Our feet our often the most neglected and forgotten part of our body. Often it is not until they become painful that we pay them any attention. And it’s at this moment we begin to realise how much we rely on our feet for our mobility and independence – particularly when we are older.
Who are Podiatrists?
If you have a problem with your feet the most appropriate person to see is a Podiatrist. Podiatrists are health care practitioners who diagnose and treat disorders of the foot and lower leg. Conditions such as diabetes and arthritis often have associated foot problems, which may be assisted by Podiatrists. Appropriate diagnoses and treatment can help ensure your feet won’t develop any serious problems later in life. Podiatrists work as part of the overall health care team and therefore may consult with other health care practitioners when managing foot or foot related problems.
It is not necessary to obtain a referral to Podiatry unless you are registered under Veteran Affairs. Private health insurance funds cover Podiatry services under their ancillary tables.
Diabetes and Podiatry
Even though most of us are likely to have some sort of problem with our feet, people with Diabetes are potentially at greater risk of developing serious foot problems.
This is because people with Diabetes are more likely to experience reduced blood circulation and nerve degeneration in their feet and legs, causing a decreased ability to fight infection. All these factors contribute to a reduced ability to heal – even minor cuts and abrasions.
Anyone who has Diabetes is strongly advised to have their feet checked for assessment of circulation, nerve function other potential risks and advice on preventative foot care. This should be done on a regular basis or as recommended by our Podiatrist.
Children and Podiatry
“Don’t worry – they’ll grow out of it” is a common response to parents concerns about the development of their children’s feet or legs.
In some cases this can be true, however as children grow up their feet and legs undergo various stages of development. As Podiatrists we are able to advise you whether your child’s development falls within acceptable limits for their age, or if treatment may be required.
Don’t dismiss your child's consistent complaints of aches as “just growing pains”. The reason for this can sometimes be due to poor foot and leg posture. Flat feet, intoed, bow-legged and knock-knees are some of the conditions worth assessing.
Aches, strains and pains in the feet, legs, knees and even the lower back may be due to abnormal foot function. This may become particularly apparent with regular sporting activities.
Imbalances in our feet and legs that remain unnoticed during our daily activities can give rise to injuries when placed under the repeated strains of sporting activities.
It is a good idea to visit a Podiatrist before entering a sports program involving feet and legs, to make certain your body’s connection with the ground is in proper working order.
Foot orthoses and footwear
If needed, Podiatrists may prescribe orthoses (arch supports) that fit into shoes for general or sporting needs.
To be successful orthoses should be custom made for the individual usually from a plaster impression of the feet.
Orthoses are not only useful for sports people, they can also assist in abnormal gait or foot deformities that may develop during life.
Footwear can be as important as Orthoses. Correct fitting and supportive footwear (according to your foot type) is imperative for an individual's health. Consult our Podiatrist regarding advice on footwear.