Who are Podiatrists?

A Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) is a highly-trained specialist in care of the feet. In virtually all North American jurisdictions (including British Columbia and Alberta) podiatrists are also authorized to diagnose and treat conditions of the ankle and in a few cases the lower limb. Ontario's chiropody scope of practice, within which Ontario's podiatrists are restricted to practise, is limited to the foot and to diseases, disorders and dysfunctions of the foot. Podiatrists are often called upon by physicians and other health care professionals for consultations and treatment of foot problems that can be experienced by everyone from infants to seniors. A referral from your family physician, however, is not required to see a Podiatrist.

    Podiatrists are fully competent to diagnose and treat conditions of the foot among the geriatric population and over half of podiatrists' patients are seniors. Podiatric Care is required for many foot problems commonly experienced by seniors. These can include anything from routine palliative care of unmanageable toenails and calluses to diabetic ulcerations and infections. At this time in life, circulatory impairment, as well as degenerative joint and skin conditions are common findings. With proper care and attention to their feet, seniors may enjoy many years of pain-free foot function.

    Examination of children's feet is also an integral part of podiatry. Frequently, children have structural imbalances of the feet that may go unrecognized and can lead to other deformities and imbalances within the skeletal system. When detected early, these imbalances of the feet, some of which are related to the bone structure, are treated so that a sturdier foundation can be provided for the later years.

    Some of the Foot Ailments treated by Podiatrists


    Athlete's Foot
    Ingrown Nails


    Arch Pain
    Fallen Arches (Pronation)
    Rigid High Arches
    Muscle Cramps
    Neuroma (Nerve Tumor)
    Foot Imbalance
    Heel Pain
    Foot Fractures
    Sports Related Disorders


    Ingrown Nails
    Hammer Toes
    Bone Spurs
    Cysts and Tumors
    Enlarged Joints
    Malaligned Metatarsals

    PODO-GERIATIC (Seniors)

    Muscle Weakness
    Mechanical Imbalance
    Nail Disorders
    Vascular Related Disorders
    Bone Prominences


    Heel Spurs
    Plantar Fasciitis
    Achilles Tendonitis
    Muscle Strains
    Rigid High Arches
    Flexible Low Arches
    Over-Use Syndromes


    Poor Circulation
    Nail Problems
    Skin Rash
    Loss of Sensation (Neuropathy)
    Weight Bearing Imbalances

    Many podiatrists utilize both conventional and highly specialized methods that include both conservative and surgical techniques. X-rays and other diagnostic tests may be performed by a podiatrist. Surgery on an out-patient basis may involve the use of traditional open or minimal incision surgery including endoscopic and even laser techniques. Custom orthotics may be prescribed to correct certain biomechanical imbalances and occasionally custom shoes may be prescribed.

    Therapeutic modalities such as ultrasound, laser, taping, padding and parrafin wax baths may be used by a podiatrist.

    Foot problems are often associated with abnormal conditions in other parts of the body, both systemic and skeletal such as in back disorders. Podiatrists are trained to recognize signs of diseases that manifest themselves in the feet. These include gout, psoriasis, and various types arthritis.

    Early diagnosis and treatment of foot problems are worthwhile investments in overall good health. Unfortunately, major foot problems can result when people attempt to diagnose and cure their own foot ailments or neglect their feet altogether.

    In the average life time, we walk approximately one hundred and eighty-four thousand kilometers, more than four times the earth's circumference! As eighty percent of people will experience a foot problem at some time in their life, it is important to seek care through a licensed podiatrist.

    Finally, you should remember this about podiatrists; around the world, no segment of the health profession sees and treats more foot problems day by day than a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine. If symptoms develop, see your podiatrist promptly. We only have one pair of feet to last a lifetime!

    For more infromation go to Podiatry Channel or Podiatry Network

    900-45 Sheppard Avenue East, Toronto, ON M2N 5W9

    Toll Free: 1-866-424-6762 Fax: 416-927-9111

    Email: contact@opma.ca

    Copyright © 2014 by Ontario Podiatric Medical Association. All Rights Reserved

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