Medical foot care: The podiatrist

Anyone who travels an average of 160,000 kilometers in their lifetime has the right to a few strokes. But although the feet are our most important means of transport, they are usually criminally neglected in daily hygiene. The fact that we often neglect our feet has consequences: the feet  itch , burn and swell, blisters and pressure points form, there is a risk of fungal infection. In the worst case, the skin tears and infections or open wounds form.

Causes of foot problems

 Foot problems are particularly common in people with  diabetes . Dry and scaly skin are the least of their side effects. It becomes more serious when, after several years of poor blood sugar control, a nerve disease sets in, which means that injuries or heat and cold stimuli are no longer perceived. Even the smallest cracks can then become infected unnoticed.

Many  foot problems  are caused by  illness. People who are overweight, have rheumatism or  venous diseases also have  problems with their feet. In addition: Every third German citizen has  athlete’s foot , which should definitely be treated so that it does not spread to the nails.

But also in the case of  incorrect loading  – for example due to foot or toe misalignments – or  shoes that are too tight  , the feet report pressure points, callus formation,  corns , blisters and pain.

What is a podiatrist?

If you have foot problems, it is advisable to consult a medically trained professional. In the case of problems on and with the foot (i.e. in the field of podiatry), this is the podiatrist.

Podiatry is the “non-medical treatment of the foot”. The training also includes areas such as

  • Anatomy
  • microbiology and
  • Diabetes mellitus

Since 2002, the professional title “Podologist”  has been protected by law  and may only be used by people who have completed the required two-year specialist training to become a state-certified podiatrist. It is now also possible to study podiatry.

For those who had already worked in medical foot care for at least five years prior to 2002, there was the possibility, as part of a transitional regulation, to qualify with a supplementary examination as a podiatrist. The podiatrist is one of the healthcare professions.

Podiatrist and podiatrist – what’s the difference?

In contrast to the podiatrist who is mainly responsible for foot aesthetics and hygiene, the podiatrist also has sound medical expertise and usually works closely with the treating doctor or a foot clinic.

Podiatrists and doctors advise and look after their customers competently, so that even the smallest changes can be recognized in good time and (impending) foot problems can be eliminated or at least greatly alleviated.

Help with diabetic foot syndrome

The majority of patients at the podiatrist suffer from diabetic foot syndrome – regular visits are particularly important for them. In diabetics, vision often deteriorates sharply over time, which is why they are often no longer able to see changes in their feet.

A further complication is the peripheral polyneuropathy typical of diabetes   – nerve damage that causes the patient to no longer perceive pain, burning or tingling. The result is inflammation and poorly healing wounds – a trip to the doctor and podiatrist is advisable.

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