An Article Written by Cecilia Brennan
Podiatrist – New Step Podiatry
10 tHINGS I LOVE ABOUT PODIATRY
On the 14th November, 2011, I did my last exam for my podiatry degree. It was a practical exam and I was both nervous and excited. Even though I knew my grandmother was ill (she passed away that afternoon ☹) I managed to get an A grade. There may have been some divine forces at play!
I’m coming up to my 10th anniversary of being a qualified Podiatrist, so naturally I have become reflective of the last decade. Like most jobs there are positives and negatives with the former far outweighing the latter. This is NOT a job you could do if you didn’t like it. So, what’s there to love? Well…
1. Range of care
People often ask me what got me into podiatry. I love the range of care we provide. Using last Thursday as an example, I issued custom foot orthotics that I had designed myself using CAD CAM technology, provided shockwave therapy for heel pain, used Swift microwave treatment on a wart, applied toenail braces for ingrown toenails, performed several diabetes assessments, manufactured a silicon toe device, provided rehabilitation fracture management and saw a few general footcare (toenails, corns and calluses) clients. Variety is the spice of life!
2. Range of clients
Same as above but with age and demographics. I get to consult the very young and people over 100. We see people from a variety of backgrounds. Everyone has a good story and you can learn something from everyone.
3. Strong connections with our patients
Some humans, if not most, let their injuries and pain drag on before they see someone. Podiatrists will also see people after they have already implemented advice from their general practitioner or physiotherapist. So, by the time they get to a podiatrist, the nature of their pain is chronic, debilitating and multi-factorial. We use a care model that helps us understand how connected someone’s pain is with their lifestyle, psychology and physical activities. That means we really get to know people and form a strong connection.
Another aspect of podiatry is podiatry general footcare. This management can be ongoing as toenails will keep growing and some calluses and corns will always come back. With these clients we will see them regularly whether it be every 4, 6, 10 or 52 weeks. Suffice to say, we get to know each other pretty well.
4. An evolving profession
Podiatry has come a long way since chiropody. It’s more than corns and calluses now! Orthotic therapy, sports care, prescribing rights, Medicare rebates for foot & ankle x-rays and ultrasound imaging are a few examples that demonstrate how different the profession is to 30+ years ago.
5. Use of emerging technologies
Podiatrists love to get results for our clients. Sometimes it takes the use of medical devices to diagnose someone, get someone better or get them feeling better sooner. At New Step Podiatry we use shockwave therapy for certain injuries, microwave therapy for warts, pressure insoles for gait analysis and doppler ultrasound for diabetes assessments. When I first started in podiatry I never thought I would be designing my own orthotics on a computer, 7 years later I was. I also didn’t realise how soon the transition into scanning feet for orthotics instead of using plaster was.
Technology in podiatry will not stop evolving, it’s becoming more common to have diagnostic ultrasound and medical laser in house. The future is exciting!
6. Instant results
It’s the best feeling when someone walks in with a limp due to a painful, deep corn and the podiatrist treats it and they walk out without a limp and with a big smile on their face. People are also so appreciative.
7. Hands on care
Literally so much of what we do involves us using our hands. So much so, I’ve made sure that I have decent income protection in case of an injury. I love having a job that requires hand skills.
I can’t remember a consultation where I didn’t assess a foot, ankle, orthotic or shoe with my hands. We also make devices such as toe devices and felt/foam padding which I consider my ‘arts and craft’. We also have equipment to adjust orthotics and other in shoe additions.
8. Our jobs are totally underrated
You might be thinking why would I like my profession being underrated? Well, in a foot at risk of ulceration we could be saving >$100,000 for the public health care sector by providing simple yet effective general podiatry footcare. Regularly removing a deep corn, thinning a thick toenail and offloading a high-pressure site are all examples of what we do to avoid ulcerations. Ulcers put feet at higher risk of amputations. And amputations are expensive! Therefore, I know each day I am saving the governments thousands of dollars with our totally underrated care. I love simple yet effective care.
9. Choice of working in the private or public sector and beyond
The majority of podiatrists are in the private sector working in small businesses. I believe small businesses are often the backbone of communities. It’s a privilege being apart of that backbone. Some podiatrists choose to own and operate their own small business. It teaches you to be multiskilled; business director, bookkeeper, account manager, marketing director, recruiter, human resource manager etc.
There is also the option of the public sector, whether it be community or hospital work. There are also opportunities in the commercial, industry and retail industries due to our connection with footwear.
10. No shift work, late nights
I ask anyone who is considering a job in healthcare if they are capable of shiftwork. Some healthcare jobs require it, others don’t. Numerous healthcare positions require long shifts, night shifts, very early starts, very late finishes and weekend work.
I once had a job where I finished work at 6:30pm 4 nights a week. I found myself gaining poor lifestyle choices and the scales showed. This demonstrated to me that I am not made for constant late finishes / shift work / weekend work. I’m just too precious! I do take my hat off to all those shift workers out there.
Standard podiatry hours usually don’t see multiple late finishes but some podiatry jobs do have Saturday hours or one late finish each week.
I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years brings!