Podiatrist Near Me

Podiatrist Near Me Melbourne

How to Find a Podiatrist Near Me?

  • Hi there, were you trying to find a "Podiatrist near me" in Melbourne?

    Our clinic provides a caring and friendly podiatry services for patients with all kinds of foot problems.

    To make an appointment to see our Podiatrists call or use the book online button above. 

 

What is a Podiatrist?

  • Podiatrists are medical professionals that are qualified to treat ailments of the ankle and foot. 


Whether it is diabetes, dermatology, paediatrics, or sports medicine, today’s Podiatrists can provide treatments and diagnosis for a wide variety of foot problems. Foot problems can typically be the first sign of other major problems and as a result, your Podiatrist is often the first medical practitioner to identify diseases in patients such as those that related to poor blood circulation and diabetes.

Today’s Podiatrists can do any of the following:

  • Perform minor surgeries like ingrown toenail removal;
  • Provide treatment for sports injuries related to the foot;
  • Perform biomechanic and gait assessments;
  • Prescribe & cast a range of functional orthotics;
  • Prescribe medication (requires additional qualification in Australia);
  • Administer local anaesthetics ( used during minor surgeries);
  • Refer patients for X-Rays, MRIs and other imaging for your feet;
  • Work at a public hospital; and
  • Work within a community health center.

Podiatrist

The scope of Podiatry in Australia, as stated by the Australian Podiatric Council, is dealing with rehabilitation of both medical and surgical disorders of the feet and lower limbs, the analysis of foot problems, and the prevention of foot problems.
 
Foot the most common conditions that Podiatrists treat include those caused by joint and bone disorders, such as soft tissue injuries, muscular pathologies, and soft tissue pathologies, as well as circulatory diseases and neurological diseases.  Podiatrists can also treat and diagnose complications affecting the lower limb, ingrown toenails, calluses, corns, nail disorders and skin disorders relating to your feet. 

Podiatrists provide treatment and diagnosis on foot infections and injuries sustained by playing sport, or other physical activities. Your Podiatrist can provide direct consultations, including preparation of a treatment plan, diagnosis of foot disorders, physical examinations, and a wide range of therapies.

Clinical assessment techniques are designed to obtain a diagnosis of the foot problem. Foot problem diagnosis is completed by a Podiatrist taking the following into account:

  • Medical history;
  • Clinical history;
  • Occupational factors;
  • Footwear choices and usage;
  • Lifestyle factors; and
  • Surgical techniques.

Diagnosis for patient’s foot problems often makes use of diagnostic tools like radiology. To determine a patient’s unique biomechanics, gait analysis will often be completed with the use of slow motion video cameras and a treadmill. Diagnostics can also include pressure studies, postural alignment evaluation, dynamic force studies, and range of motion studies.



In order to help assist with the prevention and treatment of corns, callouses and necrotic ulcerations, podiatry clinics require their Podiatrists use:

  • Sterilised instruments;
  • Procedures for infection control;
  • Specialist wound dressings; and
  • Pharmacological agents.

Patients also visit Podiatrists for the treatment of acute and chronic foot problems like stress fractures, ankle sprains, tendonitis and knee pain.

Foot health education is one of the most important parts of patient care. Education provided by Podiatrists should focus on the prevention of common foot problems, but also to, ensure that patients are responding to the pains they are experiencing by visiting a doctor. Podiatrists can provide talks to community groups and target specific high-risk groups to provide advice.

In order to enhance the level of healthcare, Podiatrists should maintain relationships with a number of other health practitioners like doctors, physiotherapists, osteopaths, myotherapists in order to achieve the best results for patients overall health. Podiatrists are also required to continually keep up to date with the latest Podiatry research and treatment methods by attending association seminars and training sessions.

foot doctor

Podiatrist Fees and Costs

  • Many Podiatrists do not like to advertise the prices of a podiatry consultation visit. Nor do they provide details about what’s included in the visit. They do this on the basis that they believe patients may not book an appointment up front if they know what the cost will be and this may restrict them from adding extra fees once they have visited a clinic. I don’t believe this and that is why I state all my fees upfront. If there are any extra’s like cushions or supports that you may need as part of your treatment, I will always let you know before charging you!  

