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Should I See a Podiatrist or Physiotherapist for Foot Pain?

Foot pain affects 1 in 5 people.

Whether it’s hobbling in the morning, or sharp pain in your feet, podiatrists and physiotherapists are both dedicated to helping you perform at your best.

But to answer the question of who is the best to see, perhaps we should explore what both podiatrists and physiotherapists do.

What is a Physiotherapist?

A physiotherapist is a person qualified to assess, diagnose, treat and prevent a wide range of health conditions and movement disorders by physical methods such as movement and exercise, manual therapy, education and advice.

Physiotherapy treatment helps repair damage, reduce stiffness and pain, increase mobility and improve quality of life.

What is a Podiatrist?

A Podiatrist is a person dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of medical and surgical conditions of the feet and lower limbs.

Podiatry treatment also helps repair damage, reduce stiffness and pain, increase mobility and improve quality of life.

And, while there are things a physiotherapist will do that a podiatrist won’t do (basically anything not to do with the feet), a podiatrist will also help with the following:

  • Removal of corns, callus and other painful lesions
  • Diagnosis and treatment of skin disorders
  • Administration of local anaesthetic
  • Surgical treatment of ingrown toenails
  • Gait (walking) assessment
  • Provision of customised orthotics (shoe inserts)
Scott Leslie, Podiatrist

Scott Leslie, Podiatrist, provides treatment for a patient at Posture Podiatry

Podiatrist or Physiotherapist?

Given that we walk on average 128,000km throughout our lifetime (that’s enough to go around the earth 4 times!), healthy feet are an important part of your overall well-being.

The best outcomes occur when physiotherapists and podiatrists work together for the overall benefit of the client.

Scenario 1: Physio to Podiatrist

If someone rolls their ankle it might be a one-off incident, in which case the protection, management and rehabilitation is often performed by a physiotherapist. That’s why most sports teams have a physiotherapist on their roster.

However, if the same person frequently sprains their ankle, they might be referred by the physiotherapist to a podiatrist to look further into how the foot is working, and other factors that might be contributing to frequent ankle sprains.

The client will have their foot mechanics and walking assessed, and they may be prescribed orthotics or specific foot mobilisation and strengthening to solve the problem.

Scenario 2: Podiatrist to Physio

A podiatrist who is helping a client with chronic heel pain finds that there are factors from higher up contributing to the pain, such as gluteal weakness, hip rotation issues and core stability problems.

The podiatrist will refer to the physiotherapist to help uncover the cause of the problem that may be higher up in the body, and prescribe exercises to release and strengthen the area.

Together, the client has a much better chance of a successful outcome.

So, while both physiotherapists and podiatrists will both provide taping for sports injuries, massage and mobilise feet, and assess posture and gait, it’s important that your physiotherapist and podiatrist are both working together for the best outcome.

Still unclear on who to see?

If you don’t know who to see for your foot or ankle injury, try this:

  • See your physiotherapist for an acute injury where you know the cause.
  • See your podiatrist for foot pain that doesn’t go away and you don’t know why.
See your podiatrist for foot pain that doesn't go away and you don't know why. Click To Tweet

Okay so perhaps it’s not supposed to be as simple as that (Angry health professionals alert!)

But contrary to what some might say, in a lot of cases one person cannot do it all.

It’s best when both your physio and podiatrist are working together for your benefit.

Start with who you know. If you already have a physiotherapist or podiatrist, ask them who they think you should see.

Then ask them to recommend the best treatment plan for you.

That’s how you’ll get the best outcome.

Ask your health professional to recommend the best treatment plan for you… including who else to see. Click To Tweet

At Posture Podiatry, our podiatrists work together with physiotherapists all over Adelaide to help you get the best outcome.

Book an appointment or phone us on 08 8362 5900 to talk about the best options for you.

Easy DIY Foot Bath to Treat Your Feet

Treat Your Feet with a DIY Foot Bath

There’s nothing like a foot bath at home to pamper your feet. It’s not difficult or expensive to do either.

In this post, you’ll learn how to create a relaxing and yummy foot bath for your feet from the comfort of your own home.

Just mix all the ingredients below and you’re relaxing mineral salt foot bath with essential oils will be ready for you!

