Well, if we’re going to do a first blog let’s make it simple! So here goes, what is Podiatry?!
Podiatry, or Podiatric Medicine, is a branch of medicine devoted to the study and diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the foot ankle and associated structures. Yes, that’s right, we are medical professionals. Podiatry is an evolution from Chiropody in many ways. As we have developed as a profession, we have gained more skills and, as a result, we moved away from the older title of Chiropody and are embracing Podiatry (which is the title used in more of the world). Now, all graduating Podiatrists have rights to some restricted medications such as antibiotics and some Podiatrists even go on to gain rights to prescribe restricted medication in their own right. We are, truly, the first port of call for foot conditions and issues.
Since the 1990’s you have had to undertake a degree to become a Podiatrist. The degree is full of anatomy, pathologies, physiology, specialist placements, pharmacology, research methods, clinical studies, toenail surgery, care of the foot with high risk conditions and 1000 clinical hours! Sounds like a lot? It is! And guess what, we must keep learning! Our registration requires us to learn quality content yearly to be at the forefront of best treatment. In our clinic, we continually update our skills and have regular training sessions as a team.
Once graduating Podiatrists have many options. Performing clinical work such as routine work, MSK and injury solutions, specialised care of diabetic or rheumatoid patients or even surgery is common amongst Podiatrists. Some Podiatrists may go into lecturing, research or helping Podiatrists with their businesses.
All very interesting, to some maybe, but how can Podiatrists help you?! Afterall, that’s why we do what we do.
In our clinic we have a dynamic team. We aim to make our Podiatry treatments the best with solutions designed to fix your problems and pain and attempt to prevent reoccurrence.
Routine care is, for many Podiatrists, our bread and butter. It builds on Chiropody and how we deliver foot care. This can be issues such as toenail care, hard skin, corns, fungal infections, cracked heels and numerous more. But, don’t assume we are just cutting your toenails! When you present for routine care it is very important that we look at prevention of more serious conditions developing. The prevention of serious complications is the driving force behind most of our degree training. At routine appointments we check your circulation, pulses and look for changes which could even point to serious causes such as Atrial Fibrillation or blocked arteries which we can then refer for further investigations and treatment.
Through Routine care we can look at issues of toenails and, only when required, provide Toenail surgery. This is the full or partial removal of a troubling toenail(s). We, and studies, find the best long-term solution is to stop that toenail, or part of the nail, causing the issue from coming back. We cannot qualify as a Podiatrist without completing successful nail surgery.
MSK Podiatry is what we call Sports Podiatry or Biomechanics. There is no right name, we just can’t decide as a profession! This is probably the area where most developments in Podiatric care are occurring at present. Simply put, we look at pain or injuries you have, such as heel pain, find the cause, begin treatment and rehabilitation to relieve the systems with the aim to prevent it coming back. An MSK assessment involves looking at your joints, muscles, how the work together, are there inadequacies in function of a joint or muscle, how is that affecting your gait cycle (walking and/or running) and why is all that together causing your pain. This isn’t something you can just pick up; it takes years of looking at how all these sections walking integrate and how they build a picture of you moving. Even now, all our team are continually learning how to assess and treat you better.
Treatments in MSK include one of combination of several modalities such as Acupunture, Orthoses (Orthotics/Insoles), joint and soft tissues Manipulation and Mobilisation, taping, exercise therapy or even using advanced equipment like ultrasound or laser therapy. Phew!
Other specialised care such a Diabetes and Rheumatoid foot care, even MSK, Forensic and more, can require a MSc, which requires more university training! Podiatrists do this when they want to become a leader in the area and deliver greater care through greater knowledge. We have some of our team looking at this over coming years in several areas. Podiatric Surgery is a growing field and Podiatrists can perform a lot of surgeries beyond just nail surgery, with further training, such as bunion operations and tendon transfer in the foot and ankle. Its an exciting time with Podiatry pushing the boundaries of our practice and seeing how we can help the public in new ways.
If you would like more information about Podiatry feel free to get in touch with the clinic and we will be happy to help!
If something in the blog has made you realise we can help with an issue you have, Online booking is available or give us a phone and we will be more than happy to help.