Podiatry is a branch of medicine devoted to the study and medical treatment of disorders of the feet, ankles and lower extremities. Podiatrists are the only medical professionals who exclusively specialise in treating the foot and ankle.
Podiatrists are highly trained professionals registered by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) that have trained in the area of the foot and lower limb for several years. In order to become an HCPC registered practitioner a Podiatrist will have undertaken and passed a full time degree in podiatry.
You may want to see a podiatrist for advice and treatment if you have painful feet, thickened or discoloured toenails, cracks or cuts in the skin, growths such as warts, scaling or peeling on the soles, or any other foot-related problem.
Podiatrists can also supply orthotics, which are tailor-made insoles, padding and arch supports to relieve arch or heel pain. You put the orthotic device into your shoe to re-align your foot, take pressure off vulnerable areas of your foot, or simply to make your shoes more comfortable.
Even if your feet are generally in good condition, you might consider having a single session of podiatry once a year to have the hard skin on your feet removed, toenails clipped, to find out if you’re wearing the right shoes (take your shoes with you for specific advice on footwear) or just to check that you’re looking after your feet properly.
Podiatrists can also help with more complex foot problems including preventing, diagnosing and treating injuries related to sports and/or exercise
A podiatrist can treat and advise on a range of conditions including:
• Athlete’s Foot • Gout
• Biomechanics • Heel pain
• Blisters • Insoles (orthotics)
• Bunions • Ingrown toenails
• Calluses • Osteoarthritis
• Chilblains • Rheumatoid arthritis
• Corns • Sports medicine
• Diabetes (foot related) • Sweaty feet
• Footwear • Toe deformities
• Fungal infections • Verrucae
• Toenail cutting
What happens at the consultation?
At your first consultation, the podiatrist will take a full medical history and do basic tests such as checking the blood circulation and feeling in your feet. They may also check the way you walk and move your lower leg joints.
They will discuss your concerns with you and then make a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Usually any minor problems that are picked up can be treated on the spot including the removal of hard skin, corns and calluses.
The session is usually completely painless (even pleasant) and takes 30 to 60 minutes.
What happens during a Biomechanical Assessment?
Biomechanics is the science of how we move. How our muscles, bones and joints combine to provide human motion. Movement is a complex process, so many different things can cause it to go wrong. Often the pain will be in the foot or ankle but sometimes, the pain can be in the leg, knee, hip or lower back.
At your appointment you will be asked detailed questions about your problem and how this is affecting you. To allow a thorough visual examination by the Podiatrist, it would be helpful if you wear trousers you can roll above your knees or bring a pair of shorts with you. The Podiatrist may need to examine your legs, thighs and on some occasions your back. The podiatrist will also carry out a full Biomechanical Assessment including gait analysis.
After you have been examined the Podiatrist will talk to you about the best way of managing your symptoms, this may include recommending off the shelf insoles, or fitting customised insoles (called foot orthoses) into your shoes. The insoles are generally comfortable to wear though may need a short adjustment period. In some cases bespoke casted insoles may be recommended.
If you have had any other treatment for your current problem which involves insoles or orthoses, please bring the old devices with you.
It is best to wear shoes that are fairly comfortable and not too tight in case the Podiatrist needs to fit insoles inside them. Sandals are not appropriate to fit insoles in as they will slip out. If in doubt, bring more than one pair of shoes. There may be some exercises to do at home such as strengthening or stretching. Often there will be additional advice to help with other areas of your life such as exercise or footwear.
If you have a question, would like further information or to make an appointment, please contact our friendly reception on 01823 333973.