Podiatry is that health vocation that is concerned with the treating and prevention of disorders of the feet and related conditions. The foot is such a sophisticated structure with a lot of bones, muscles, ligaments which get confronted with all the demands from running and walking; as well as being squeezed into the dark and damp environment of the footwear that it needs a whole profession dedicated to the issues with it. The issues can range from modest skin complaints such as bunions to orthopaedic problems such as heel spurs to broken bones.
The specific scope of practice of a podiatrist will change from country to country with some places like the USA where Podiatrists have full surgical and medical rights to manage the conditions of the foot to some places in Europe where they are able to only use minimal methods to take care of superficial disorders of the skin and nails. The education needed to be a podiatrist is very different between countries. In the USA, first you need an undergrad degree, then a 4 year post graduate podiatry qualification and then a 2-3 year residency. In some places in Europe, its simply a community college one year undergrad qualification. Exactly what a podiatrist is capable of doing is determined by the extent of the education and the law.
Podiatrists are able to use a wide range of different techniques to treat conditions of the foot. This may range from a simple scraping of skin problems to foot supports for musculoskeletal problems to reconstructive surgery for fractures. What exactly is used will depend on the above scope of practice and training that the podiatrist has received. Many podiatrists will also have different special interests such a diabetes or orthopaedics and they will often be found employed in multidisciplinary groups working in those disciplines. Probably the best contribution that podiatrists make to the medical care system is in areas like diabetes where appropriate foot care and the management of foot problems result in considerable saving to the health system in the prevention of amputations.
Skin disorders can affect the feet much like on the skin anywhere on the body could be impacted. However, there are various of special aspects of the feet that impacts skin problems. First of all, there are some skin conditions that are exclusive to the feet and secondly, there are the more general skin complaints that show up different once they impact the foot. The explanation for that uniqueness is the skin on the feet are put into the dim and damp environment in the shoe and also the foot is the subject of a lot more trauma from shoe pressure and mishaps than other parts of your body. This means that skin problems which affect the feet present a number of unique concerns.
Some of the distinctive conditions that impact the foot locally are corns and calluses. These are typically because of a lot of pressure on various areas of the foot coming from inadequate fitting shoes or as a result of foot deformities like bunions and retracted toes. The help of a qualified podiatrist is usually necessary to help overcome these kinds of conditions. Fungal infections on the skin and nails are likewise very common. The bugs which causes these grows fastest in dark and also moist environments, that is the precise ecosystem that you can find inside shoes. The wearing of shoes increases the risk to these conditions and as a consequence attempting to deal with these issues can be a challenge as you are working to get rid of a fungus which likes the ecosystem which it is in. Going barefoot often may be required to help these kinds of problems as well as the typical therapies may be required when it does not respond to treatment. Blisters are also a common skin complaint which affects the foot. This is usually a footwear fitting issue put together with larger amounts of sports activity or walking a great deal in brand new shoes.
Various other skin problems which affect the rest of the body, get altered by the standing and walking of the feet as well as the pressure from the shoes. This tends to impact both the diagnosis of the issue as well as the management of the issue. For instance, the warts or verrucae which often affect the hands and fingers also frequently occur on the foot, however they pose a diagnosis difficulty as the force from standing and walking and the footwear alters the appearance of them. Psoriasis is a common skin disorder which the perspiration of the feet inside the footwear can modify the look of that skin condition which makes it more challenging to identify and it could come to be wrongly identified as a tinea. The poorer blood circulation that the feet gets as compared to other areas of the body can also affect the character of various skin disorders which affect the rest of the body.
The majority of these topics had been discussed in depth in the latest show of the podiatry relevant livestream, PodChatLive where the hosts of the show had a conversation with the podiatrist, Ivan Bristow. Ivan is generally deemed as an expert on the skin conditions in the feet and is extensively published in this subject as well as lecturing internationally.