Podiatry is a medical specialty focused on the feet and ankles. It is sometimes confused with orthopedic surgery, but podiatrists are specialized in treating less severe conditions of the foot and ankle, as well as providing preventive care.
Podiatrists are licensed physicians who create and implement treatment plans for patients with various conditions of the foot, heel, ankle, toes and related structures. They also diagnose and treat diseases of the skin and nails of the foot and ankle, and can perform minor surgical procedures like removing ingrown toenails, corns and calluses. They are also qualified to diagnose and manage chronic foot problems such as diabetes, neuropathy, vascular disease, and arthritis.
After completing podiatric medicine school, podiatrists are required to undergo a 3-year residency in a hospital to get hands-on experience in treating the feet and ankles, including sprains, fractures, infections and other issues. During their residency, podiatrists work with doctors from other fields such as anesthesiologists, surgeons and pediatricians. Podiatrists can further pursue advanced certification in the field of foot and ankle surgery.
Most states require podiatric physicians to be board certified. This is achieved through extensive clinical training, surgical experience and passing rigorous examinations. Podiatric physicians are trained to use advanced technologies and equipment such as radiology, lasers, stethoscopes, and surgical instruments. They also have an understanding of how the feet and legs interact with each other, which helps them diagnose and treat problems such as plantar fasciitis and bunions.
The first visit to a podiatrist is much like visiting any other doctor. The podiatry Bondi Junction will take a full history of the patient, as well as check for any signs of infection or damage to the foot. They will then examine the foot and ankle, looking at the movement of the joints and the quality of the skin.
During the consultation, the podiatrist will recommend a course of treatment for the foot or ankle problem. This may involve medication, orthotic inserts, special shoes or other forms of therapy. In some cases, the podiatrist will refer the patient for further tests or surgery.
If you are referred to a podiatrist by your general practitioner, the Medicare scheme usually covers some or all of the expenses, depending on the type of procedure and the state of your health. The cost of seeing a podiatrist varies from practice to practice, and it is important that you understand what the costs will be before making an appointment. You should also prepare for your appointment by bringing soft, loose clothing to wear and having a change of footwear at hand, as dressing can aggravate the condition of your foot. Depending on your situation, you may also be eligible for financial assistance from your private health insurance company. For more information about this, speak to your insurer.