Podiatry- What Is It?

Podiatry- What Is It?

A Podiatrist is a health professional qualified to diagnose and treat specific foot and lower limb conditions.
Common conditions a podiatrist would treat include:

  • bone and joint disorders
  • muscular, neurological and circulatory complaints
  • skin and nail disorders,
  • corns
  • calluses
  • ingrown toenails
  • sporting injuries.

What Does a Podiatrist Treat?

Podiatrists diagnose and treat both common and more rare skin and nail pathologies of the feet. Podiatrists play an important role in maintaining the mobility of many elderly and disabled people, and others. This achieved through the ongoing monitoring of foot health, in particular of those with circulation problems and diabetes. Podiatrists are recognised as important members of the health care team in preventing and managing lower limb complications for those living with diabetes. A basic area of foot care undertaken by podiatrists is the treatment of various acute and chronic nail conditions, the treatment of which depends on the pathology. Podiatrists have specific instrumentation for painless and effective treatment of these conditions. For example, the surgical correction of chronically ingrown tow nails under local anaesthesia is a common podiatric procedure.
Treatment and prevention of corns, calluses and warts are also common podiatric procedures.

Systemic diseases

As systemic diseases such as arthritis affect the joints in the foot, podiatrists monitor feet for any degenerative changes. The effects of these diseases and the medications often used in their treatment can predispose sufferers to circulatory pathology and/or peripheral neuropathies. This can result in nail and skin lesions, deformity of the feet and the increased incidence of ulceration.

The multiplicity of possible causes and complications demands a comprehensive method of examination in order to establish a sound diagnosis as a basis of treatment. The podiatrist’s role entails much more than merely attaching a label to a condition. It often includes the monitoring of circulation and neurological examination, using methods such as Doppler assessment and motor and sensory tests.
The manufacture of palliative and functional orthoses also aids in the prevention and treatment of pressure lesions or deformities, enabling individuals to maintain a more normal, active lifestyle.


Children’s Feet

The child’s foot is not just a small-scale model of an adult foot. Its shape is not finally determined until growth ceases at the end of the second decade of life. Podiatrists diagnose and treat children’s foot problems by careful examination of the foot, and lower limb, where required.

Advice for the prevention or reduction of foot deformity which often develops later in adult life may involve the provision of appropriate information on footwear, treatment by splinting, advice on exercises and/or orthotic control of the feet. Podiatrists also treat common, chronic and acute problems of children’s feet such as osteochondroses, fasciitis and ‘flat feet’.

Occupational Podiatry

Some occupations are more prone than others to foot problems which can arise as the result of standing on hard surfaces for long periods. Hairdressers, factory workers and nurses are examples of those from professionals likely to develop long-term problems unless preventative measures are taken. Podiatrists seek to address some of the issues responsible for foot problems and can advise on occupational foot health and safety. This can sometimes involve the prescription of orthoses, or surgical advice.

Biomechanics

In treating chronic foot pain, and evaluating specific needs of patients, the podiatrist will often assess the anatomy and function of the foot and lower limbs during gait. This assessment of the shape and motion of the limb allows for an effective diagnosis of the cause of injuries and/or the development of deformities.
The analysis of the function of human motion is called biomechanics.
Podiatrists perform clinical biomechanical evaluation of the lower limb. Specialised equipment, including mechanized treadmills with video and computerized assessment equipment, are often used by podiatrists to detect pathomechanical anomalies to ensure appropriate and effective treatment.
This treatment may include specific exercises and the prescription of foot orthoses, from precise measurements of an individual’s biomechanics.

Custom Foot Orthotics

Orthoses are custom-made shoe inserts made specifically to reduce a foot pathology. As already outlined, the prescription and manufacture of orthoses is an important part of podiatric practice. The podiatrists are trained in the manufacturing techniques for a diversity of shoe inserts.
Most inserts fall into two main categories – functional orthoses or palliative orthoses.
The Podiatrists at Gladesville Healthcare specialise in the manufacture of the latest CAD/CAM( computer designed and manufactured)orthotic therapy.These devices are second to none and represent the latest technology and thinking in the management of biomechanical influences on foot and leg pain.
Your orthotic therapy at Gladesville Healthcare forms a key component in our multi-disciplinary approach to managing your health care concerns.

Surgery

Podiatrists are qualified to perform both nail and cutaneous surgery, but some have undertaken further education to perform additional foot surgery.

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Gladesville Healthcare Clinic
74 Morrison Rd
Gladesville NSW 2111.

Clinic Hours: Monday to Friday: By Appointment
Tel: 9816. 3071
Fax: 9816 2037
Email: info@gladesvillehealthcare.com.au

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