What is a Podiatrist?

Although we know podiatry relates to the care of feet many people are actually unaware of what a podiatrist is or what they actually do.

A podiatrist is a specially trained health care professional who practices within an area of medicine called podiatry. Podiatry diagnoses, treats and studies problems with the foot, ankle and related parts of the leg. A podiatrist can specialize in specific areas such as child health, aged care, surgery or sports medicine. It is not considered a form of alternative medicine instead it is well established in mainstream medicine.

Foot healthPodiatrists complete medical training that is equal to other health care professionals such as physiotherapists. They treat foot related birth defects, like club foot, and developmental foot problems in children. It is suggested diabetics see a podiatrist for the prevention and treatment of foot problems commonly associated with diabetes. Podiatrists also treat injuries, something commonly seen in professional athletes. Finally they also deal with common problems such as fungal infections, foot warts, bunions, ingrown toenails, hammertoes and heel pain. The specific medical problems an individual podiatrist will work with will depend greatly on their area of speciality. A podiatrist specializing in pediatrics, such as, will probably see many developmental and birth defects but few bunions. A sports podiatrist will see many injuries.

Although I have never needed to see a podiatrist myself many of my family members have because of problems related to age and diabetes. They have found their podiatrist to have helped them greatly, especially in regards to the relief of pain related to their foot problems.

As with any medical field there are good and bad healthcare professionals. To find a registered podiatrist your national podiatry association is a good place to start. Your doctor often knows of good podiatrists in your local area.

To find out more about podiatrists have a look at:

Top 10 Foot Problems Treated by Podiatrists

Photo: ‘Big Foot’ by gingerninjah Flickr. Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)