So, what exactly is a Podiatrist?

This is a question myself and my Podiatrist colleagues get asked nearly every day.

Whenever I tell anybody what I  do for a living, I am almost certainly met with a quizical look. “What was that you said? A dietrist? Are you a child doctor, or a nutritionalist? I find myself explaining in simple terms that I  treat disorders of the feet and lower limb. “Ahh so you are a Chiropodist??” Well yes, and no.

You see, it is a little more complicated than that.

The term Chiropodist has been traditionally used to denote a professional who treats feet. This term is slowly being phased out and replaced with the title Podiatrist.

According to the Collins Dictionary:

 Podiatry is the professional care and treatment of people’s feet. Podiatry is a more modern term for chiropody and also deals with correcting foot problems relating to the way people stand and walk.

The term Podiatrist is used world wide and encompasses so much more than just chiropody.

The title of Podiatrist is a protected and only those practitioners who have reached certain educational standards, most likely a BSc Honours degree can call themselves a Podiatrist. Podiatrists are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council who oversee registrants and protect the public who use them.

With 3 years training Podiatrists are by far the most knowledgeable profession when it comes to disorders of the feet, but somehow the public have yet to cotton on.

Why is it that when you have toothache you see the dentist, problems with your eyes you go directly to the opticians but any problems with your feet your first stop is the GP?

We see so many patients who say that they have seen their GP previously, why not book an appointment with us directly?  Is it a problem with image? Do the general public consider podiatry only an option for the older generation? Or is it a problem that they general public just do not know what we can do for them?

There are so many foot and lower limb issues that we can help with, usually with early intervention completely resolve. With regular treatments issues may even not get a chance to establish. As the old saying goes “prevention is better than cure.”

So, what can Podiatrists do to help people?

In a nut shell Podiatrists help people become pain free, or improve their psychological well being. In some cases this is the same thing.

At  ProPodiatry we have 3 categories of treatments available in order to help people: Podiatry; Specialised Podiatry; Enhanced Podiatry.

Podiatry encompasses the “chiropody” side of clinic work.

Some people have difficulty getting down to their feet to cut their nails, and as a result can get very uncomfortable.  Others have more complicated issues such as corns and calluses which can be painful if left untreated.

Another regular issue is ingrowing toe nails which also can be extremely painful.

Podiatrists can treat all of these issues and in doing so make people more comfortable and able to continue their day to day life pain free.

Specialised podiatry involves treatments that use technology to deliver the desired outcomes.

Patients with fungal nails have the Lunula Laser available to them.  Swift microwave treatments are an option for stubborn verrucas. Biomechnical assessments with the footbalance  system with  moulding of 100% customised insoles is great for those with pain or discomfort when walking or undertaking exercise.  I particularly like these treatments as we get to use the latest technology available to the profession.

Enhanced Podiatry has a more therapeutic angle.

Warm wax therapy is beneficial to those individuals with arthritis, or those wanting a little pampering.

Nail reconstruction can have huge psychological benefits for those who are embarrassed by the condition of their toe nails. We can create a prosthetic nail that looks real and to that individual it can mean the world.

All in all every day as a Podiatrist at ProPodiatry is different. With so many varied ways we can help our patients it makes having a job as a Podiatrist exciting and very rewarding.

Thanks for reading, we will be posting with other musings, some related to podiatry others maybe less so.

Pease feel free to check back and comment.

For now Happy New Year to you all xx