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.
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
ORTHOPEDIC - BIOMECHANICS
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!