 

Pivotal Podiatry Clinic Fee Schedule

Initial Appointment (45mins)

$90

Follow-Up Appointment (30mins)

$75

Biomechanical Running Assessment (45mins)

$90

Custom Orthotics Prescription

$700


In general, the initial 45-minute visit is $90, with standard appointments running $75.  Custom orthotic visits generally cost $700, not including consultations.  Some insurance companies in Australia include coverage for podiatry visits.  The patient should check with their insurance company to see if they have coverage for podiatry visits. 

If you would like to see our Podiatrists about your foot problems, please call (03) 9939 3339. Find a Foot Doctor/Podiatrist near me!


These are the most common questions patients ask me when trying to understand the podiatrist’s fees:

 

  1. How much does a first podiatry treatment cost? 
    The answer is that the first podiatry visit is up to 45 minutes long. It includes the assessment of the patient, the treatment plan, and, of course, the treatment. The fee includes dressings, strapping, or temporary padding. Your podiatrist doesn’t want to rush the patient or brush them aside. They will talk to you about your treatment needs, especially if you have a complicated condition. They will try to entirely evaluate their foot concerns and will talk to the patient about a treatment plan and a possible need for subsequent visits, especially if the patient has a complicated condition. They try to address the patient’s issues at the first visit
     

  2. How much are subsequent podiatrist visits? 
    The answer is that these are 20-30 minutes in length. Follow up visits are for reviewing x-rays and treating the problem further.  There may be dressings, strapping, temporary padding included in the cost, which averages about $75.00. After you have become a new patient, the Podiatrist should waive the initial visit fee as you are now an ongoing patient.

     
  3. How much do orthotics cost? 
    This varies a lot within the Podiatry industry in Australia. I’ve seen anywhere from $700 to $1,200 for a pair of custom orthotics. Pivotal Podiatry Clinic charges $700 for custom orthotics. This includes any follow-up consultations, but you will still have to pay a $90 fee for the initial biomechanical assessment consultation. You can read my full article on Pivotal Podiatry's orthotics costs here.

     
  4. Are soft orthotics better than hard orthotics?
    The answer is that both hard and soft orthotics treat the same kinds of foot pain; however, soft orthotics are more comfortable. Whether the patient gets soft or hard orthotics depends on their particular problem. As a rule, hard orthotics last longer than soft ones and while hard orthotics are generally more expensive, they may be cheaper in the long run. What patients want in an orthotic that addresses the issue the patient has been diagnosed with, fits in the style of shoe the patient is wearing, and one that is comfortable. Orthotics can be expensive, especially those that are custom made.
     
  5. Is Podiatry Covered by my Private Health Insurance?

The answer depends on which health insurance provider you use and what level of cover you are paying for. Podiatry seems to be covered in the higher end extras packages in Australian insurance providers. Please call our clinic to obtain the health insurance numbers for your visit, so you can call your provider to determine if you get any money back on Podiatry services.

 

 

Podiatrist in Australia

  • Podiatry in Australia is a field of medicine that is considered an allied health profession. Podiatry is practised by individuals that have been licensed by the Podiatry Board of Australia.


Although this classification is a little strange because it doesn’t have much in common with the allied health professionals group. As described in the Health Insurance Act 1973, Podiatry is one of the only 3 professions that can give patient’s injections. Podiatrists are the only ones that can perform surgery on patients, therefore the scope of Podiatry seems to eclipses the other allied health professionals. All health professionals in Australia include Audiology, Social Workers, Diabetes Educators, Sonographers, Dietitians, Sports Scientists, Speech Pathology & Prosthetics. 

 


Qualifications in Australia

There are 8 different teaching centres (such as the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand) that have 2 levels of awards, such as the Master of Podiatric Practice by La Trobe and the master-level postgraduate Doctor of Podiatric Medicine given through the University of Western Australia.

In Australia, there are 2 levels of professional privileges and professional accreditation.  There is currently lobbying for the other specialities to be recognised in Australia, including sports podiatry, musculoskeletal problems, diabetes, and paediatric podiatry. Australian podiatrists are able to practice out of the country with their qualifications in certain Commonwealth countries. 

