When it comes to looking after your health, it’s easy to forget about your feet. But given you could walk about 128,000 km in your lifetime, healthy feet are an important part of your overall wellbeing. Foot problems can have a huge impact on your quality of life. If they occur, podiatrists can help.
What does a podiatrist do?
Podiatrists are experts in foot, ankle and lower limb health. They can help to prevent, diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions including:
Your podiatrist’s recommendations might include specific exercises, the use of custom-made inserts for your shoes, or medications to treat skin conditions.
Some podiatrists specialise in different areas of practice, including sports, children and workplace health.
Where to find a podiatrist
Podiatrists work in private practice or public health clinics, for example in community health services or public hospitals.
Before going to a podiatrist
You don’t usually need a referral from a GP to see a podiatrist. However, in certain situations, if your GP prepares a care plan, also referred to as a Team Care Agreement (TCA) he can give you a referral under the Enhanced Primary Care system, which may entitle you to medicare rebates on some podiatry visits. Also, some funding schemes, for example those under the Department of Veterans Affairs or Workers Compensation, need you to have a referral. If you’re under ones of those schemes, check before making your appointment.
The cost of seeing a podiatrist varies between practices and for different treatments. It is a good idea to ask about the likely cost when you call to make an appointment. If you have private health insurance, check whether it is covered by your plan.
It’s a good idea to take the shoes you normally wear to your first visit.
It’s also a good idea to have a list of questions to ask, for example:
- what are the best shoes for me to wear?
- what changes can I make to help my foot problem?
Last reviewed: May 2018