Our feet reflect our general health, so any problems or pain can be an indication that something is not right.
Paying attention promptly helps prevent simple ailments becoming chronic problems!
When to Visit a Podiatrist
While there’s no official recommendation on how often you should see a podiatrist, it’s a good idea to make an appointment if you:
- Are experiencing pain in the feet or lower legs, or pain when walking. Early treatment can identify, diagnose, and target the problem.
- Need orthotics. A podiatrist can recommend orthotics to be worn inside the shoe to correct biomechanical foot problems when walking, standing or running. These inserts can also help with foot pain from diabetes, arthritis, bursitis and plantar fasciitis.
- Are suffering from painful, ingrown toenails. They can be easily treated, and the ingrown part of the nail removed if necessary.
- Have an ankle that just doesn’t feel “right”, months or even years after a sprain.
- Are troubled by recurrent tripping or falling.
- Need to buy school shoes. At our Redlands podiatry clinic, we stock a number of quality brands and offer a professional fitting service. Poorly fitting shoes can cause foot pain, sores, bunions, hammertoes, blisters, corns and swelling; they could even lead to permanent changes to a child’s feet.
Sometimes, foot problems can be a sign of a serious health issue, like diabetes or arthritis.
Foot Care and Diabetes
Diabetes reduces the blood flow to the feet and causes loss of sensitivity to the nervous system.
As a result, diabetics may not realise they have ingrown toenails, blisters or sores on their feet or legs. Without attention, these can lead to infection, ulcers, and in the worst case scenario, amputation.
People with Type 1 Diabetes should go to the podiatrist at least every six months, whereas people with Type 2 Diabetes should make an appointment every twelve months.
Arthritis affects the function and structure of the feet. The most common form is Osteoarthritis which reduces the cartilage in the joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease of the immune system that attacks the joints, and more than 90% of people with rheumatoid arthritis develop symptoms in the feet and ankles.
If you have been diagnosed with arthritis, you should go to see a podiatrist any time you are suffering from pain, tenderness, swelling, redness or heat in the joints of your lower limbs and feet.
Is Podiatry Covered by Medicare?
Podiatry comes under the banner of allied health, so it’s not covered by Medicare unless there is an underlying chronic health condition such as diabetes or arthritis.
In cases like these your GP will need to provide a referral so you can access the Medicare rebate – however bulk billing is rare, so you will usually need to pay an extra out-of-pocket cost (the gap). And, Medicare will only cover five allied health services (not just podiatry) in a calendar year.
It’s also a good idea for people who play sport regularly, or are taking up a new sport, to go and see a podiatrist as prevention is always better than the cure.
People who are new to running, in particular, should consult a podiatrist since the feet can take up to five times the body weight when running. Here at Trevor Lane Podiatry, we can conduct a computerised gait scan – known as digital gait analysis – to assess the loads on various points of the sole of the foot. This screening also allows any potential problems with biomechanics to be identified; and strengthening exercises and other preventative strategies may be recommended.
How Often Should you go to the Podiatrist?
While there’s no set schedule for seeing a podiatrist, as a general rule of thumb (or should that be toe?!), you should see your podiatrist for any issues concerning the feet and lower limbs.
You can book an appointment at our Birkdale podiatry clinic either using our secure online booking system 24/7, or by calling 3207 4736 during business hours.