Many podiatrists in Australia do generally use the title “doctor”, which is an appropriate use for the professional standing and advertising regulations. The word “doctor” is not a protected title and its use is not restricted in Australia.  It may be used by any health care professional regulated under AHPRA. There are guidelines that advertise for regulated health services that were developed by the National Boards under section 39 of the National Law. Section 133 of the National Law is what controls advertising of regulated health services. 

Australian Podiatrists need to register with the Podiatry Board of Australia.  The Podiatry Board of Australia has the responsibility for recognition of and regulation of Podiatrists and Podiatric Surgeons, and evaluating foreign trained registrants together with the Australian and New Zealand Podiatry Accreditation Council (ANZPAC). 

Podiatrists from Australia need to register with the Podiatry Board of Australia.  This organisation is responsible for the recognition and regulation of Podiatric Surgeons and Podiatrists.  They also evaluate foreign-born trained registrations together with the Australian and New Zealand Podiatry Accreditation Council.

The Podiatric Board of Australia recognizes three different pathways to becoming registered as a Podiatric Surgeon:

  • Eligibility for Fellowship of the Australasian College of Podiatric Surgeons
  • Doctor of Clinical Podiatry at the University of Western Australia
  • Fellowship of Australasian College of Podiatric Surgeons
     

Education and Training of Podiatrists in Australia

  • To gain entry into an undergraduate program in Podiatric Medicine, the student must complete a Year 12 Certificate with an Australia Tertiary Administration Rank. The minimum scores required from University to gain entry into Podiatry course usually range from 70.00 to 95.00, depending on the intake and popularity of each podiatric medical university.
     

Australian podiatrists must finish an undergraduate degree ranging from 3-4 years of education. The first two years of this education program are usually focused on different biomechanical science subjects, including patient psychology, sociology, evidence-based medicine, pharmacology, pathophysiology, biochemistry, microbiology, and functional anatomy, similar to what medical students take. Foot Specialist near me.
 

The following year will be spent focusing on podiatry-specific medicine, such as Podiatric anatomy, suturing, enucleation, debridement, surgical procedural techniques, anesthesia, sports medicine, pharmacology, neurology, neuroscience, wound care, mental health, vascular medicine, diabetes, and rheumatology.
 

Australian podiatrists are specialised healthcare providers. Podiatrists who wish to specialise in podiatric surgery and must meet the requirements for Fellowship with the Australasian College of Podiatric Surgeons.  They need to finish a four-year degree, which includes two years of clinical experience, and two years of didactic study.  After this, the podiatrist must finish a master’s degree with a focus on clinical pathology, advanced medical imaging, advanced pharmacology, general surgery, podiatric surgery, medicine and biomechanics. 
 

Then they qualify for the status of Registrar with the Australasian College of Podiatric Surgeons.  After surgical training with a real podiatric surgeon, they need to take rotations with other surgeons and medical doctors, take an overseas clinical rotation, and pass a written and oral written examination.  Fellows are then given Commonwealth accreditation under the Health Insurance Act in order to be recognised as providers of professional health care in order to get health insurance rebates.
 

 

Australian Podiatric Medical Schools

There are 9 universities in Australia and New Zealand that offer varying degrees of podiatric medicine programs, such as a:

  • Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM);
  • Masters of Podiatric Medicine (MPod); and
  • Bachelor of Podiatric Medicine/Podiatry (BPod).
     

All podiatry schools need to be accredited by the New Zealand and Australian Podiatry Accreditation Council (ANZPAC). ANZPAC is an independent body made up of members of the Podiatry Registration Boards in New Zealand and Australia.
 

The Board of Management is made up of registered podiatrists (nominated by the Registration Boards), Podiatry New Zealand, and the Australasian Podiatry Council).  ANZPAC has been designated as one of the major accredited functions in Australia. It works under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for Health Professions.  There are also 2 additional podiatric schools being developed for the University of Ballarat and the Australian Catholic University.
 

