A study suggests that foot pain affects 20% of people. So it’s quite obvious that people will be rushing to the nearest medical center to get their feet checked.
However, when it comes to referring doctors, people often tend to confuse between physiotherapists and podiatrists. Some even consider them to be the same.
However, to help you with “who can help you get rid of foot pain,” we will be exploring who physiotherapists and podiatrists are, highlighting what they do, and whom to consult with in certain scenarios.
Who is a Physiotherapist?
A physiotherapist is a person qualified for analyzing, diagnosing, and treating a large number of problems related to movement disorders.
They treat people ailing from injury, illness, or disability. For that purpose, they provide treatment on movement and exercise, manual therapy, education, and advice.
Who is a Podiatrist?
While a physiotherapist deals with a myriad of problems, a podiatrist forms its subset. He is a specialized person involved in the diagnostics, treatment, and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal and surgical conditions for treating feet and lower limbs.
Typically, they can be considered as foot doctors. So many foot problems, whether blisters, smelly feet, corns, heel pain, or even arthritis, are treated by podiatrists. Some even undergo more specializations and examinations that can ultimately make them specialized in foot medication.
If you are facing similar issues related to the above mentioned areas, Essex Union Podiatry has specialized podiatrists with years of experience. They are certified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery. Therefore, they can help diagnose your feet and scan the underlying problems in your feet.
Foot related conditions that can be managed by both physiotherapists and podiatrists
- Achilles tendinitis
- Hot foot
- Heel pain
- Burning feet
- Plantar Fasciitis/Fasciopathy
- Basic bike fit
- Footwear advice
- Shin splints
Foot related conditions that can be administered by expert podiatrists only
- Administration of local anaesthetic
- Creation of personalised, custom orthotics/inserts
- Gait assessments
- Removal of calluses, lesions, corns, etc.
- Diagnosis and treatment of skin disorders
Podiatrist or Physiotherapist? Who can help me get rid of foot pain?
On average, one walks around 128,000 km throughout their lifetime. So it’s just similar to moving around the circumference of the Earth 4 times. Since feet are the primary mode of transport and contribute to a whole lot, it is essential to give special attention to your feet.
However, a person suffering from a foot disorder always benefits when both physiotherapists and podiatrists work together. Apart from that, this simple case will help you differentiate between their roles and way of dealing with a patient. Let’s see how this works.
Case 1: Physiotherapist referring to a Podiatrist
Suppose a person rolls his ankle in a game; the Physiotherapist uses his management and rehabilitation strategies. His main aim lies in reducing pain and swelling. This is the reason why most sports teams have a physiotherapist by hand.
However, if the same thing happens repeatedly, then there might be deeper reasons for it. As a result, the physiotherapist refers him to a podiatrist.
The podiatrist’s responsibility is to examine factors like ankle and foot mechanics and walking patterns, owing to which the client is facing foot issues repeatedly. Following this, he will be performing joint range of motion studies for some specific muscle testing around the foot, ankle, and lower leg. These include orthotics, acupuncture or dry needling, and foot mobility exercises for treating the patient.
All these assessments will help him prescribe what he needs to prevent those recurrent ankle pains. Thus, he comes up with a detailed process and solution to cure the problem.
Case 2: Podiatrist referring to a Physiotherapist
A podiatrist is dealing with a person suffering from chronic knee pain. The patient happens to undergo some training for a sports event.
The patient has tried his best to reduce the training. However, symptoms still persist. The podiatrist will advise him to bring a change in his footwear and a custom pair of orthotics for running shoes. After careful analysis, he concludes that factors like gluteal weakness, hip rotation issues, and core stability problems contribute to this pain.
These factors are not just limited to the foot but to other parts of the body as well. In such a situation, the podiatrist will refer the client to a physiotherapist. The podiatrist will inform the physiotherapist about which areas need to be focused on. This will help the physiotherapists develop the right set of massage exercises to strengthen that area.
So these two examples show how these two often interchangeable terms depend highly on each other for the treatment of a person’s foot disorder.
So ultimately, whom should you refer for foot pain?
Not everyone can afford treatments from both the specialized persons. So, if you want to be very specific and save some precious bucks, consider these cases.
Refer to a physiotherapist
- In case of any acute injury in the foot where you know the reason behind the cause
- For example, you are having pain in your ankle or foot because you got hit by a table or injured while playing sports. Here you know the reason behind the pain.
- The injury occured all of a sudden
Refer to a podiatrist
- If you see any foot pain, ankle injury, and leg pain happening over and over again
- You are unaware of the reason behind this recurrent happening
- As per your knowledge, you tried making some changes in your lifestyle, yet pain is still persistent
- The symptoms include swelling, wound, numbness or tingling, severe pain and the ones mentioned above.
Even if you see your feet as fit and fine, it is always advisable to get them checked at least twice a month from the best podiatrist agencies. This can help you prevent toe, ankle, foot, or nail problems in the future. So what are you waiting for?