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Podiatry

– WHAT IS IT?

The word Podiatry comes from the Greek: “podo” meaning foot and “logos” meaning treated. We can therefore define Podiatry as “the study and treatment of the feet”.

Podiatry is a health science whose aim is the investigation, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of pathologies affecting the foot and their repercussions on the human organism, with the Podiatrist being the health professional duly qualified to treat foot pathologies.

Areas of intervention in Podiatry:

  • General Podiatry (Static and dynamic assessment of the foot);
  • Children’s Podiatry (Treatment of children’s feet);
  • Geriatric Podiatry (Treatment of the elderly foot);
  • Foot at Risk (diabetic foot, neurological foot, vascular foot).
  • Sports Podiatry (Assessment and treatment of the sportsman’s foot);
  • Podiatry at work (Assessment and analysis of the foot adapted to each professional situation);
  • Preventive Podiatry (Prevention of foot pathologies/alterations).

What does a Podiatrist do?

A podiatrist is a health professional with a professional license issued by the ACSS (Central Administration of the Health System) who is qualified to diagnose and treat foot diseases.

The podiatrist can guide the patient towards correct growth and development of the child’s foot and gait, prevent the onset of locomotor system injuries in different sports, diagnose foot pathologies in order to treat them early and prevent walking disabilities, treat pain and improve the patient’s quality of life.a

Podiatrists can intervene in several areas:

In clinical practice, in Pediatrics, Sports, Surgery, Geriatrics and Diabetes. Collaboration with the family doctor, pediatrician, orthopedist, physiatrist, endocrinologist, neurologist, internal medicine doctor or sports medicine doctor is considered an asset for the patient in differential diagnosis and personalized treatment for each patient.

In laboratory and clinical research, in the biomedical sector, pharmaceuticals, textiles, footwear, engineering and in the biomechanics of human movement.

In consultancy; the podiatrist’s scientific consultancy activity, particularly in the textile and footwear industry, represents added value for innovation and the development of new comfort and well-being products for the population.

In teaching, opting for an academic career, in the training of undergraduate and master’s degree courses in Podiatry.

Why should I visit a podiatrist?

In order to maintain the health of your feet, there are a number of reasons why you should visit a podiatrist:

Prevention of foot alterations, such as helomas (corns), hyperkeratosis (calluses), onychocryptosis (ingrown toenails), fungal infections, among others. By identifying these changes early, more serious complications can be avoided in the future.

Assessment of diseases – some pathologies, such as diabetes and arthritis, can affect the feet. A podiatrist can help with the early detection of symptoms related to these pathologies and provide guidance on how to care for the feet in these circumstances.

Gait and posture assessment – changes in the way you walk or stand can cause discomfort and lead to muscle and joint changes. When assessing gait and posture, a podiatrist can recommend corrections and, if necessary, prescribe plantar supports (“insoles”) and physical exercises, among other treatments.

Treating injuries – if you have suffered a foot injury, such as a sprain, bruise, cut, or have a wound/ulcer, a podiatrist can help with treatment and rehabilitation, advising on proper care, temporary immobilization and, if necessary, referral/collaboration with other health professionals.

Nail care – essential to avoid onychocryptosis (ingrown toenails), fungal infections and other changes, through treatments and guidance to keep nails healthy.

Foot pain – if you have persistent pain in your feet, your podiatrist can help identify the underlying cause and recommend treatment options to relieve the pain.

Wearing suitable footwear – advice on the type of footwear best suited to the shape of your feet and specific activities, helping to prevent injuries and discomfort.

What treatments we do at the Clinic

General chiropody – Treatment that can involve cutting and lowering the nail, removing helomas and hyperkeratosis, treating dermal pathologies and advising on foot care.

Plantar warts, caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) – Treatments vary from the application of ointments for less serious cases, to more invasive treatments such as surgery.

Application of digital silicone orthotics – Palliative, corrective, compensatory or replacement treatment.

Application of plantar supports – Palliative, corrective, compensatory or replacement treatment.

– Biomechanical assessment: – Clinical and visual examination (gait and posture)

– Functional measurements and tests

Onychocryptosis – treatment can vary according to the severity of the situation, from shoe adaptation, spiculaectomy, nail orthotics to cases where surgery is necessary.

Tips for the patient

Proper hygiene – wash your feet daily with warm water and neutral soap, taking care to dry them well, especially between the toes, to avoid fungal infections.

Nail cutting – cut your nails straight across and don’t remove the cuticles.

Moisturizing – apply moisturizing cream to your feet to prevent dehydration, avoiding applying it between your toes to avoid excessive moisture.

– Suitable footwear – choose comfortable shoes that fit the foot well, avoiding tight shoes that can cause injuries or deformities.

Clean socks – wear clean socks made from natural fibers such as cotton and change them daily.

Protection in shared environments – avoid walking barefoot in public places, wear slippers in changing rooms, saunas and swimming pools to avoid contact with bacteria and fungi.

Beware of helomas (corns) and hyperkeratoses (calluses) – avoid removing them yourself or applying products such as calicides. Seek professional help.

Exercises and stretches – strengthen the muscles in your feet with specific exercises and stretches to maintain flexibility.

Professional assessment – consult a podiatrist for regular assessments.

Control chronic pathologies – diabetic patients should keep a close eye on their feet in order to prevent and/or treat injuries in good time.

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