Enjoying a Foot Bath at Posture Podiatry

Clients at Posture Podiatry enjoy Mineral Salt Foot Baths with Essential Oils on Arrival. Image © Posture Podiatry

Here’s what you need

  1. A large bowl or plastic tub – something that’s just right for you to place your feet inside without feeling squashed.
  2. Warm water – Not too hot, not too cold, but just right.
  3. Epsom Salts – Adding 1 Tbs Epsom salts to your foot bath can benefit your feet greatly. It can soothe dry skin, relieve aching feet, and help to remove foot odour.
  4. Bicarb soda – 1 tsp Bicarb soda helps exfoliate the skin, has antibacterial properties and also removes foot odour.
  5. Marbles – A few marbles in the base of the bowl give you something to gently roll your feet over for a luxurious massaging touch. 
  6. Pure Essential oil – Just a couple of drops of lemon myrtle oil can add to the experience, as well as the health benefits.

The scent of the oil, the soothing mineral salts, the exfoliating baking soda, and the gentle massage from the marbles all work together to soothe your senses and relax your nerves.

 

Pampering Foot Bath

A Pampering Mineral Salt Foot Bath you can try at home.
Image © Posture Podiatry

Easy Foot Bath Recipe

So, you’ve got the ingredients, now here’s the recipe for an easy do-it-yourself foot bath at home:

In a large bowl, add:

  • 1Tbs Epsom salts
  • 1tsp Bicarb Soda
  • 3 drops of pure Lemon Myrtle Essential Oil.
  • Then add marbles and fill with warm water.

Relax and enjoy!

The ideal DIY footbath - Essential oil, mineral salts, exfoliating baking soda, and gentle massage from marbles Click To Tweet

And if you want to see what it looks like in real life, check out this video below:

 

Will you be trying out this easy DIY footbath? We’d love to hear your experience!

One Foot Exercise for Happy Feet

Healthy, Happy Feet

There’s one foot exercise you can do that can really help to reveal problems with your feet. Many people will neglect their feet. But in general, athletes, sports enthusiasts and active people everywhere understand the importance of well-functioning feet. Some, because a simple foot injury sidelined them in the past, and others because they recognise the benefits of good foot exercises for better performance. 

Consisting of one quarter of the bones in your body, your feet are an engineering marvel designed to withstand huge forces, which for an athlete on the track can be up to a staggering 30 times your bodyweight. Just let that sink in for a moment – you times 30. Yep, the feet deserve some attention.

Your feet are designed to be able to withstand up to 30 times your body weight! Click To Tweet

There are 20 muscles inside each foot, and another 20 muscles that act on each foot from the lower leg. These muscles need to be work together in synergy to enable you to perform at your best.

Problems arise when one muscle is being over or underused leading to imbalance, compensation and loss of efficiency.

That’s why at Posture Podiatry we’re big on helping athlete’s feet to function well by themselves. And there’s one exercise that can determine whether your feet are fit for competition or not…

Foot Exercise to help problem feet

Foot exercises can help problem feet

One Simple Foot Exercise

The exercise is so simple, you can even do it right now while reading this.

  • While seated, stretch one leg out in front of you and make a big, slow circles with your foot – moving only your foot and ankle. Now, the temptation is to rush this, but it’s really important to make SLOW deliberate circles with your foot (it should take more than 10 seconds to complete one revolution).
  • The key is to be able to balance your muscle action to be able to complete a full circle smoothly and deliberately. Take note of any small jolts, pauses and twitches as you move your foot in a circle.

Just make a full, slow circle with your feet. Any interruption to smooth circle movements could mean you have a problem with muscles working together, and that could mean problems down the track.

Practice this until the slow circles are smooth and consistent, and you’ll be training your muscles to communicate better with each other. Repeat before and after your training sessions to ensure they’re still working well together.

Not being able to make slow circles with your feet can reveal bigger foot problems Click To Tweet

Revealing Other Foot Problems

If you’re having problems doing this foot exercise, or if you find it hard to make smooth circular movements it could be an indicator of a bigger problem, and that’s why this exercise is so important. From the perspective of a sports podiatrist, it’s exercises like these that help to identify the best treatment approach to address the true cause of your foot problem.

If you’re having trouble getting the movements right, book an appointment to see a podiatrist who uses foot mobilisation and manual therapy in their approach to improving foot function and mobility.