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Should I see a Physiotherapist or a Podiatrist?

Jubilee Thobejane

Foot pain affects 1 in 5 people. Whether you are hobbling around in the morning because of heel pain, plantar fasciitis, have sharp pains in your feet or just generalised aching and pain of your feet or legs, both podiatrists and physiotherapists are dedicated to helping you feel and perform your best. But who is the best person to see for your condition?

What is a Physiotherapist?

A physiotherapist is a healthcare professional who specialises in aiding individuals in their recovery from injuries, surgeries, or illnesses through physical means such as exercise, manual therapy, and education. They focus on improving mobility, alleviating pain, and restoring function to the body. Physiotherapists often work with people of all ages and conditions. This can be anyone from athletes recuperating from sports injuries to elderly individuals seeking to regain independence.

What is a Podiatrist

Conversely, a podiatrist is a specialist in foot and ankle health. They diagnose and treat conditions affecting the feet and lower limbs, such as bunions, ingrown toenails, and plantar fasciitis. Podiatrists also provide preventative care, including advice on proper footwear and foot hygiene. Whether it’s recovering from a sports injury with a physiotherapist or addressing foot pain with a podiatrist, both professions play crucial roles in promoting overall well-being and mobility.

When might a Podiatrist refer you to a Physiotherapist?

Foot pain or discomfort may not solely originate in the feet. In our biomechanics lab, we frequently see patients presenting with lower limb issues. These can often be traced back to areas such as the upper body, particularly the spine, and the upper lower body, including the hips, glutes, thighs, and knees. In many instances, these cases require a referral to a physiotherapist for additional treatment. Our biomechanics examination offers a thorough analysis, providing invaluable insights into the intricate interplay between different parts of the body to address underlying issues effectively.

When might a Physio refer you to a Podiatrist?

After receiving thorough treatment from a physiotherapist, they may notice that the patient’s progress has plateaued. If the patient requires long-term support for their feet, the physiotherapist might recommend a referral to a podiatrist for the prescription of orthoses. Furthermore, if the patient presents foot-specific complaints that fall outside the scope of a physiotherapist’s practice, they may deem it necessary to refer the patient to a podiatrist for specialised care.

A General Rule of Thumb

General rule of thumb. If you suspect you’ve sustained a soft tissue lower limb injury less than a month ago, it’s advisable to seek assessment and treatment from a physiotherapist. However, if you’ve already consulted a physiotherapist and / or continue to experience pain and discomfort three months post-injury. Then it is recommended you visit a podiatrist for further evaluation and specialised care.

Does the above sound like you or do you want some further assistance with who you need to talk to? Give us a call on 01603 737188 or contact us here

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