Prescribing of Scheduled Mediations and Referral Rights

There is a lot of variation between territory laws regarding the ability to prescribe scheduled medications by Australian podiatrists. While all registered podiatrists in each territory are able to use local anaesthesia for minor surgical procedures, some territories allow qualified podiatrists more privileges.  Recent legal changes allow for registered podiatric surgeons and podiatrists with support from organisations in New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland, Western Australia, and Victoria. 
 

Podiatrists can prescribe schedule 4 medications in territories such as South Australia and Western Australia.  Those with Master’s degrees in Podiatry and who have significant training in pharmacology can be authorised to prescribe all schedules of drugs.  In Queensland, fellows of the Australasian College of Podiatric surgeons are able to prescribe a range of Schedule 8 and Schedule 4 medications for the treatment of conditions of the foot. 
 

All podiatrists can refer patients for x-rays of femur, leg, and foot.  They can also do ultrasound tests on the patient.  They are able to treat soft tissue conditions of the feet.  Podiatrists can also refer their patients for CT testing, bone scans, or MRI; however, Medicare rebates don’t exist for these types of exams.  In the same way, podiatrists can refer patients when they need to see a specialist health care provider.  They can also refer the patient for pathology testing. 
 

Are Podiatrists Board Certified?

Podiatrists can earn board certification with advanced training and clinical experience.  They need to take the board exam.  The patient needs to look for the DPM after the podiatrist’s name.  Feet are complicated anatomical structures, propulsion engines, shock absorbers, and stabilisers for the body. They are essential for well-being and overall health.   They need the care of experts. Make sure you are seeing the most qualified podiatrist to treat your feet.  The DPM means that a doctor has completed years of leg, ankle and foot training in a hospital-based residency training or has trained in a podiatric medical school. 
 

 

What qualifications are needed to become a Podiatrist in Australia?

To become a podiatrist in Australia, you must first finish a Bachelor of Podiatry. Postgraduate education, including PhD level, Master’s degree level, or Graduate Diploma allows the courses to take courses. Qualifications may result in expertise in sports medicine, podiatric surgery, and diabetic care. 
 

Every podiatrist needs to be registered before they can practice in Australia.  On July 1st of 2010, Australia’s first national registration scheme came into being, under the sponsorship of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). 
 

The following universities offering podiatry are:

  1. Auckland University of Technology
  2. Southern Cross University
  3. Central Queensland University
  4. Queensland University of Technology
  5. University of Newcastle in Australia
  6. University of Western Sydney
  7. La Trobe University
  8. Charles Sturt University
  9. University of Western Australia
     

Accreditation to be a Po diatrist in Australia

The list below has some of the programs of study approved by the Podiatry:

  1. Programs of Study in therapeutics that are the same as an approved study
  2. Approved programs of Study for endorsement
  3. Approved Programs for special registration
  4. Approved Programs of general Interest

 

Programs of study that are classified as “inactive” are not included.  Searching the Web for available inactive programs will not yield any results.

 

Australian Podiatry Accreditation Standards

The Australian and New Zealand Podiatric Accreditation Counsel (ANZPAC) does the accrediting for all podiatrists.  They are responsible for authorizing programs of study and educating providers for the profession of podiatry.  Approved accreditation standards are utilized whether a program of study provides individuals who finish the program with the professional attributes to become a podiatrist. The standards take effect on the first day that they are published on the Podiatry board of Australia’s website. 

The board approved revised standards for accreditation for podiatry programs for New Zealand and Austria on 22 April 2015.  These accreditations were first published on the board’s new website on 9 June 2015. The standards for accreditation took effect on 7 June 2012. 
 

Approved courses and education providers to be a “Podiatrist”

The approved courses and education providers in order to become a “Podiatrist” include the following:

  • Auckland University of Technology (link). This program offers a Bachelor of Health Science in Podiatry.  It is located in New Zealand at the North Shore Campus.  In the end, the individual becomes a podiatrist.
     
