The terms Podiatrist and Chiropodist are, for the most part, interchangeable.
However, commonly a Chiropodist may focus on 'routine care'. This may involve the treatment of ingrown toe nails or the cutting or corns and calluses.
Typically graduates from both Universities in Ireland that offer Podiatry undergraduate courses refer to themselves as Podiatrist. Such practitioners consider the relationship between the foot, lower limb and the rest of the body - the biomechanical function and relationship of all anatomical elements when diagnosing and treating conditions affecting the foot/lower extremity.
Our Podiatrists are medically trained practitioners who specialise in treating conditions and injuries affecting the foot, ankle and lower extremity.
In many cases your foot, ankle and leg pain dissipates following rest, when treated with ice or anti-inflammatories, or by changing your footwear. However, when such pain or discomfort does not resolve itself quickly, then you need a Podiatrist. At Firefly Foot & Ankle Clinics we are experts in the treatment of occupational and sports injuries. We also assess and treat acute complications.
Foot orthotics, orthotics, or orthoses [plural] are devices that have been used for decades to treat many problems that affect the foot, ankle or lower extremity.
Foot orthotics can come in many forms. They can be bought Over The Counter [OTC] or they may be custom made.
The function of an insole is to provide a layer of comfort and shock absorption in a shoe or footwear. An orthotic is designed to address the biomechanics of the foot. An orthotic will alter the posture of the foot to relieve pain and optimise the functionality of your foot.
Over time, repetitive forces on the foot can lead to damage, resulting in pain. This occurs as a result of overuse and can present in a variety of scenarios. For example, running amplifies forces of movement on the foot, ankle, knee and hip. When running, the foot repetitively strikes the ground with a force that far exceeds walking. Here runners commonly experience foot pain that can be alleviated through prescribed custom made orthotics.
However, foot pain is not exclusive to high level activity. Patients who engage in all levels of activity can pain that is treatable with orthotic therapy.
Custom made orthotics are designed to meet the needs of the patient. Device design can also take account of the footwear for which the patient intends to wear in concert with the orthotic. For example a female patient may have a set of orthotics designed to be worn dress shoes and a set designed for wear in sports shoes. Each set will combine different materials. The materials used will depend on the foot type, the diagnosed condition, level of activity and the forces required to achieve the desired foot posture.
As previously discussed, custom made orthotics and OTCs serve different purposes. Functional custom made orthoses are designed to alter the forces exerted on the foot in an effort to reduce pain or improve the patient’s biomechanics.
When first prescribed orthotics, it is advised to only wear them for short periods of time. This allows the patient’s foot to adjust. As time passes the patient should become more accustomed to the orthotics. Your Firefly podiatrist is best placed to advise on when to wear your orthotics. Certain orthotics are designed with certain footwear and should only be worn during particular activities or with the suitable footwear.