Reasons it may be time to see a Podiatrist…
So exactly what is a podiatrist? And how do I know if I need to see one?
These are common questions we hear, and we wanted to try to explain who we are and how we can help!
Podiatrists are often known as foot doctors as we specialise in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of all foot problems. However, what you may not realise is that podiatry is actually the specialism of the whole lower limb, so that includes ankle, knees, legs and hips.
The practice of podiatry also covers a wide scope including assessment, diagnosis and treatment of:
Sports injuries (orthotics, stretching and strengthening rehab, etc)
Nails (ingrowing, fungal, damaged, etc)
Skin (hard skin, corns, plantar warts & verrucas, fungal infection e.g tinea, etc)
Minor surgery (removal of ingrowing toenails with local anaesthetic)
Below are some common FAQs…
I’m dealing with a sports injury in my foot or ankle, is it best to see a podiatrist or a physio?
Unlike professions such as physiotherapists who assess the whole body, podiatrists only specialise in the lower limb, making us experts in this area. We diagnose and treat all kinds of sport and non sport related pain and injuries; including conditions such as plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinopathies, muscle strains or tears, ligament sprains, stress fractures and overuse injuries.
However, most health professions will overlap with certain treatment areas and your recovery may benefit from seeing more than one profession. We regularly receive referrals from physiotherapists, osteopaths, etc, and we may suggest you seeing one of our trusted healthcare colleagues if during treatment we notice something that may benefit from their expertise.
Do you cut nails? Is this not the same as seeing a beautician for a pedicure?
As podiatry includes all areas of the lower limb, nail care is a part of that and one of our specialty areas. We complete a 4 year university degree as health professionals, so our main priority is the ongoing health of your nails (although we also want them to look their best too!).
During the treatment session, we will give them an in-depth assessment, checking for elements such as fungal infections or damage, and can advise on the best course of treatment if these are found. The nails are also cut in a style that prevents common complaints such as ingrown toenails. Finally, all our instruments are fully sterilised and individually packaged, so you can be reassured you are getting a fully professional treatment.
I don’t have any specific foot problems, should I still come and see a podiatrist?
The old saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ is definitely the case with most areas of health, including our feet! Like having a 6 monthly dental check up, we recommend coming to get regular checks to make sure your feet are in the best condition they can be.
At this appointment we can check the health of your skin and nails, mobility of joints, muscle strength, and flexibility. We can also check your footwear including things like wear patterns to see if these are the most suitable style and fit for you, and if you may benefit from supports such as orthotics.
So to summarise; if you currently have issues with your feet, or just want to get a full assessment to prevent these happening in the future, seeing a podiatrist is always a good idea!
Author: Johanna De Belle, Podiatrist. After graduating from the University of Brighton in 2011 with a Batchelor of Science degree in Podiatry, she spent the last 10 years working within a variety of private clinics, hospitals, and with amateur sports and running clubs in London and around the UK. You can find out more about Johanna and her work HERE.