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25 July 2019

Podiatrists: What they do and how they can help you.

Your feet are definitely not the first things that come to mind when thinking about your health! But you might be surprised to know that looking after your feet is an important part of overall wellbeing and can help manage or prevent painful conditions.

Continuing our series on allied health professionals, today we take a look at the people who specialise in caring for our feet: podiatrists.

But first, a quick recap on the allied health professionals series.

Click on the links below to find out more about how these professionals can help you.

So, what exactly do podiatrists do?

Podiatrists are experts in looking after feet including the heels, ankles and toes, as well as the lower legs. They are able to diagnose and treat conditions associated with these parts of the body and help manage the impact of disabilities that affect the lower legs and feet.

The conditions podiatrists can treat include:

  • Bone and joint disorders

  • Heel and arch pain

  • Foot injuries

  • Calluses, bunions, corns and infections

  • Arthritis

  • Circulation issues

  • Balance issues.

Podiatrists also specialise in the identification of appropriate supports that can help you move better including orthotics, splints and prosthetic limbs.

How can podiatrists help NDIS participants?

1.     Finding the right footwear.

Podiatrists can help you to find appropriate shoes for your abilities and feet. In some cases, a disability may mean it is difficult or uncomfortable to wear standard shoes. Podiatrists can arrange and fit footwear made specially for you.

2.     Custom orthotics.

Orthotics are heel or shoe inserts made from foam, plastic or carbon fibre. They can be purchased from a store or custom made. Orthotics slip inside one or both shoes and can be beneficial for people with foot pain or foot conditions that affect your ability to walk, run or stand. They are often prescribed along with other supportive inserts or aids.

3.     Help with getting your shoes on.

If a disability makes it difficult for you to put your shoes on, a podiatrist may be able to source shoes with no tie shoelaces or special zipper systems. They can also recommend shoe horns to help you slip shoes on without the need to bend down and aids for putting on socks or stockings.

4.     General foot maintenance.

If you have trouble reaching your feet to carry out basic foot care such as cutting or clipping and filing your toenails, a podiatrist can look after them for you.

NDIS budgets for working with a podiatrist.

  • Capacity Building supports

These supports help build your skills so you can reach your long-term goals and become more independent.

If a podiatrist helps you achieve one of your NDIS goals, such as putting your own shoes on or taking care of your own feet, you may be able to use funding from your Capacity Building budget to work with a podiatrist.

  • Core supports

Some of the items prescribed by a podiatrist are considered ‘assistive technologies’ under the Consumables budget. Such items may include shoe horns, adaptive foot care equipment, some off-the-shelf orthotics and elastic laces. These items are considered to be “low risk, low cost assistive technologies” and in most cases, NDIS participants can self-manage these funds and pay the provider directly.

  • Capital supports

Dedicated capital supports funding is generally required for customised or custom-made prosthetic or orthotic supports and splints. A quote is often required before these items can be approved for purchase.

We can help.

If you think a podiatrist may be able to assist you to live your best life, it is important to set some related goals in time for your next NDIS Plan meeting.

The Leap in! mobile app (also now available on the Leap in! website) has a dedicated section for setting and managing goals which will make preparing for your meeting easier.

If you would like to find out more, call the Leap in! Crew on 1300 05 78 78, email or sign up to Leap in! plan management today.