What is Podiatry? - Podiatry (also known as chiropody) is the diagnosis and treatment by podiatrists (chiropodists) of diseases and other disorders of the feet. Podiatrists are highly skilled health professionals who have been trained to prevent, diagnose, treat and rehabilitate abnormal conditions of the feet and lower limbs. They also prevent and correct deformity, keep people mobile and active, relieve pain and treat infections.
Please Note. Some of these areas are treated by specialist podiatrists only. When do I need to see a Podiatrist?
If your feet hurt, something is wrong. In this case we recommend that you visit a podiatrist, who will advise you on the best course of treatment. You can also prevent foot problems before they occur by visiting a local podiatrist for advice on how to keep your feet healthy and in top condition. We recommend that you have a regular foot health check with your Podiatrist. (Society Of Chiropodists and Podiatrists 2013)
Why do I need to see a Podiatrist? Podiatrists are highly trained professionals registered by the Health Professionals Council (HPC) that have trained solely in the area of the foot and lower limb for several years. In order to become an HPC registered practitioner a podiatrist will have undertaken and passed a full time degree in podiatry at one of thirteen schools of podiatry within the UK or will have met stringent entrance criteria set by the HPC. With this extensive training and knowledge podiatrists are best placed to provide the most appropriate treatment and care for your foot problems. (Society Of Chiropodists and Podiatrists 2013)
What is Biomechanics? Biomechanics is the science which studies structures and functions of biological systems using the knowledge and methods of mechanics. Hatze (1971)
What is Podiatric Biomechanics? Biomechanics is concerned with preservation, restoration and development of the function of the foot and its associated structure. Biomechanics refers to an understanding of the mechanics in the body and podiatrists use this to diagnose and treat the lower limb.
Biomechanics underpins all we do as podiatrists and is a key component to our clinical skills in determining the Cause of pain or dysfunction, and not just treating the resulting symptoms of the biomechanical shortfalls. A good example would be an athlete who keeps getting persistent calf strains and just keeps icing and resting the calf before going back to running resulting in subsequent re-injury. The underlying problem could be as a result of their foot position, running technique or muscle imbalance but without having this addressed their problem will persist and become chronic making full recovery less likely.
A full biomechanics assessment will consist of examination of the musculoskeletal systems of the lower extremity, with consideration also given to the upper body. Neurological and vascular status will also be considered and the podiatrist may undertake some testing with specialist instruments such as Doppler. The examination will always consist of non weight bearing, static weight bearing and dynamic assessment to ascertain the exact cause of the problem, and footwear will always be inspected for wear patterns and further clues to the diagnoses.
Early diagnoses of biomechanical shortfalls can reduce injury occurrence and reduce recovery time of existing injury.
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