The lower limbs are one of the most battered parts of the body. Just imagine walking around with them, running, hopping, and standing for lengthy hours of the day bearing the entire weight of your body. If your feet were weak, do you think you will still be able to move around as freely as you would like? This is one of the overriding reasons why there is such a profession as podiatry. The members of the podiatric profession, like those in the podiatrist association in US and other countries like Australia and the UK, are more than committed to generate public awareness on the need to care for the feet as much as you care for other parts of your body.
What is Podiatry?
In the health sciences profession, podiatry describes a body of knowledge that concerns itself about anything and everything feet. This includes the assessment and diagnosis of problems of the feet, the ankles, and the lower extremities. It is also focused on the planning and implementation of appropriate medical, surgical, and non-medical-surgical treatment and rehabilitation interventions so that the entire integrity of the feet and its associated structures are maintained.
In Australia, there are quite a handful of podiatry clinics for a wide variety of lower extremity needs. Visiting My Podiatrist Melbourne FB page will reveal that they offer general foot care as well as care for the nails and the lower legs. They even have specialty foot care for diabetics as well as ballet dancers and athletes. The latter two need to have their feet and lower legs in optimum shape simply because their performance greatly depends on these.
What you need to understand is if there is any issue with your feet – be it bunions or even calluses and warts – a professional and duly certified podiatrist is all you will ever need.
How Can Podiatrist Help?
Each country has its own national association of podiatric professionals. In Australia, the Australian Podiatry Council requires that all of the podiatric professionals in the country are able to provide holistic care for the feet and the lower extremities. As such, Australian podiatrists are expected to provide the following treatments.
- Treatment of bone and joint problems of the feet and the lower limbs which may include arthritis, fractures, and sprains
- Treatment of muscular and soft tissue disorders of the lower extremities brought about by problems in circulation as well as neurological conditions
- Treatment of disease complications like corns, ingrown toenails, calluses, bunions, warts, and other skin and nail conditions
- Treatment of infections to the lower extremities
- Treatment of foot injuries and other traumatic conditions to the lower feet.
Additionally, being members of the healthcare profession, podiatrists are required to employ a systematic approach to the identification of lower limb-related problems and the determination of the most appropriate therapeutic regimen to ensure the best possible patient outcomes.
This means that the podiatrist will often have to obtain a very thorough history about how you have taken care of your feet ever since you began using them. This includes a review of your daily activities, foot hygiene, and the choice of footwear. Gait analysis will be often included in the assessment in order to identify any potential issues when it comes to stability of movement. In gait analysis, the podiatrist will examine the range of motion of the joints of your feet, the alignment of your posture, and the impact of forces and pressures on your feet. This is needed in order to obtain a very comprehensive understanding of the health status of your feet and lower limbs.
Podiatry and Orthoses
Perhaps one of the most recognizable products associated with podiatrists will be orthoses or orthotic devices. These are shoe inserts that are designed to improve the distribution of pressure on the soles of your feet. Orthoses are individually-designed to make sure that they fit the natural shape and contours of your feet. This is needed to help treat chronic knee pain, recurrent ankle sprain, stress fractures, and tendonitis by providing constant and consistent realignment of the weight-bearing properties of the feet. Orthotic devices are also effective in the long-term prevention of necrotic ulcerations, calluses, and corns. This guarantees that you will never have to complain about pain in your legs or feet ever again.
Podiatrists are as important as cardiologists, neurologists, diabetologists, allergologists, and other medical specialists. You just have to realize that they specialize in that part of your body that takes your entire weight. So, you better care for it as much as you care for your heart.
When pain is felt on the feet or any part on the lower limbs, you should pay attention to this immediately. Seeing a doctor, particularly a podiatrist should be the first thing to do. Treating the target problem will save you a lot of time, money and effort.