Podiatry and Chronic Illness
For example, patients suffering from high sugar levels (diabetes) can result in an increased risk of wounds causing ulceration and amputations. Prevention of these problems can be provided by a multidisciplinary team approach including the podiatrist, endocrinologists/ diabetologists, diabetes education, G.P’s and dieticians.
Regular foot checks are essential to test foot mobility, sensitivity, increased risk of ulceration (through identifiable pressure areas/ foot deformities) and injury, in addition to foot care education and treatment of ulcers, infections and related problems when they are present.
Podiatrists may specialise in the field of diabetes, rheumatology and vascular podiatry amongst others. A number of Podiatrists currently occupy posts in these fields while a healthy amount of other Podiatrists are currently embarking on postgraduate training and specialisations in these areas locally and abroad.
Podiatrist early on can help spot problems and provide fast and practical solutions.
Podiatrists may specialise in the field of Podopaediatrics, such a podiatrist is referred to as a Podopaediatric specialist.
It is recommended that parents should consult a podiatrist when there child has:
● Uneven shoe wear
● Skin rashes, hard skin lumps or bumps on the feet
● Complains of recurrent pain in feet and legs
● Trips and falls often
● Has a listing walk or problems walking or running
Podiatry and aged care
General foot care for the elderly includes treatment of hard toenails that develop as we age, treatment and prevention of ingrown toenails, fungal infections and removal (debridement) of corns and calluses when present.
Reaching the feet and self-maintenance becomes more difficult with age and therefore regular check-ups by a state registered podiatrist are important.
A number of podiatrists work in gerontology settings around Malta including government elderly residences such as Saint Vincent De Paul Residence (SVDP), other public and private homes across the island.
On the other hand, if you or your relatives are elderly and have a foot problem or trouble walking, it is recommended they see a podiatrist.
Podiatry and Sports Medicine
In fact, athletes are more prone to foot injuries such as Achilles tendonitis, stress fractures, nail problems, shin splints, sprains, plantar fasciitis and knee pain. All these conditions can be treated by Podiatrists and above all Podiatrists can help to prevent the occurrence or recurrence of such injuries through biomechanical assessment, advice on orthotics/ insoles and sensible footwear.
It is important for patients who play sports on a regular basis or else practice their sports professionally to consult a Podiatrist at least once a year to have their foot, lower limb and footwear examined. Meanwhile if an athlete has just suffered from an injury he/she should consult a Podiatrist as soon as possible who along with the multidisciplinary team will aim to treat his problem in the shortest period but with the highest therapeutic benefit through a holistic approach.
Biomechanics and Orthoses
On the other hand, customised shoe insoles may be prescribed and fabricated by a podiatrist to offload pressure areas, particularly in rheumatoid or diabetic patients, and to correct certain biomechanical problems.
It is important that a podiatric assessment is made before one uses an orthotic or customised insole, otherwise problems may be exacerbated.
Sometimes an antibiotic prescription may be required before or after the surgery to prevent any infection.