  • Central Queensland University (link). This program offers a Bachelor of Podiatric Practice.  It is located in QLD in Rockhampton. At the end of the program, the individual can be a podiatrist. It is a 4-year program. 
  • Charles Sturt University (link). This program offers a Bachelor of Podiatric Medicine.  It is located in Australia.  After that, the individual has a podiatrist’s degree.
  • Charles Sturt University (link). This program offers a Bachelor of Podiatry.  It is located in the state of NSW, located on the Albury-Wodonga campus.  At the end of the program, the individual becomes a podiatrist.
  • La Trobe University (link). This program offers a Bachelor of Applied Science and a Master of Podiatric.  It is Located in the state of VIC.  After completing the program, the individual can be a podiatrist or get a Master’s Degree.  The length of the program is 4 FT.
  • La Trobe University (link).  This program offers a Bachelor of Health Science and a Master of Podiatric Practice.  It is located in the state of VIC at the Bundoora and Bendigo campuses.  Upon the completion of the program, the individual can become a Podiatrist or get a Master’s Degree. The length of the course is 4FT. 
  • La Trobe University (link).  This program offers a Master of Podiatric Practice degree.  It is located in the Bundoora and Bendigo.  After completing their course work, the individual can become a podiatrist or get a Master’s degree. The length of the course is 2 FT. 
  • Queensland University of Technology (link). This program offers a Bachelor of Podiatry degree.  It is located in the state of QLD on the campus of Kelvin Grove.  At the completion of the coursework, the individual can be a podiatrist.
  • Southern Cross University (link). This program offers a Bachelor of Podiatry degree.  It is located in the state of QLD on the Gold Coast campus.  The length of the program is 4 years, after which the individual can be called a podiatrist.
  • University of Western Australia (link). This program offers a Bachelor of Podiatric medicine degree.  It is located in the state of WA and the Crawley Campus.  After the completion of the program, the individual is a podiatrist.  The length of the program is 4 FT.
  • The University of Western Australia (link). This program offers a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree.  The program is located in the state of WA at the Crawly Campus.
  • University of Newcastle (link).  This program offers a Bachelor of Podiatry Degree.  It is located in the state of NSW on the Central Coast campus.  After completing the program, the individual is a podiatrist.  The length of the program is 3 FT.
  • University of South Australia (link).  This program offers a Bachelor of Podiatry degree. After completion of the program, the individual can be called a podiatrist.  It is located in the state of SA on the City East Campus.  The length of the program is 4 FT. 
  • University of Western Sydney (link).  This program offers a Bachelor of Health Science and a Master of Podiatric Medicine degree. It located in the stage of Campbelltown. Upon completion of the program, the individual can be a Podiatrist or have a Master’s degree. 
  • University of Western Sydney (link). This program offers a Bachelor of Podiatric Medicine degree.  It is located in the state of WA.  After completion of the program, the individual can be known as a chiropractor. The length of the program is 4 years. 
     

Podiatrists Salary in Australia. 

  • The salary of a Podiatrist will depend on whether they are working in the private or public sector.

Private Sector Podiatrist Salaries – Typically Podiatrists in private practices will be paid a percentage of the patients that they see during a week. The percentage varies between 30% and 50% depending on the level of experience and skills. Permanent positions do exist, but they are becoming less and less common in Australian private podiatry practices. The annual salary of a private clinic Podiatrist is between $75-110k per year but depends largely on patient load and agreed percentage. 

Public Sector Podiatrist Salaries – There are three different types of public sector Podiatrists in Victoria; Podiatrist (3 Grades), Deputy Chief Podiatrist and Chief Podiatrist (5 Grades). The annual salary of a public hospital Podiatrist is between $50-$130k.

This section should give you a better understanding of Podiatrists Salary Australia.


History of Podiatry

The history of Podiatrists dates back to ancient Egypt. There were bas-relief carvings near Ankmahor’s burial site that date back to about 2400 BCE. The bas-relief carvings showed someone working on the foot and hands of another person. There have been records from the King of France that employed a Podiatrist. Napoleon did the same thing. In the US, President Abe Lincoln had big problems with his feet and had a chiropodist treat him. He even sent his chiropodist to work on the soldiers in the Civil War. Corns and calluses were first identified and written about by Hippocrates. He saw the need to reduce hard skin on the feet and figured out a way to get rid of them. He invented a type of skin scraper to reduce the hard skin on the feet.  These were the origin of scalpels.

