What is podiatry?

Podiatrists are medical specialists who help people of all ages with many foot-related conditions. About 70%  of people have or will suffer from foot-related problems during their lifetime. The word podiatry is derived from the Greek word ‘podos’ which means foot. Thus, literally translated, podiatry means foot therapy. 

Why podiatry?
Standing and going consists of a chain of movements wherein your feet do a lot of work. On average, a person walks 100.000  kilometers during their life. Feet are complex structures consisting of a numerous amount of substructures that all have to work together perfectly to keep us moving. The human foot and ankle consist of 26  bones, 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments. An abnormal or deviated function in the foot can influence the position and movement of the ankle-knee-hip-pelvis-back, consecutively. Hence, foot problems or deviations can have tremendous effects on your knees, upper- and lower legs, hips, ankles and so on. Therefore, foot problems or abnormalities can have a huge impact on the entire body. Therefore, podiatrists are of great importance. They prevent and correct deformity, relieve pain and improve the gait pattern. Keeping people mobile and active.

How do you become a podiatrist?
In order to become a podiatrist, they must study podiatry for four years (Bachelor of Science) where they study how bones, nerves and muscles work together to obtain movement. Since everything in the human body is so connected, a problem in your knees or hips can be caused by a deviated position of your foot. Most often a connection can be made between the functions of different parts in the lower body, or even in the human back. Furthermore, podiatrists study illnesses and injuries affecting feet together with diagnoses for treating them. 

Visiting a podiatrist

When visiting a podiatrist most often the appointment starts with getting to know the patient, what are your problems, their day-to-day routines and medical history. The podiatrist will feel the feet or leg and will look at how they stand and walk, thereby making a gait analysis. They will check the range of motion in your joints by moving their leg joints and check the fitting and function of your shoes, whereby they might give advice on what types of shoes to wear. 

How do they help?

It is also possible that the podiatrist supplies orthotics, which are tailor-made insoles or toe orthoses. These are then inserted into your shoes to align the foot differently and to relieve and / or correct stressed or affected areas of the foot or toe. In addition, podiatrist can help with foot problems or injuries related to sport and movement, for example with exercises and recommendations. They also play a major role for people with diabetes. With our treatment, we can reduce the risk of having diabetic problems in your feet and toes.

After the first interview and examination, the podiatrist's thoughts are discussed with the patient, a diagnosis is made and a special treatment plan is drawn up. Several appointments are often made to see how the complaints have developed and whether there is still room for improvement. The most important goal is to let the patient go healthy and happy.