I had an interesting conversation recently with a patient who had recently had surgery on an ingrown toenail by her GP. I had been seeing this patient for over a year with general foot issues (corns, calluses etc) and during that time she had not had a problem with an ingrown toenail.

As we talked more about her toe, she said that it had become sore and inflamed and infected and so called her GP who saw the toe and performed surgery on the toe. I was genuinely curious because I’ve been a Podiatrist for 30 years (please no comments on my age 😉 and have performed hundreds and hundreds of ingrown nail surgeries.

I said to the patient, “Mrs Smith [not her real name] why did you see your GP about your ingrown toenail and not see me”. The patient replied, “I didn’t know you dealt with infected ingrown toenails”.

My pride was slightly wounded – ONLY JOKING!

The BIG lesson here for me was that I assumed people knew what a Podiatrist did and what they can care for but I was wrong in this case, and probably wrong in many cases.

So in this short blog I wanted to let you know what a Podiatrist can do and in some future blogs I’ll expand on what we actually do for some of the more common problems we see.

A good starting point is to let people know that all Podiatrists complete a minimum 4 year podiatric medical degree at university. Podiatrist’s can refer for xrays and ultrasounds, can perform minor foot surgery and some can prescribe medications and even perform quite extensive foot surgery (think correction of bunions, hammertoes, fusion of joints, repair of torn tendons to name a few).

And here’s a list of the common conditions we manage and treat:

And that’s only half of the things we see. If you add them up, that’s over 50 different areas that we see, assess and treat.

The point of this blog is not to impress you at all, just to highlight what Podiatrists can care for and that in future, if you experience one of these problems, let us know as Podiatrists are the only profession that specialises in the care and management of the foot, ankle and lower limb.

Your GP is fantastic and they have gone above and beyond over the last 2 years with Covid and immunisations, but they actually receive very little training in foot problems. Most GPs do recognise this and refer patients to us. We make sure that we always keep in contact with your GP and update them as needed, so you always receive the very best, most up to date care at Healthy Life Foot Clinic.

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