Until the turn of the 20th Century, Podiatrists were called Chiropodists. They were completely separate from other medical professionals. Instead, they acted independently as licensed physicians who treated leg structures, ankles, and the feet.

Podiatry origins in Australia are traced back to 1843 when it was known as "Chiropody".

 

The History of Podiatry in New South Wales

An advertisement appearing in the Sydney Morning Herald (4 January 1862) was the first known record of a full-time Podiatrist operating in New South Wales.

An attempt to organise podiatrists began in 1924. However by 1927 this organisation had disbanded and another organisation was started, called the Australian Institute of Podology of NSW. This was started in a foot clinic in Oxford Street Sydney. The first College of Podiatry of NSW began in 1932.  It treated people for more than twenty years before it disbanded, as well.

In October of 1934, another organisation of practitioners was inaugurated. The Incorporated Institute of Chiropodists (NSW) got their certificate of incorporation on 11 March 1936. In 1940 there were 3 Chiropodists organisations operating in NSW:

  • the Pharmaceutical Chiropodists Society;
  • the College of Podiatry;
  •  and the Incorporated Institute.

In 1946, another group was established, called the Australian Guild of Chiropodists. They started a new clinic in Redfern. About 2 years after that, the group merged with the College of Podiatry and the Society of Pharmaceutical Chiropodists. This was named the Society of Chiropodists.

 

The Institute was then merged with the Society of Podiatrists to form the Australian Chiropody Association (NSW), which was finished when the Governor in Board allowed them to change the name on 3 May 1955.  The Chiropodists Registration Act was proclaimed on 1 November 1962. 

 

In 1945, full-time teaching of Podiatry to students was started by a couple of private schools including the College of Podiatry. Previously only part time Podiatrist education had existed. By the beginning of 1947, the Guild worked as a training school, starting with a clinic at Redfern.  This was eventually closed after it merged with the Institute. All training of Podiatrists was continued until 1975 when the Sydney Technical College started its first course.
 

During September 1976 the board decided to change its name from the “Australian Chiropody Association” to the “Australian Podiatry Association”, which began in February 1978 at a meeting where the amendments to the articles of Association were approved. The name change, to Australian Podiatry Association, was registered in May 1978.  Before this, the Registration Board had taken individual applications so that practitioners could use the title “Podiatrists” as of 1974.

 

Podiatrist versus a Chiropodist

  • Podiatrists and chiropodists both treat and assess diseases of the lower limb. They are both qualified to treat people with sports injuries, nail surgery, diabetes, and arthritis. They deal with patients of all ages but they play an especially important role in helping the elderly learn how to stay more independent and mobile. 
     

In Australia, there isn’t any difference between the words “podiatrist” and “chiropodist”. In most other English-speaking countries, on the other hand, only the word “Podiatrist” is used and this means the individual is a completely trained professional. Sometimes Podiatrists are referred to as Foot Doctors. 


 

Most common foot problems that Podiatrist treat

The top ten most common foot problems that podiatrists treat include the following:

  • Bunions,  is a thickening at the base of the big toe caused by malalignment of the joint.  It may be painful, tender, and swollen when the patient wears certain kinds of shoes.  Bunions are caused by things such as congenital anomalies, trauma to the foot, inflammatory joint disease, neuromuscular disorders, biomechanical abnormalities, or heredity.  The podiatrist generally looks at the bunion, does an x-ray of the affected feet, pads or tapes the bunions makes an orthotic for the patient or does surgery to correct the bunion. 
     
  • Corns and Calluses, is an area of the skin that has built up at areas of pressure over the bony prominences on the foot.  Calluses are located at the bottom of the foot, while corns are located between the toes and on the top of the foot.  The cause is repetitive pressure and friction from the skin rubbing up against an irregularity in the shoe or against boney areas on the foot.   They also can be hereditary.  The podiatrist will examine the affected area, do an x-ray if necessary, trim the built up skin or pads the areas.  Surgery may sometimes be required.
     
