Podiatry

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A podiatrist

A podiatrist is a medical practitioner who specialises in the foot and ankle. Formerly known as chiropodists, they usually treat common disorders of the foot such as corns, calluses, verrucas, bunions and athlete’s foot. However, the scope of a podiatrist extends much further than this.

Biomechanics

Whilst some podiatrists complete their training and go on to provide assistance and relief for certain conditions, there is the option to become more specialised in areas such as the biomechanics of the foot and surrounding structures.

Related Ailments

Walking with a limp to compensate for pain in the foot can lead to knee, hip and back pain, as the body is forced to alter weight distribution in order to avoid further pain or discomfort. Over time, this can cause chronic problems throughout the body and the ability to move correctly becomes impaired.

Podiatry In Detail

The study of the way in which different parts of the body interact with each other is known as biomechanics, and podiatrists have a particularly important role to play. The foot represents the body’s first contact with the ground during physical activity and can offer important clues to understanding the cause of pain both in the foot and higher up the body. Gait analysis is a new technique which uses sophisticated equipment to monitor a person’s movements.

Pressure sensors and cameras track the body’s movements and analyse the amount of weight and pressure directed through the feet in order to ascertain where problems originate. Once the source of the problem has been identified, a physiotherapist can work with the client to establish a targeted exercise program or other form of treatment in order to restore the body’s natural balance.

Foot Structure

Repetitive sporting activities can twist, strain or sprain the inner structures of the foot, causing discomfort, pain and degradation of the bones, tendons and ligaments. Failure to treat the injury can cause chronic problems which can have a massive impact on the ability of a sportsperson to continue with their chosen activity.


Sporting Podiatry

The foot is subject to extreme stresses and strains as it bears the body’s entire weight when standing, walking, running and jumping. The way we walk and position our feet has a huge impact on our ability to move correctly, and therefore it is of particular importance to understand the role of the foot in most sporting activities.


Body Imbalance

Problems can also be created in the foot due to incorrect movement because of pain higher up in the body. A twisted pelvis or back pain can lead a person to put more weight down one side of the body than the other, leading to an imbalance throughout the body and additional pressure and stress on one foot. Over time, this can create symptoms of a foot problem, although the actual cause is elsewhere in the body.


Podiatrist Treatments

Where a problem is identified as being foot-related, a podiatrist can help to treat the problem through manipulation, massage and a specially devised exercise program to restore the foot to its natural state. Working in conjunction with physiotherapists, the podiatrist can help to realign the body’s weight distribution correctly and resolve issues of pain and discomfort.

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