A podiatrist during their three years of training follow an extensive learning journey, as well as completing 1000 hours of clinical hands on patient care. They become proficient in anatomy from blood vessels, nerves and bones to muscles, tendons and ligaments. They learn about all of the body systems and what can wrong with them from disease to injury as well as all of the medications that are used to treat them. Everything lower limb is then specialised in from genetic conditions to acquired disorders such as diabetes to sports injuries. They can perform minor surgical procedures with the administration of Local Anesthetics and sell and supply certain regulated medications. As well as all of this they look at the way people walk (known as gait) and can assess any issues which may be causing pain from the feet up, as sometimes our gait can cause pain or discomfort in our knees, hips, shoulders and back. A treatment can be put in place from stretches to orthotics (A specially manufactured insole to place in the shoes). A lot of Podiatrists also go on to specialise in certain areas and become Extended Scope Podiatrists which can involve Wound care, Dermatology, Muskeloskeletal, Rhuematology and Surgery to name but a few.
How does a Podiatrist differ from a Footcare Practioner?
A footcare practitioner will touch on some of the learning that a podiatrist undertakes however not in such great depth. They will have a practical element to their training usually equivalent to two weeks hands on patient care before qualifying. They can do extra post training learning to upskill their knowledge and are usually listed on a Footcare/ Foot Health Practitioners register however they cannot be HCPC registered or work as an Allied Healthcare Professional. They very often deal with routine footcare and refer on to a podiatrist when something is out of their scope of practice.