What is Podopaediatrics?

Podiatry is the specialist care of the foot and any and all ailments stemming from abnormalities and diseases of the lower limb. This area of practice has become further specialised in recent years, with practitioners adopting further education to focus on specific areas of podiatry, thereby providing high calibre and extremely specialised services to anyone looking for treatment. In this article we look at the sub-specialty of podiatry known as podopaediatrics.

What is podopaediatrics?

Podopaediatrics is an area of podiatry focussing on the treatment of children and the various afflictions that can affect a young person’s  lower limbs. Proper podopaediatrics care is important in the long term because unaddressed structural problems with the feet can worsen overtime, eventually causing severe issues with gait and pain. By correcting early foot deformities many long term chronic mobility issues can be safely and effectively addressed, sparing a great deal of discomfort on the part of the patient, and expense on the part of the NHS.

A number of different foot ailments can affect children from a variety of different backgrounds, these can include structural issues with the foot like flat footedness, or other, more general issues like ingrown toe nails or infections.

Who are podopaediatricians?

Podopaediatricians are specially trained to provide treatment to younger children. One of the requirements of becoming a podopaediatrician is that a practitioner completes the necessary qualifications after having graduated from a recognised college of podiatry.

Continuous Professional Development (CPD) courses outlined by regulatory bodies like the Health and Care Professions Council determine what practical experience and theoretical knowledge is needed for one to become a qualified podopaediatrician. This ensures that all practitioners in the UK abide by stringent standards that ensure the safety of children receiving any podiatric care.

What happens during a podopaediatrics appointment?

Sessions are straightforward and usually involve both parent and child. The podiatrist responsible for delivering treatment will first examine any relevant documents and ask any questions necessary to have a complete understanding of a child’s medical history. This is an important first step as it informs the podiatrist about any underlying conditions or other issues of which he or she should be aware prior to treatment. It is not uncommon for part of this history to go over things like what vaccinations your child has received. These areas may not seem relevant to you, but they can have an important medical bearing and it is better that your podiatrist be informed.

The next step is usually that the podiatrist carries out an exam of the foot to gain a better understanding of the child’s complaint and what may be causing it. If a diagnosis can’t be established through such an exam, then further testing or investigations will be arranged. If a diagnosis is made then the podiatrist will talk through a management plan with both parent and child. Such a plan usually involves steps that can be taken by the parent or child to help the condition, as well as any treatments which would help.

Don’t be surprised if the exam itself is very brief. In many cases an experienced podiatrist can gain an understanding of a child’s condition by observing them doing what they will and noting any abnormalities in the way said child is moving.

Where can I receive podopaediatric care?

Podopaediatric care is an important provision under the NHS, and many Trusts will now have their own podopaediatrician. For those that do not however, a list of qualified, trained, and accredited private podopaediatricians will be available on the HPC or SCP (Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists) websites.

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