What is plantar pressures measured for in clinical practice?

Plantar pressure measuring is a method which is getting increasingly used in clinical assessments. It is useful to examine for things like how much force there is underneath the feet, that may be crucial to find out in those with diabetes mellitus that are vulnerable to a foot wound. Plantar pressures are also employed to help decide how people walk and the pressure shifts throughout the gait cycle. This is often useful information that will help clinicians order and design foot orthotics. This really is such an vital problem that an episode of the livestream, PodChatLive was devoted to it. PodChatlive is a Facebook live that has 2 hosts plus a different invitee on every episode where they go over subject areas of significance to podiatry as well as related issues. It's also published to YouTube and as an audio podcast.

In that episode, they discussed plantar pressures and pressure mapping with Dr Bruce Williams DPM from Indiana, USA. He is a Fellow and previous President of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine and who owns Breakthrough Podiatry in NorthWest Indiana and has substantial experience on plantar pressure measurements, pressure mapping in addition to their interpretation and clinical application. He makes use of both the in-shoe system and pressure mat devices in his center and has been doing so for almost 20 years now. He is well published on this topic in peer reviewed academic journals, so is well placed to talk about this issue. In the edition of PodChatLive they discussed exactly what the centre of pressure is and just how it can be used clinically to determine what is going on. Additionally they talked about how pressure info influences his clinical decision making, particularly foot orthotic recommending. They talked about the advantages and disadvantages of in-shoe versus the mat technology and try to provide some guidance to those who may be thinking of introducing this type of service to their clinics.

How to become a Podiatrist in Australia

A podiatrist is an health professional who specializes in treating the feet. They can address conditions for example toe fungus, ingrown nails, corns, calluses, hammer toes, skin infections and foot trauma. Podiatrists are able to do ingrown toenail surgery using a local anaesthetic. This technique is a very frequent method. They are also able to manage diabetic and also arthritic people, that might need the assistance of a podiatrist to cut their toe nails properly or to watch any kind of changes in their feet. Podiatrists also look at the blood pressure level to a clients feet to ascertain if the client has a sufficient quantity of blood flowing through to the toes. They may also manage ulcers and treat the ulcerated wounds. Within the sports medicine field, they can monitor the fitness of an athlete’s foot, manage any injuries which may have happened, observe how the athlete runs, and may advise on the most effective footwear. Sports injuries that a podiatrist may manage include plantar fasciitis, shin splints, a sprained ankle, stress fractures or Achilles tendinopathy. A podiatrist can also order and produce orthotic inserts for clients. At times a patient needs extra support in their footwear to assist them to walk without discomfort. They will assess and identify whether an orthotic insert will make a positive change. If that's the case, the podiatrist will make a model of the foot after which produce the appropriate device, regardless of whether it’s for biomechanical or palliative reasons.

A biomechanical support is a footwear insert that can help the patient to walk normally and is generally made out of a thermoplastic material. A palliative orthotic is constucted from rubber or foam and is intended to help those who have painful feet or who are suffering from ulcers to be able to wear shoes easily. Clients whose feet are deformed may be able to experience comfort when using palliative foot orthotics. Podiatrists can be employed in private practice, in private hospitals, nursing homes, sports medicine clinics or in local community health centers.

How do you become a podiatrist?

You need to complete a 4 year Bachelor of Science/Master of Podiatric Practice degree or a four year Bachelor of Podiatry degree. This is a full-time course and is offered by a few educational facilities in Australia, including La Trobe University in Melbourne and also Charles Sturt University in New South Wales. The courses include theoretical and practical classes, in addition to clinical placements. When you have become a certified podiatrist, you have got to register with the podiatry board. If you’re fascinated by the biomechanics of the feet and the number of health conditions that might present in your feet, then a vocation as a podiatristt is extremely rewarding.