As a podiatrist I am commonly asked what it is I do, along with the assumption that all I do is clip toenails and deal with smelly feet.
I love this question because it provides me with the opportunity to enlighten someone on WHAT PODIATRY REALLY IS. (I must note I do get a chuckle out of the assumption we are a Paediatrician).
So, what is it I do…well as a Podiatrist we complete a 4 year University Bachelor Degree to which we are registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency (AHPRA), meaning we are officially recognised as Allied Health Practitioners.
Podiatry has a broad scope of practice that comes into three main categories. Sports and Biomechanical injuries, Paediatrics and Foot Health Care and Management.
Sports and biomechanical injuries are NOT just for the athlete, but this is a scope of Podiatry that can benefit anyone that is suffering from pain anywhere from the hip down to the knees and feet. Common complaints include heel pain, bunions, ankle sprains, osteoarthritis, shin pain, knee pain and this is only the tip of the iceberg. We are the foot experts and so any pain or injury associated with the foot or ankle, we can diagnose.
Within this scope we also embrace technology to improve our assessment outcomes. This technology includes using iPad’s for high-speed running and walking assessments whilst also been able to use the iPad for 3D scanning of the foot to create computerised models to generate customised foot orthotics.
High-speed running and walking assessment can also be combined with a product only Stepping Out Podiatry has available at present – PODOSmart in-shoe motion sensors, which are innersoles placed in a client’s shoe to assess the foot function during running and/or walking. This technology can be used in any client young or old, athletic or weekend warrior.
Paediatrics! What could a podiatrist do for a young person I hear you ask, well lots! Children suffer from a range of pathologies that can be growth related but also can suffer from pathologies just like an adult such as heel pain. The developmental milestones and correct development of functional patterns can be vital in ensuring a child thrives without physical boundaries.
Oh, and let’s not forget the ingrown toe nails…oh the infected painful toe, self-inflicted in many cases due to poor nail cutting, WE CAN HELP! A simple procedure which involves a local anaesthetic can solve the problem permanently.
Diabetes, what do I say? It is an epidemic and one of the first places to be affected is your FEET! Helping diabetics avoid complications such as ulcers on their feet is literally LIFE SAVING!
Finally, the humble general foot and nail care, this can be some of the most rewarding work we do. Have you ever thought what you would do if you could not reach your feet and toenails? The nasty corn or hard skin that has built up under the ball of the foot, who are you to call?
Stepping Out Podiatry of course!
Dr Scott Greenbank (Podiatrist)