What is a Podiatrist?
A Podiatrist is a health professional who deals with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of medical and surgical conditions of the feet and lower limbs.
They are registered with Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and are University educated.
What does a Podiatrist do?
Podiatrists diagnose and treat both common and more rare skin and nail pathologies of the feet. Podiatrists play an important role in maintaining the mobility of many elderly and disabled people, and others. This achieved through the ongoing monitoring of foot health, in particular of those with circulation problems and diabetes. Podiatrists are recognised as important members of the health care team in preventing and managing lower limb complications for those living with diabetes.
A basic area of foot care undertaken by podiatrists is the treatment of various acute and chronic nail conditions, the treatment of which depends on the pathology. Podiatrists have specific instrumentation for painless and effective treatment of these conditions. For example, the surgical correction of chronically ingrown tow nails under local anaesthesia is a common podiatric procedure.
Treatment and prevention of corns, calluses and warts are also common podiatric procedures.
As systemic diseases such as arthritis affect the joints in the foot, podiatrists monitor feet for any degenerative changes. The effects of these diseases and the medications often used in their treatment can predispose sufferers to circulatory pathology and/or peripheral neuropathies. This can result in nail and skin lesions, deformity of the feet and the increased incidence of ulceration.
The multiplicity of possible causes and complications demands a comprehensive method of examination in order to establish a sound diagnosis as a basis of treatment. The podiatrist’s role entails much more than merely attaching a label to a condition. It often includes the monitoring of circulation and neurological examination, using methods such as Doppler assessment and motor and sensory tests.
The manufacture of palliative and functional orthoses also aids in the prevention and treatment of pressure lesions or deformities, enabling individuals to maintain a more normal, active lifestyle.
In treating chronic foot pain, and evaluating specific needs of patients, the podiatrist will often assess the anatomy and function of the foot and lower limbs during gait. This assessment of the shape and motion of the limb allows for an effective diagnosis of the cause of injuries and/or the development of deformities.
The analysis of the function of human motion is called biomechanics. Podiatrists perform clinical biomechanical evaluation of the lower limb. Specialised equipment, including mechanized treadmills with video and computerized assessment equipment, are often used by podiatrists to detect pathomechanical anomalies to ensure appropriate and effective treatment. This treatment may include specific exercises and the prescription of foot orthoses, from precise measurements of an individual’s biomechanics.
Any sport which involves walking, running, standing or jumping places greater physical demands on our body than normal day-to-day activities. Injuries to the foot and lower limb make up a large proportion of sporting injuries. Podiatrists examine the foot and lower limb, have a knowledge of the biomechanics of athletic movement, diagnose foot conditions and can recommend appropriate footwear, training regimens, and, if needed, orthotic devices to fit into the sports shoe. Common sporting injuries include plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, stress fractures, ankle sprains and shin or knee pain.
Do I need a referral to see a Podiatrist at Lakeside Podiatry?
No, you do not need a referral to see a Podiatrist at Lakeside Podiatry. On the spot private health fund claiming is available via our Tyro/HealthPoint terminal.
Lakeside Podiatry provides rebatable services under the Medicare scheme, an eligibility specific referral from your General Practitioner is required.
Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), WorkCover and TAC clients will need a referral from their GP.
What should I bring to my appointment?
Depending on the nature of your presenting complaint, you may need to bring along some items to the consultation.
For example, if you have had past history of foot and ankle pain and have had x-rays, been fitted with orthotic devices previously or have medical reports that describe your condition, these will all be of benefit to your treating podiatrist. If you have a referral from your General Practitioner, Medical Specialist or Allied Health Practitioner then you need to bring this along.
Referral letter and/or medical reports
Private health fund card
X-rays, ultrasounds, CT and MRI scans
Old footwear that may have specific wear patterns
A selection of your regular footwear
Appropriate clothing for foot and lower limb assessment