Before you find a podiatrist, you need to learn a bit more about podiatry. It is a medical specialty dealing with the study, diagnosis and treatment of the disorders and injuries of the foot, ankle and lower leg. Doctors and practitioners who specialize in podiatry are called podiatrists. Podiatrists deal with such issues as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, Morton’s Neuroma, flat foot, diabetes foot care, hammertoes, heel pain, plantar warts, infections, arthritis and more.
In the USA, a podiatric physician’s training includes four years of premedical training followed by four years of podiatric studies at medical school. They receive a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree, D.P.M.
In Canada, there are some US trained D.P.M’s as well, but when trying to find a podiatrist, you may actually discover a chiropodist instead. The names are interchangeable in Canada. Chiropodists/Podiatrists have a three or four year program in foot care, but are not physicians and do not do surgery or deal with strong prescription medication. Though many of them have excellent training for the services they provide, some in the Canadian medical community object to their use of “Dr.” in front of their name because the nature of their training is not the same as that of actual physicians.
Where Do I Look to Find a Podiatrist?
If you are experiencing foot pain and need to find a podiatrist there are several places to look. First of all, speak with your primary care physician. They may have a podiatrist they recommend that they can refer you to. Ask family, friends or co-workers who may have seen one in the past. Check out the yellow pages or ask at your local hospital. The internet can also be a great resource to find a podiatrist. Most provinces or states have a website that outlines the podiatrists working in each city.
When searching to find a podiatrist you may also want to check with your insurance company. Not only should they have a list of podiatrists, but you may only be covered with certain podiatrists, or by individuals with a specific kind of podiatry training.
I Found a Podiatrist, Now What?
After your search to find a podiatrist has been successful and you make an appointment, make sure you are comfortable with your podiatrist and don’t be afraid to ask questions about their experience or your condition. If you find a good podiatrist, he or she will take time to explain your diagnosis, listen to your concerns and treat you with respect….and hopefully he or she will also alleviate your foot problem so you can continue to do the things you like to do!
Podiatrists and Foot Orthotics
Podiatrists are one of the primary caregivers who offer custom foot orthotics as a treatment option. They may refer their patients to a pedorthist for evaluation, or evaluate the patient themselves and send the evaluation to a pedorthist / pedorthic lab to manufacture the foot orthotics for them.
The other option would be to find an appropriate over the counter foot orthotic to serve their patients. This is a much less expensive option and can be just as effective as custom treatment in many cases…though there are some feet that cannot be helped without a custom product. If using an over the counter device, find one that is customized for your specific condition or area of pain.
More info here: https://fromthefeetup.com.au/podiatry/