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Exploring the World of Podiatry: What Does a Podiatrist Do?



When it comes to healthcare, we often think of doctors, nurses, and specialists for various parts of our body, but what about our feet? Our feet are incredibly important for our overall well-being, and when foot problems arise, it's time to turn to a specialist known as a podiatrist. In this blog, we'll delve into the fascinating world of podiatry and discover what these healthcare professionals do to keep our feet healthy and functioning.

What is a Podiatrist?


A podiatrist, is an allied health practitioner trained in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of conditions and disorders related to the feet, ankles, and lower extremities. These professionals play a crucial role in maintaining our mobility, as our feet are responsible for carrying us through life's journeys.


Educational Journey


In Australia, to become a podiatrist you must undertake a Bachelor of Podiatric Medicine degree from any of the Australian universities providing this degree. Podiatrists are required to be registered by the governing body, AHPRA and must undertake further education each year.


What Does a Podiatrist Do?


Now that we've covered the educational path to becoming a podiatrist, let's explore the wide range of responsibilities and services they offer:


1. Diagnosing Foot and Ankle Conditions: Podiatrists are experts in diagnosing a variety of foot and ankle conditions, including bunions, hammertoes, plantar fasciitis, ingrown toenails, and fractures. They use physical examinations, imaging techniques like X-rays and MRIs, and patient history to make accurate diagnoses.


2. Treating Foot and Ankle Conditions: Once a diagnosis is made, podiatrists provide treatment options. This can include prescribing medications, recommending orthotics (custom shoe inserts),and prescribing rehabilitation exercises.



3. Preventive Care: Podiatrists focus on preventing foot and ankle problems before they become serious issues. They offer guidance on proper footwear, foot hygiene, and lifestyle adjustments to minimise the risk of developing conditions.



4. Surgical Procedures: Podiatrists are trained to perform various surgical procedures such as removal of ingrown toenails and treatment for warts. Surgical intervention is typically considered when conservative treatments are ineffective.


5. Sports Medicine: Podiatrists frequently work with athletes to address sports-related foot and ankle injuries. They help athletes manage and recover from conditions like stress fractures, Achilles tendonitis, and sprained ankles.


6. Diabetic Foot Care: Diabetes can lead to serious foot complications, including neuropathy and ulcers. Podiatrists play a vital role in managing and preventing these complications through regular foot exams, education, and treatment.


7. Rehabilitation: After surgery or injury, podiatrists often oversee the rehabilitation process, working with patients to regain strength, mobility, and function in their feet and ankles.


Conclusion


Podiatrists are unsung heroes of healthcare, specialising in the care and maintenance of our feet and ankles. Their expertise extends from diagnosing and treating common ailments to performing nail surgeries. So, the next time you experience foot or ankle discomfort, you can rest assured that a podiatrist is there to help you put your best foot forward towards a healthier, more comfortable life. Don't neglect your feet—they're your foundation for a lifetime of adventures!


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