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Podiatrist with a client

So you want to be a podiatrist

03/11/2020 |
2 mins

Feet are often overlooked when people consider their health, but when you think about how important our feet are for mobility, independence and everyday activities, you’ll quickly understand just how important a podiatrist’s role is.

Similar to doctors and dentists, podiatrists also perform procedures, order medical imaging and administer medicines. While podiatrists and podiatric surgeons mainly work in private practices, they can also work in a range of health settings, such as hospitals, aged care clinics, sports clinics and in research or policy organisations.

It’s a vital role for the future healthcare of society, as we look to ease the burden on hospitals and care facilities, and keep our population independent and mobile.

A day in the life

Podiatrists often work office hours, that is, from 9am to 5pm. Sometimes they will work afternoons or weekends. There are many myths surrounding podiatry and what podiatrists actually do. Here's what a typical day of patient care could include:

  • Seeing patients referred by GPs to assess their nerve function and blood flow to the foot.
  • Treating lower-limb musculoskeletal problems using shockwave therapy, ultrasound therapy, laser therapy, orthotic therapy, stretching and strengthening.
  • Diagnosing the cause of heel pain, Morton’s neuromas or any other foot and ankle condition.
  • Managing difficult nail and skin conditions, such as calluses, corns, ingrown nails, fungus-infected nails and warts.
  • Performing ingrown toenail surgery.
  • Designing and applying foot orthotic therapy.
  • Diagnosing growing pain in children and recommending treatments.
  • Prescribing pain medication and antibiotics for lower-limb infections (if the podiatrist holds a licence for medications).
  • Advising on appropriate footwear for activities including work, trail walking, and exercise.
  • Referring patients for X-rays or ultrasound imaging to aid diagnosis.
  • Corresponding with other healthcare providers for team-based care.

Your UWA pathway

There are 3 steps to becoming a registered podiatrist

1. Complete a bachelor’s degree (3–4 years)

2. Gain entry to the Doctor of Podiatric Medicine postgraduate degree (2–3 years)

3. Obtain registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) to practice

There are 5 steps to becoming a registered specialist podiatric surgeon

1. Complete a bachelor’s degree (3–4 years)

2. Gain entry to the Doctor of Podiatric Medicine postgraduate degree (2–3 years)

3. Obtain registration with AHPRA and complete two years of work experience as a podiatrist

4. Complete the Doctor of Podiatric Surgery postgraduate degree (3 years full time)

5. Obtain registration as a podiatric surgeon with AHPRA

At UWA you can design your own degree. Learn about our range of courses and career options at an upcoming information session being held throughout July and August 2021. Explore our sessions and register today!


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