The Roles Of Foot Health Practitioners


Podiatry is the profession by which recalcitrant external conditions and unfavourable internal structure, disease and pathological conditions are addressed. The podiatrist takes on those cases requiring specialist leg and foot support that cannot be delivered by the Foot Health Practitioner. The full skills of a Podiatrist would be needed and utilised in only a small proportion of the total of presenting cases. Podiatrists are trained to a higher level (degree) than the FHP (diploma).

The Podiatrist has all the skills required of an FHP, but undertakes greater academic preparation. Ethical behaviour extends to FHPs and other members of the medical team, and referral to an FHP for routine care should be an appropriate pathway.

Gait analysis is in the scope of the Podiatrist. So too, are vascular studies, acute diabetic support, paediatric developmental conditions. Due to the nature of the understanding required by these latter conditions, it will be seen that the Podiatrist may choose to specialise in these and other areas.

The Podiatrist working within the NHS would often have direct access to the facilities of Haematology and Cytology Departments and Pathology laboratories, in addition to liaison with Surgeons, Physicians, Radiologists and other medical professionals. This is not necessarily the case where a Podiatrist works in the private sector.

Prescribing of drugs and medication might be an important facet of the work, following appropriate training. Local anaesthesia lies entirely within the remit of the Podiatrist.

Wound management skill is important since there will be a need for aftercare following nail surgery. A small proportion of Podiatrists will qualify by further study to perform invasive surgery in order to correct foot structure, compressions, non-unions and mal-alignments.
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