiencing pain in your feet, to prevent developing serious lower limb issues.
Is Podiatry Safe?
Podiatry is safe and recommended for people of all ages, including babies. In fact, many foot problems begin in infancy such as flat feet, heel pain and clubfoot. Consulting a podiatrist will prevent problems that affect the lower limbs from getting worse or leading to complications.