What is Podiatry?
Podiatrists diagnose and treat both common and more rare skin and nail pathologies of the feet, playing an important role in maintaining the mobility of many elderly and disabled people, and others. This is 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. To do this, podiatrists use specific instrumentation for painless and effective treatment of these conditions. For example, the surgical correction of chronically ingrown toe nails under local anaesthesia is a common podiatric procedure. Other conditions that our podiatrist at Gladesville Healthcare treat are corns, calluses and warts.
What other conditions do we treat?
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 problems and/or peripheral neuropathies. This can result in nail and skin lesions, deformity of the feet and the increased incidence of ulceration. The range 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.
The child’s foot is not just a small-scale model of an adult foot. Its shape is not finally determined until growth ceases at the end of the second decade of life. Our podiatrists at Gladesville Healthcare are specially trained to diagnose and treat children’s foot problems by careful examination of the foot, and lower limb, where required. Advice for the prevention or reduction of foot deformity which often develops later in adult life may involve the provision of appropriate information on footwear, treatment by splinting, advice on exercises and/or orthotic control of the feet. We also treat common, chronic and acute problems of children’s feet such as osteochondroses, fasciitis and ‘flat feet’ (pes planus).
Some occupations are more prone than others to foot problems which can arise as the result of standing on hard surfaces for long periods. Hairdressers, factory workers and nurses are examples of those from professionals likely to develop long-term problems unless preventative measures are taken. Podiatrists seek to address some of the issues responsible for foot problems and can advise on occupational foot health and safety. This can sometimes involve the prescription of orthoses, or surgical advice.
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. Podiatrists perform clinical biomechanical evaluation of the lower limb using specialised equipment, including mechanized treadmills with video and computerized assessment equipment, are often used to detect mechanical 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.
Orthoses are custom-made shoe inserts made specifically to reduce a foot pathology. As already outlined, the prescription and manufacture of orthoses is an important part of podiatric practice. The podiatrists are trained in the manufacturing techniques for a diversity of shoe inserts.
Most inserts fall into two main categories – functional orthoses or palliative orthoses. The Podiatrists at Gladesville Healthcare specialise in the manufacture of the latest CAD/CAM( computer designed and manufactured)orthotic therapy. These devices are second to none and represent the latest technology and thinking in the management of biomechanical influences on foot and leg pain. Your orthotic therapy at Gladesville Healthcare forms a key component in our multi-disciplinary approach to managing your health care concerns.
Podiatrists are qualified to perform both nail and cutaneous surgery, but some have undertaken further education to perform additional foot surgery.