The best parts about being a podiatrist
The feet are often overlooked when people consider their health. But when you think about how important the feet are for mobility, independence and every day activities, you will understand what an important role podiatrists play. There is a range of movements of the feet and lower limb that can be classified as “normal” and it can be challenging to define abnormal movement
Often people who have played a lot of sport when growing up become interested in this area as they understand the importance of the feet.
Things you really need to consider before deciding to study podiatry
Working with feet is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, and it is not an area that is for the faint-hearted. The practice of podiatry involves fungus, oozing wounds and trying to get people to do the exercises you prescribe for them!
As well as studying full body anatomy and physiology, and then concentrating on the entire lower limb (not just the foot), a significant component of the course is biomechanics. Biomechanics is quite complex and involves understanding the structure and the planes of motion of the foot, ankle and leg. Podiatrists need to become proficient in gait analysis both visually and with the aid of technology.
What do podiatrists do and where do they work?
Podiatrists diagnose and treat skin and nail pathologies of the feet. This can include common conditions such as fungal nail and tinea. Podiatrists may also work with dancers to prevent and treat injuries, and plantar fasciitis is a common condition treated in athletes.
Diagnosing foot problems can involve ordering and interpreting X-rays, ordering some pathology tests. The practice of podiatry can involve drills, scalpels, sanding discs, vacuums and gels:
Podiatrists can play a major role in the care of people with diabetes, and treatment can even save patients from needing to have toes, feet or legs amputated due to diabetic complications. Peripheral artery disease is another condition that can be picked up by a podiatrist.
In this video podiatrist Shay McClurg discusses the reasons why a podiatrist would need to prescribe custom-made orthotics for a patient.
Click here for an article on 8 particular areas that may be of interest to podiatrist, including paediatrics, biomechanics and injuries.
This video is about the area of forensic podiatry:
While it is debatable whether podiatrists need to be routinely screening for foot problems in children, parents often bring their kids in for a check up if there is a family history of foot problems, if they trip over a lot, wear their shoes in a funny way or won’t walk because they have pain. Teenagers often come in due to sporting injuries, muscle, knee, or foot pain or infected toenails. In extreme cases, children can become socially withdrawn due to a foot problem, or, in rare cases, have bone cancer which a podiatrist can diagnose.
It has been shown that care by podiatrists for diabetic patients is cost effective and can prevent surgery.
Private practice podiatrist Rachael Bradhurst suggests that it’s rare for a newly graduated podiatrist to know which area of podiatry that will suit best until trying them. Victorian podiatrist Damien James, founder of Aged Foot Care, has created a company which has been listed in the Australian BRW Fast100 and ranks amongst Australia’s fastest growing small and medium businesses.
It is possible to go on to further study to become a podiatric surgeon.
Podiatrist Shay McClurg gives an overview of where podiatrists work in this video:
ATAR for podiatry
How long does it take to become a podiatrist?
While there is one course in Australia which is 3 years, the majority are 4 years.
Please go to our podiatry infographic page for more information on the pathways to becoming a podiatrist.
How much money do podiatrists earn?
In 2018 the statistics on myfuture report that full time employed podiatrists earn an average of $59,072 per annum excluding superannuation.
Are podiatry graduates getting jobs?
According to the Podiatry Board of Australia, there were 3902 podiatrists with general registration in December 2013, and this grew to 5102 in December 2018. If the Health Workforce Australia prediction from 2014 was correct that demand for podiatry services would grow by 5.3% each year, the podiatry workforce is in balance with neither an undersupply or oversupply.
For more details:
- Australian Job Outlook – podiatrists
- Podiatry Board of Australia registration data
- 2014 Podiatry workforce data released
- 2014 Health Workforce Australia – podiatrists in focus
Click here for our university scholarship listing.
Videos about a career in podiatry
Click here to go to our videos about a career in podiatry.
Click here for the latest news about podiatry.
Career information from professional associations
Go to this page and click on the links from there.
This page was last updated in March 2019.