What is a podiatrist?

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOUR PODIATRIST AND THE PODIATRIC PROFESSION

A Podiatrist is a highly trained specialist in the care of the foot and ankle.

Podiatry is that profession of health sciences concerned with the research, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of deformities, pathologies and injuries of the foot and associated structures – in relation with the body as well as the manifestations of systemic diseases – by all appropriate systems and technologies using scientific and professional specialised knowledge.*

Podiatrists are often called upon by other physicians and health care professionals for consultation and treatment of foot problems which can be experienced by everyone from children to seniors. A referral from your family physician may or may not be required to see a podiatrist.

Examination of children’s feet is an integral part of podiatry. Frequently, children have structural imbalances of the feet that may go unrecognized and can lead to other deformities and imbalances within the skeletal system. When detected early, these imbalances of the feet, some of which are related to the bone structure, are treated so that a sturdier foundation can be provided for the later years.

At the opposite end of the scale, care is required for many foot problems commonly seen in seniors. This can include anything from routine palliative care of unmanageable toenails and calluses to diabetic ulcerations and infections. At this time of life, circulatory impairment as well as degenerative joint and skin conditions are common findings. With proper care and attention to their feet, seniors may enjoy many years of pain-free foot function.

Finally, you should remember this about podiatrists: around the world, no segment of the health profession sees and treats more foot problems day by day than a podiatrist. If symptoms develop, see your podiatrist promptly.

We only have one pair of feet to last a lifetime.

Did you know that the average person takes about 8,000 to 10,000 steps every day. Add that up over the course of a lifetime and it’s the equivalent of walking four times around the world!

And while you’re walking, your feet are taking a pounding, often enduring more than your body weight with each step. The pressure can be three or four times your weight when you run. A child’s feet may absorb one million kilograms/two million pounds over the course of a single day.

That’s why it’s so important to have your podiatrist check your feet regularly, similar to a dentist regularly checking your teeth. Podiatrists are trained to diagnose and treat foot and ankle ailments of patients ranging in age from children to seniors.

Podiatrists treat common ailments such as athlete’s foot and plantar warts. They also treat bone deformities and can recognize the initial symptoms of serious diseases such as arthritis, diabetes and circulatory disorders, which often appear first in the feet.

Studies show that 75% of people experience foot ailments at some point in their lives, but many don’t seek medical attention until the problem becomes more severe.

Our feet are complex instruments, containing 25% of the bones in our bodies. With regular checkups, you and your podiatrist can keep them running like a well-tuned car.