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.
There is no significant difference between chiropody and podiatry. However, the difference in title is determined by which the degree was obtained. In Australia, the title of chiropodist was replaced with podiatrist in 1977.
A podiatrist is a medical specialist who is responsible for the treatment of the disorders and illnesses affecting the foot and the lower leg. These disorders are often painful and debilitating. Also, they are concerned with ensuring that independence and mobility is retained.
Apart from the treatment of foot problems, a podiatrist also implements strategies on risk prevention, provides prophylactic treatment which helps in delaying or minimizing the need for hospitalization or invasive treatment, and comes up with therapeutic care plans designed to maximize mobility and the level of activity of the patient.
Podiatrists help in the treatment of the following foot-related conditions:
Podiatry is beneficial in improving mobility and independence through the management and prevention of foot problems. Some of the foot-related conditions that a podiatrist can treat include:
In addition, podiatrist can also offer advice on athletic footwear and help with issues concerning occupational health and safety. Some of these conditions that can be treated include:
Podiatrists can also prescribe shoe inserts called orthotics that can help correct individual foot problems by gently repositioning and supporting the heels, arches, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones in the feet.