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Industry Discussion

Why Do We Need Podiatrists?

Why we take our feet for granted? By the time we are 50, our feet would have travelled more than 86,000 km. They will give us a lifetime of service, and yet few people remember to service them like they do their car! Podiatrists provide this service for us, yet few take the time to have their feet looked at. Podiatrists study Podiatry, which effectively makes them professional foot health experts. They look at and treat foot and lower limb problems, the most common of which arise from diabetes. Worse still, according to recent figures issued by the Australasian Podiatry Council, there are at least 85 people across Australia this week who will lose a foot due to diabetes or diabetes related foot complications!

This requires urgent action, recently highlighted by Mrs Judi Moylan MP in early July of this year. This is a figure that should not be accepted by the Australian Government or Australian society generally. Fortunately, this is something that could largely be avoided.

Patients with diabetes should visit their podiatrist on a regular and frequent basis to avoid serious illness or even death. Unfortunately, many don’t due to the cost and the limited funding and / or limited refunds payable under current Medicare arrangements. This does not make sense when you compare the small costs associated with regular visits as compared to the costs associated with an amputation, which can be up to $100,000 per patient.

Having your feet serviced is critical because our feet are complex structure which house more than a quarter of the bones in the body, without even taking into account the number of joints, ligaments and muscles which make them work. Studies also show that when we reach 50, we are 100% more likely to develop joint deformities in our feet. In addition, pain in the feet can be a sign of systemic disease. People with diabetes are at much greater risk of developing serious foot problems because they experience loss of good circulation and nerve loss which means they struggle to fight infections in the feet.

Do I Need a Referral to See a Podiatrist?

No, so get your fingers working on getting your feet looked at!

How Do I Find a Podiatrist?

Easy, they work in private practice, health and community centres, sports medicine clinics, nursing homes and private practice hospitals.

Are the Costs Covered?

The Government provides some funding and most private health insurance funds cover podiatry under their ancillary tables.

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