A podiatrist is a health professional who deals with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of medical and surgical conditions of the feet and lower limbs.
The conditions podiatrists treat include those resulting from bone and joint disorders such as arthritis and soft-tissue and muscular pathologies as well as neurological and circulatory diseases. Podiatrists also diagnose and treat any complications of the above which affect the lower limb, including the skin and nail disorders, corns, calluses and ingrown toenails. Foot injuries and infections gained through sport or other activities are also diagnosed and treated by podiatrists.
To become a podiatrist a practitioner must complete a university degree and be registered with state podiatry registration boards. Podiatry qualifications are specifically aimed at addressing the internal and external medicine involved in the systemic diseases and local pathology affecting the feet.
Until 1977 Australian podiatrists were known as chiropodists. The official name change to podiatry reflected the upgrading of education levels and an expansion in the scope of practice by the profession.