We can pretty them up with beautiful shoes and pedicures, but for the majority of Australians, the health of our feet only really gets our attention when something goes wrong and by that stage our whole body can suffer debilitating consequences. When it comes to podiatry many people are actually unaware of what a podiatrist actually does. So let’s take a look at the main responsibilities of a podiatrist and reasons why should book an appointment to see one today.
What Does a Podiatrist Do?
Podiatrists are experts when it comes to all things related to lower limb health. Having spent at least 4 years at university, podiatrists are trained to diagnose, treat and help prevent a range of lower limb injuries and medical conditions. Podiatrists assess overall lower limb and foot health, advise on footwear choices, treat everything from cracked heels to sports injuries, and help to correct invisible issues before they cause future pain elsewhere in the body. It is not uncommon that many foot conditions stem from other underlying issues such as diabetes, arthritis and muscular weakness so your podiatrist can accurately diagnose and help you manage your problem.
Reasons Why You May Need to See a Podiatrist
Research has shown that most people who complain of sore feet or foot related problems, don’t seek professional advice when they should. You should most certainly visit a podiatrist if you suffer from sore or tired feet or legs or any of the below:
- Joint Pain in the Feet, Ankles or knees – One of the most common conditions affecting Australians is arthritis. Arthritis can lead to a variety of other foot related injuries. If you suffer from swollen, red or stiff joints a podiatrist can suggest options that can preserve joint health and make daily life pain free.
- Heel pain, heel spurs or plantar fasciitis – it is suggested that 10% of the population will suffer from plantar fasciitis in their life time, It is a very debilitating condition for walkers and runners alike. A podiatrist will perform a foot exam, gait assessment (watching the way you walk) to determine the cause of the pain and prepare a treatment program to help get you back to what you love.
- Running and walking assessment – Podiatrists are specialists in the way your lower limb moves, they spend many years learning about activation and effective motion of muscles and structure in the lower limb. Podiatrists will do a video or an assessment of your movement to help prevent pain, injuries or just make you move more efficiently.
- Diabetes – Having diabetes significantly increases your risk of foot and lower limb related complications. If you have diabetes, you should have regular foot checks where your podiatrist will review your overall health and assess your nerve function and blood flow.
- Heel Pain – A common injury seen and assessed by podiatrists all over Australia, there are many causes of heel pain.
- Ingrown toenails – Most commonly affecting the big toe, when the nail grows into the skin, infections can occur. If you have pain, redness, inflammation or pus in any of your nails you should visit your podiatrist for treatment.
- A sprain, strain, or broken bone – Podiatrists are best qualified to diagnose your injury and suggest the most appropriate treatment. If you have injured yourself and have swelling, trouble walking or increasing pain then you should see a podiatrist immediately.
- Corns or Callouses – These areas of hard skin build up and can be very painful. A podiatrist can remove corns and reduce callouses in a very painless procedure as well as help you manage thick and hard to cut nails.
- Painful Bunions – Podiatrists can suggest a variety of bunion treatments, such as padding, taping or orthotics. Surgery is may also be option in severe cases where other treatments have not been successful.
I Don’t Have Any Foot Problems, Should I Still See a Podiatrist?
Yes, you should. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the average Australian adult takes around 7,400 steps per day. Combined with the fact that one foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints and more than
100 muscles, tendons and ligaments, feet are increasingly vulnerable to injury which can then sometimes affect the entire body. A podiatrist will assess your feet and carry out a biomechanical assessment which will assess your gait, strength and stability as well as balance, giving you advice on footwear and techniques you can use every day to help prevent any future foot related problems.
If you are looking for the best podiatrist Canberra has to offer, then look no further than the experts at The Walking Clinic. If you have a specific foot problem that you need assessed or would just like general advice, then contact our friendly team today – we have 4 conveniently located clinics (Lyneham, Belconnen, Woden and Kingston) and team of dedicated professionals ready to keep your feet in top shape.