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What is a Podiatrist? Foot Focus Podiatry


What are They?

They are still doctors, but don't attend traditional medical schools. They have their schools and associations. Instead of "MD", they have "DPM" after their name (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine).

Podiatrists are able to perform surgery, fix broken bones, prescribe medications, order lab tests, or take X-rays. When a foot or lower leg problem is present, they often work with other specialists. In the Australia state governments license and regulate podiatrists.

Education and Training

Students who wish to become podiatrists will take classes in biology, chemistry and physics, along with other sciences, to prepare for podiatry. The majority of podiatrists have a bachelor's in biology, chemistry or another science field.

They then attend podiatry college for four years. They learn how the bones, muscles, and nerves work together to move you. Also, they study illnesses and injuries which can affect the feet. This includes how to diagnose and treat them, and how to fix them with surgery if necessary.

The Australian Podiatric Medical Association has accredited nine podiatry colleges in the Australia.

After graduating from podiatry, students work for three years in a hospital. It's called a residency and it is where they apply what they have learned. They work with other doctors, such as surgeons, anesthesiologists and pediatricians.

They can also get advanced certifications for surgery of the feet and ankles after their residency.


Conditions that Podiatrists treat

Podiatrists can treat patients of all ages for a variety of foot conditions.

  • Sprains and fractures. These common injuries are treated by podiatrists when they occur on the foot or ankle. Podiatrists also specialize in sports medicine and treat foot problems that athletes may have. They can also recommend ways to prevent them.
  • Hammertoes and bunions are both problems of the foot bones. The joint at the base your big toe becomes larger or is knocked out. This causes the toe to bend towards the other toes. The toe bends the wrong way.
    Nail disorders. This includes issues such as an infection of your nail caused by an ingrown toenail or a fungus. This is when the corner or side grows into your toe, instead of straight up.
  • Diabetes A condition where your body does not produce insulin or uses it incorrectly. Insulin helps you digest sugar. Diabetes can cause nerve damage in your legs or feet, and it may be difficult to get enough blood into your feet.
    Diabetes can lead to serious complications. Diabetes causes more than 65,000 foot amputations a year. A podiatrist is able to prevent this. Check your feet for any calluses or sores if you have diabetes.
  • Arthritis. Arthritis is caused by inflammation, swelling and wear on the joints. Each foot contains 33 joints. A podiatrist may recommend drugs, physical therapy or special shoes to treat your arthritis. If other treatments do not work, surgery may be the next step.
  • Growing Pains. A podiatrist may be able help if your child's toes are not aligned or if their feet look inward, flat, or pointing outward. They may recommend braces, insoles or exercises. They could also recommend surgery.
  • Heel pain. Heel spurs are a common cause of heel discomfort. They are a calcium buildup at the base of your heel. Running, wearing ill-fitting footwear, and being overweight can cause them. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the connective tissue band that runs down the bottom of your feet becomes inflamed. Most often, sports and nonsupportive footwear are to blame. The cause is usually overpronation. This means that your foot bends too much inward or outward when you walk. Achilles tendinitis can also affect athletes. This causes pain in the heel at the attachment of this tendon. The treatment usually starts with pain medications over the counter and can include shoe inserts, called orthotics. Some people need surgery.
  • Morton’s neuroma. Nerve issues between the third- and fourth-bones of your foot may cause burning and pain. You might also feel that something is in your shoe. Runners are most likely to suffer from this condition. It is made worse by tight shoes and overpronation. A podiatrist will give you injections to reduce inflammation and pain, and can help you find the right orthotic. It might require surgery to remove.

Why You Should Visit a Podiatrist in Perth

Your feet are hard workers. You'll walk 75,000 miles by the time you turn 50. The feet are a complex structure with many bones and tendons. They must work perfectly together to keep you going.


When you:

  • Foot pain
  • Toenails that are thick or discolored
  • Skin cracks or cuts
  • Growths like warts
  • Peeling and scaling on the soles

What to expect at the Podiatrist

The first time you visit a podiatrist, it will be similar to any other doctor's office. You'll be asked about your medical history and any medications or surgeries you have had.

The doctor will examine your posture and gait, as well as your range of motion and how your shoes fit. First visits are often used to treat bunions and ingrown toenails. They may also address heel and lower-back pain, circulation problems in the feet, if you suffer from diabetes, or foot deformities.

Your podiatrist may suggest orthotics, padding or physical therapy as a treatment for your problem. Some conditions can be treated in the office. You may be given pain medications with syringes, and you might also receive nail splitters or anvils to remove your ingrown toenails. Scalpels are used to cut the skin surrounding a toenail, or remove corns and calluses. Liquid nitrogen is used by many doctors to freeze plantar warts.