Any abnormality or pain in the foot or lower limb is a good reason to visit a podiatrist. Changes in the toenails and skin are another. Preventative care with the feet of children and those with diabetes is essential to avoid future complications. You can also consult with a podiatrist for a general evaluation of the posture, as the feet are its very foundation! Remember, there’s no need for your feet to suffer. In most cases, foot problems can be dealt with medically or surgically to correct deviation, restore function and mobility, and relieve pain.
Podiatric treatments, custom-made foot orthotics and podiatry surgeries are not covered by the Régie de l’Assurance Maladie du Québec (RAMQ). Costs must be paid by the patient. However, most private insurance companies reimburse at least 80% of the costs, including for orthotics. Be sure to check with your insurance company before your visit to see if podiatric and orthotic fees will be reimbursed.
No medical referral is required to see a podiatrist. Appointments can be made by you directly.
Studies in podiatric medicine are comparable to those of a dentist. A licensed podiatrist will have a Diploma in Podiatric Medicine (DPM), an undergraduate doctorate obtained after 4 years of university studies. The program includes general training in human health (anatomy, pharmacology, biochemistry, physiology, histology, microbiology, internal medicine, psychology, etc.). There are also specialized courses in podiatric medicine, as well as on-site clinical training. As you can appreciate, your podiatrist has the necessary training to diagnose and treat various foot conditions, whether they be bone, dermatological, neurological, vascular or musculoskeletal in nature.
You should consult with a podiatrist as soon as you have questions or concerns about the feet and gait of your child. Keep in mind though, that custom orthotics are generally not recommended before the age of three. This is due to the immaturity of the bone structure at this early age.
It depends on the particular condition of the patient. The podiatrist can prescribe and administer medications; give cortisone injections and local anesthetics; perform minor surgeries (ingrown toenails, for example); employ physical therapy; prescribe, make or modify orthotics; and more. If the podiatrist holds a license to practice radiology, he or she can assist in a treatment by analyzing x-rays that they, or another health professional, have prescribed. Finally, a podiatrist with a recognized surgical residency can practice podiatric surgery to correct deformities of the foot such as bunions (hallux abducto valgus), hammer toes, Morton’s neuromas, etc.
The podiatrist has a wider field of expertise, as he has a doctoral undergraduate degree in podiatric medicine (DPM). Orthotists have a college education in the manufacture of orthotics and prostheses for the entire body. This makes the podiatrist vastly more specialized in the foot and lower limb. He is the only true foot health professional. The podiatrist’s exclusive field of practice allows him to conduct a comprehensive evaluation (clinical examinations; x-rays; vascular, dermatological and neurological analyzes, etc.) to make a diagnosis and suggest different treatment options. The podiatrist is to the feet, what the dentist is to the teeth. The orthotics of the podiatrist and orthotist are made-to-measure, while those found in a pharmacy are not. Optimal treatment can only be achieved with a custom orthotic. The orthotist requires a prescription from a podiatrist or other doctor to make the orthotic device, as he cannot assess a patient or make a diagnosis. Also note that a visit to a podiatrist does not require a referral from a doctor. Finally, a podiatrist with a recognized surgical residency can practice podiatric surgery to correct deformities of the foot such as bunions (hallux abducto valgus), hammer toes, Morton’s neuromas, etc