What is a Podiatrist?
The word podiatrist is derived from an ancient Greek words of “Pod” meaning feet, and “iatrist” meaning healer. Podiatrists have been around in one way shape or form for a long time.
Previously they were known as Chiropodists. Today podiatrists are Doctors of Podiatric Medicine and have The Australian Podiatry Association to represent and provide continual professional development!
However in lay person’s language a Podiatrist can help you with any problems of your legs and foot. Now that is a broad area of care, and a Podiatrists work is generally split into two categories.
The categories are General Foot Care and Bio-mechanical issue’s. Let’s have a closer look at the General Foot Care in this article and I’ll go into the Bio-mechanical side of Podiatry in the next article.
Why your feet need a Podiatrist
Your foot, the end of your limb that gives you locomotion contains over a quarter of the bodies bones! Obviously when your foot is under that much pressure (literally and figuratively speaking) it has a huge job to do.
We have heard the messages of 10,000 steps per day. Diabetes Australia recommends that people living with this condition do at least 30 mins of exercise per day. After hearing that we obviously need to care for our feet, so let’s look at the lower limb health care experts!
Podiatrist & General Foot Care
General foot care is normally where a Podiatrist will be working with instruments on someone’s problematic foot. Now there are a lot of issue’s that can arise with people’s feet that a Podiatrist may need to tend too, such as with skin and nails.
Some of the more common issues a Podiatrist can help with is Diabetic Foot Care, Callus issues, Corns, Ingrown Toenails, Thickened Nails and Plantar Warts. Let’s have a look a little closer at these foot issues.
A Podiatrist for your Diabetic Foot Care
Diabetes Type I & II are people who generally will have a lower blood flow due to thickened blood. The change of thickness due to sugar levels in blood means people’s feet which are their furthest point away from the heart won’t get the best blood supply.
Diabetes Australia recommends that people who have diabetes have their foot checked once per year for blood and nerve supply. A podiatrist will also be a source of handy tips to help you on your journey with your condition and monitor any changes n your feet.
You can read more about Diabetes and Foot Health here.
Callus is that hard skin we will get on our feet! However why do we get it? If we go back to a basic level the skin’s job in the body is to keep all our bones and muscles together, it’s our largest organ in the body! So when the skin is put under pressure instead of breaking open, it lays down more skin.
This is where callus comes in, that area of skin will start to thicken and sometimes when the callus get’s thicker. When they get thicker, they can become dry and cracked and start to become painful or even problematic developing ulcers under some callus in some groups of people with chronic disease that don’t attend to this.
Corns can sometimes be painful little lesions on your feet. Sometimes misdiagnosed for callus or even plantar warts. Another result of pressure, along the same lines as callus.
They could possibly be from a great pair of shoes that you wanted to wear but your feet didn’t quite fit into them! Like callus, they can be painful or very painful on your feet!
There are a few different types of corns on people’s feet, however there can be one or many grouped together.
Ingrown nails are sometimes one of the most painful things a Podiatrist will look at! They usually occur on the big toe, and when a person will get one of these they will know about it!
Again, ingrown nails will mainly come from pressure on the foot. It will sometimes be a shoe that is just a little to small of our feet or sometimes even when we drop something heavy on it.
That pressure as we know in skin and nails our body likes to defend against and will push against the edge of our toe causing incredible pain. Sometimes we can also get ingrown toenails from genetic reasons, or sometimes a combination of both.
Just like skin nails are made out of the same thing, Keratin. Keratin is a fibrous structural protein. So if skin and nails are made out of the same thing, it would make sense that they behave the same way.
So, if a nail is put under pressure just like skin, it will lay down more nail to protect itself.
Again at the start of the issue, this nail under pressure may just be a little bit thicker than the rest of the nails and not be a problem. However, over time it can become painful if not looked after.
Plantar Warts on the foot can often be misdiagnosed as corns. Vastly different to corns, Plantar Warts are a strand of HPV which you can read more about here.
They can develop through small cracks in the skin which the virus can find it’s way into and lay dormant for a long time.
Usually warts will attack when your immune system is down and start to grow on your skin. They are non malignant, but can become very painful depending on the location of them.
If you have any of these problems or think you do, you can easily book to see one of our friendly Podiatrists at Your Podiatry Canberra.
- White, C. (2019). Is 10,000 steps a day enough to keep you healthy? https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2017-05-17/10000-steps-is-it-enough/8532768
- Exercise. (2019). https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/exercise
- Australian Podiatry Association – Find a podiatrist near me. (2019). https://www.podiatry.org.au/
- Human Papillomavirus. (2019). https://www.hpv.com.au/