  • Neuroma, is an extremely painful foot problem that can feel like you're standing on a rock in your shoes. This is due to a benign growth on the nerves, that typically occurs between the third and fourth toes. Neuromas can result in numbness, tingling, burning, and pain at the ball of the foot and between the toes.  The main causes of a neuroma are a poorly fitting shoe, heredity, wearing high-heeled shoes, or shoes that do not fit properly. Your Podiatrist will examine the foot and may order x-rays to make sure something else isn’t causing the problem. They may do x-rays of the foot to make sure that nothing else is causing the disease, and may tape or pad the foot. Custom orthotics may need to be performed, anti-inflammatory medications may be given, or the podiatrist may inject cortisone into the neuroma.  Sometimes surgery is necessary. 
     
  • Plantar fasciitis,  is an inflammation condition that affects the band of connective tissue that runs from the ball of the foot to the heel. Heel spur syndrome involves a bony overgrowth of the calcaneus, which is the heel bone.  Plantar fasciitis and heel spur syndrome happen more frequently in women as opposed to men. This can cause the bottom of your feet and the arch in particular to experience a lot of pain. The cause of plantar fasciitis is a stretching of the long band of connective tissue that runs form the ball of the foot and the heel, tightness of the muscles behind the leg, trauma to the foot, obesity, a bony deformity of the foot, or a muscle imbalance. Your Podiatrist will examine the foot, evaluation an x-ray, possibly prescribe custom orthotics, provide injections (cortisone injections will need to be referred to another doctor), tape the foot to see if a position change helps, and prescribe medications to ease the pain. In some cases, surgery might be necessary. 
     
  • Nail fungus, is a chronic fungal infection underneath a toenail.  If left untreated, a fungal nail infection may affect the patient’s psychological and physical well-being for a very long time.  While it is not life-threatening, the effects of this infection can spread throughout the body and turn a simple problem into a major medical issue. This is an infection. Patients with a fungal nail infection will have detachment of the nail plate from the nail bed, scaling around the affected area, nail thickening, and nail discoloration.  There are cosmetic issues around fungal nail infections; however, the fungal infection may affect the individual more deeply.  More than half of all patients with a nail fungus with have some kind of discomfort or pain.  In a study on the quality of life in patients with these infections showed that these people had a poorer quality of life than those who did not have an infection. The podiatrist will examine the nail infection and will treat it with anti-fungal agents to try and cure the infection.  They may prescribe a topical nail lacquer, foot soaks, or cream for a mild nail infection.  Oral medications are prescribed for moderate or severe fungal infections of the toes.  The podiatrist will decide which treatment is best for the patient.   
     
  • Athlete’s Foot, is an extremely common infection of the skin that shows up as redness, scaling, and itching of the foot, along with the formation of tiny blisters on the foot.  Generally, this infection starts between the toes and can go as far as the bottom and the borders of the foot. The infection is caused by a fungus that can spread to the nails of the foot, causing them to become painful, discolored, and thickened.  When it spreads to the toenails, it is called onychomycosis.  While this type of infection is common among athletes, patients need to keep in mind that it can affect normal people and not just athletes.  The cause of athlete’s foot is walking on bare feet in an area that is moist, such as a locker room floor.  People can also get it from walking barefoot in a dressing room, swimming pool dressing area, showers, and hotels.  Anywhere where bare feet come in contact with the fungus can be a source of the infection. The way to prevent athlete’s foot is to keep the shoes and socks on as much as possible and to keep them clean and dry.  The patient should practice good foot hygiene, and wear cotton or acrylic socks.  The podiatrist might treat this infection by prescribing oral or topical anti-fungal medications.  good foot hygiene.  This involves washing the foot daily with soap and water and drying the feet very carefully, particularly between the toes. The patient needs to change their shoes regularly.
     
