What does a Podiatrist do?

Podiatry is the health profession dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and prevention of medical and surgical conditions of the foot and lower limb. Podiatrists must be registered with the Podiatrists Registration Board.

Do I need a referral?

No. Anyone can visit a podiatrist without a referral. Although quite often other health practitioners may refer you to a Podiatrist to assist in the treatment of your foot or lower limb related condition. If you are under the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), Workcover or Enhanced Primary Care programme (EPC) you will need a referral from your Doctor.

Will my private health insurance cover Podiatry?

Many private health funds will cover services provided by a Podiatrist. However this will depend on the level of cover you have chosen. If you are unsure of your level of cover, it is always advisable to check your level of cover with your health fund. We offer point of sale claiming, which means generally you can claim against your health fund immediately and only pay the gap amount, if any.

Am I covered under Medicare?

Yes, but only if you are referred by your Doctor under the Enhanced Primary Care Programme (EPC) funded by Medicare. In July 2004 the Federal government introduced the Enhanced Primary Care Programme (EPC) to provide limited cover for patients with long term chronic conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and the like. The programme allows up to five visits per calender year to allied health care professionals, including podiatrists, for eligible patients.

If you think you are eligible for this programme you should speak with your doctor. If you are eligible, your doctor will need to complete the new combined GP management plan / team care arrangement plans (MBS items 721 and 723) and register your plan with Medicare Australia. Your GP can then refer you to our clinic using the ‘Referral form for Allied Health Services under Medicare’ form.

Once you are accepted under the Enhanced Primary Care Programme, you can visit our practice for treatment. Currently we bulk bill these visits, so there is no upfront or out of pocket expense for standard visits under the EPC programme.

What are orthotics?

Orthotics are the common term for Foot orthoses. Foot orthoses are shoe inserts designed to support, align or improve the function of the foot. In the past foot orthoses have been known as arch supports, insole or inserts. Although these all may share some of the characteristics with foot orthoses, things have progressed a great deal. There are many different kinds of orthoses over the counter foot orthoses and custom made foot orthoses. Orthoses recommended by Podiatrists are prescription devices, custom-made to suit your individual needs and biomechanics.

What are the differences between Custom made and over the counter foot orthoses?

Over the counter devices are generally sold in shoe shops or pharmacies. Over the counter devices generally come in sizes small to extra large and do not come in different arch heights. Generally with over the counter devices it is a case of “one size fits all” approach. Typically these devices are made from fairly cheap materials, and as such have a much shorter life span than custom-made devices. In addition over the counter devices do not cope well with body weight or pressure of walking and tend to fatigue or become less supportive in a relatively short period of time. However, these devices are generally excellent at quick and short term pain relief. In fact some heel pain conditions, for example, resolve well with over the counter devices as part of the treatment regime. Others however do not! Custom made foot orthoses are prescriptive devices and made specifically to suit your individual needs and biomechanics. Custom made devices are made from a plaster cast of your feet in combination with a biomechanical assessment and gait analysis, which reveal your feet, legs and body’s best way of running, walking or playing. Custom made devices are exactly that “custom made” to a prescription set out by your podiatrist. There are range of materials used for the devices depending on your specific condition, footwear and activities. Materials for custom-made devices are more hard wearing and will last for an average of 2-3 years. It should also be noted that although the foot orthoses will improve your foot posture and alignment, it is also very important to follow your Podiatrist’s advice regarding footwear as well as all stretching and strengthening programs provided.

Who wears orthotic devices?

People of all ages with a variety of problems of the feet or lower leg wear orthoses. Sports people are often prescribed orthotic devices by their Podiatrist to help maximise their performance and to help their recovery from injury. Anyone suffering from a chronic foot condition such as Plantar Fasciitis, heel pain or lower limb condition which is limiting their mobility or independence, may benefit from wearing orthotic devices.

When are orthoses used?

Our podiatrists may prescribe orthoses for your particular foot problem after a comprehensive assessment. They will consider the way your body moves (your biomechanics), your footwear, and your occupational and lifestyle environment. Orthoses provide long-term solutions in the treatment and prevention of corns, calluses and ulceration by redistributing the pressure of the body’s weight on the feet. Orthoses also help with the rehabilitation of acute and chronic foot conditions such as tendinosis, recurrent ankle sprains and stress fractures, by providing consistent postural control. Children may benefit from orthotic devices to help maintain their foot alignment during growth and development.

Should I have my child’s feet assessed?

Yes, if your child trips over a lot, complains of sore feet, knee pain or leg pain during or after activity, or complains that their shoes hurt. These are all signs that something is not right and the child should be professionally assessed by a podiatrist before the problem becomes worse. A few key things to look out for are:

  • Do they trip more regularly than children their age?
  • Are their knees bruised and battered?
  • When running and playing with other children of similar ages are the able to keep up?
  • Has there been any developmental issues, physically or intellectually?
  • Do they complain of pain and is there any pattern to their pain?

Do not fall into the common trap of being told “It’s just growing pains” , children should not have pain. If you are concerned, a podiatrist’s consultation fee is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

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