Fact: The foot is often referred to as a "mirror of the
body” as many health problems first make themselves known by causing
symptoms in the foot.
Founded: The first society of chiropodists (podiatrists) was established in New York in 1895 and is still in operation today.
Therapy Type: Movement
WHAT EXACTLY IS PODIATRY?
The foundations of Podiatry lie within the philosophy of chiropody. However Podiatry has expanded to become a speciality in medicine that examines, assesses, diagnoses and treats the lower limbs and feet. Podiatrists examine what effect the leg and foot have upon the workings of the rest of the body. Due to the Podiatrists awareness of the biomechanical workings of the body, the variety of conditions treated, are issues often following joint and bone complaints, such as arthritis and also any infection or injury sustained through sporting activities. Furthermore, soft tissue, muscular, neurological and circulatory issues are also treated by the podiatrist, in addition to array of complaints ranging from ingrown toenails, nail and skin disorders, corns and calluses.
Podiatrists are sometimes trained in specialist areas such as foot surgery, diabetic foot care, children’s foot disorders, bone and joint disorders, elderly disorders and sports medicine. In this way, podiatry can be extended to bone, joint and soft tissue surgery that includes removal of bunions and the correction of toe deformity and ankle instability.
Podiatrists are often independent professionals who adjust to working within various different clinical environments.
Podiatry may benefit the following physical and mental conditions:
Your initial consultation may last between 45 to 60 minutes. Your podiatrist will explain how many sessions you will need after the first appointment. At the start of the session they will ask you about any previous injuries, accidents along with other relevant medical and lifestyle details. You can expect your skin and nails to be checked for discoloration, hydration and signs of wounds, infections or any growths. In addition, they may examine the nerves in your legs and feet by checking reflexes and how well you react to certain types of sensation applied to areas around your feet. The physician may gently squeeze the joints of your foot and move them to see if the motion is restricted or painful in any way. In addition, x-rays, MRI scans or ultrasound tests may be arranged depending on the nature of your condition. Depending on the nature of the skin growth or tumour, a biopsy could be needed. This can involve either a simple needle aspiration or an open surgical method. Podiatrists treat conditions in a number of different ways including drug prescription, ordering physical therapy, setting fractures and performing surgery. They are also commonly known to fit corrective shoe inserts called orthotics, design plaster casts and strappings to correct deformities and design custom-made shoes. To aid the design of the orthotics, a computer is used to ‘read’ your feet, by the individual walking over a plate, connected to the computer. The reading highlights the individual’s distribution of weight and pressure points, from the results the podiatrist can modify the design or propose alternative treatment. Orthotics can be very effective as they realign the ankle and leg as a whole to alleviate pressure and pain.
At the initial appointment the podiatrist will advise you on how many sessions may be needed. However most conditions may only need the initial consultation, then recommendation for minor surgery
The benefits of podiatry are recognized throughout the healthcare profession, being utilized by the young and old, as podiatry has been proven to be a safe therapy. It is wise to carry out some research and select a specialist who is either a member of, or accredited by, an association or professional body such as Podiatry New Zealand (PNZ). Podiatrists are obligated to a code of ethics and procedure that determines the therapy is carried out in a suitable and safe environment. These regulations also guarantee a specialist who has undergone certifiable training and receives professional upskilling.
The Wellness Directory provides a ready-made referral list of certified Podiatry Practitioners within your region. We fully encourage you to do some independent research by checking out individual credentials, i.e. experience, training, qualifications, relevant client feedback and so forth.
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