  • Flat Feet or Fallen Arches, A flat foot is a deformity that results in a flattening of the arch.  This is generally due to hyper-pronation.  The common name for this is fallen arches.  An individual with a highly arched foot or flat foot that is painful usually needs treatment for that.  Individuals with flat feet can have other problems related to the foot, such as low back pain, hip pain, knee pain, or ankle pain.  The main causes of flat feet are musculoskeletal disorders, trauma, arthritis, and heredity. The best thing the patient should do is wear some kind of supportive shoes. Your Podiatrist will examine the foot and may take X-rays of the affected area. Custom-made orthotics usually take care of the problem; however, if the flat foot is severe, surgery may be the only option.  The surgical treatment for this condition is sinus tarsi titanium.  
     
  • Hammer Toe, t  This is a contraction deformity of the foot.  It results in a bony prominence on top of the foot or between the toes of the foot.  Hammer toes can be caused by heredity, trauma, high-heeled shoes, or improperly or poorly fitted shoes.  The patient can alleviate the problem by changing to shoes that have a lower heel, soaking and icing the affected area, or wearing shoes that have a wide toe box.  Your Podiatrist will examine the foot and might take x-rays.  He or she may recommend padding the foot or taping it. Cortisone injections may be required. In severe cases, surgery may be required.
     
  • Plantar Warts, Plantar warts are a soft tissue problem that can be extremely painful.  They are caused by a type of virus and gets into the foot by invading small abrasions or cuts in the skin.  While they can occur anywhere, they are mostly found on the bottom of the foot. It is most common in young people, such as teenagers and children.  Some people have lots or plantar warts, while others are immune to the virus.  Most of the time, plantar warts are harmless; however, they may cause pain.  Some people believe they look like calluses or corns.  It is possible that more serious problems can occur in the wart, including a melanoma.  This is quite rare, however.  Plantar warts are flat and hard, with well-defined boundaries and a roughened surface.  They are usually raised if they occur on the top of the foot, while they are just rough and flat on the bottom of the foot.  They are usually brown or gray in color, but are sometimes flesh-colored.  There are pinpoints that look black within the wart itself.  They can be tough to treat and often come back. Patients often develop plantar warts from walking barefoot on infected surfaces, like public showers and toilet blocks. They tend to thrive in moist and warm environments.  They are commonly gotten in communal bathing areas.  If they aren’t treated, they can grow to be more than an inch in diameter. They can spread to clusters of warts in various parts of the skin.  These are known as mosaic warts. They can also spread by contacting with skin shed from other warts, scratching, or touching the wart. They can even bleed if they are scratched.  They can disappear on their own or can be treated with electrocautery or cryotherapy.  If they happen on the bottom of the foot, they can cause a burning, sharp pain, especially when the weight is directly on the wart.  The best thing a patient can do to prevent a wart is to avoid going barefoot, keep the skin warm and dry, avoid contacting with others who have warts, and check the feet every once in a while.  The patient should see a podiatrist if the warts become painful.  The podiatrist will do cryotherapy on the warts and may prescribe a wart removal treatment medication to put on the foot. 

 

Children’s Foot Probl ems

Paediatrics is a speciality area of podiatry that gives emphasis to the treatment of lower leg issues in children. For children experiencing foot problems, correct paediatric care is essential in the long run because structural foot problems tend to get worse over time, eventually resulting in significant issues with gait and pain(s). By fixing early foot deformities, many chronic problems with mobility can be effectively and safely addressed, sparing the patient significant long-term discomfort and extra expenses.

Unfortunately, there are many different foot disorders that can affect children. Children’s foot issues include ingrown toe nails, skin infections, and having overly flat feet (very common and not always a ‘problem’ during the growth phases). Children’s feet are at a greater risk of injury when compared to adults. Children’s feet are more supple than adults and biomechanical abnormalities experienced as a child, can potentially cause long term damage. Sometimes children can have an unusually high pain tolerance when it comes to foot problems and parents need to be vigilant and take notice of how their child walks. One other major problem children face is poorly fitting footwear. Paediatric Podiatrists are trained specially to provide therapy to children.

 

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Dr Leah WatersWritten by Leah Waters

Leah Waters is a Melbourne Podiatrist and founder of Pivotal Podiatry Clinic. A Melbourne based Podiatry Clinic.

You can find Leah on
Google+ and Facebook. Make an appointment call (03) 9939 3339.