Exploring the Benefits of Combined Physiotherapy and Podiatry Treatments

Podiatrists treat a wide range of muscle, bone and tendon conditions that affect the feet and ankles. They often consult with physiotherapists when they suspect a pathological gait pattern is caused by something higher up in the body such as the knee, hip or spine.

Having both health professionals in the same appointment allows for a comprehensive assessment of your condition from the start. This results in better treatment outcomes and reduced reliance on pain medications.

Physiotherapy

Podiatry and physiotherapy are two healthcare professions that play a crucial role in the management of musculoskeletal conditions. Both offer personalized assessments, diagnoses and treatments for a wide range of foot and ankle conditions as well as other broader musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain. However, they differ in terms of their scopes of practice, expertise, treatment approaches and referral requirements.

Physiotherapists at Toowoomba physiotherapy clinic are skilled in using manual therapy interventions to alleviate pain and improve muscle flexibility, strength, and mobility. They can also provide valuable education on proper body mechanics and injury prevention strategies.

Podiatrist Toowoomba is a medical professional who specializes in diagnosing, treating and preventing conditions related to the feet, ankles and lower legs. They use a variety of tools such as syringes to administer pain medications, nail splitters and nail anvils for ingrown toenails, scalpels and cryotherapy equipment to freeze off plantar warts.

A physiotherapist will assess the biomechanical function of the lower leg and hip muscles and the joints in your foot and ankle to identify the root cause of your pain and develop an appropriate treatment plan. They may recommend arch supports or orthotics, shoe advice and a programme of stretching exercises to help reduce the symptoms of shin splints. In addition, they can help you build up the muscles and ligaments in your foot and ankle by providing you with a program of progressive resistance exercises.

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Podiatry

Podiatrists are trained to assess and treat a wide range of foot and ankle conditions. They can provide custom orthotic inserts to support the feet and lower limbs, redistribute pressure, enhance shock absorption, and correct imbalances that can contribute to injury.

In addition, podiatrists can help you develop a comprehensive exercise program that will increase the strength and flexibility of your feet and ankles to decrease the likelihood of future injuries. For example, if you have an abnormal walking pattern that leads to poor biomechanics of the foot and ankle, such as overpronation, a podiatrist can teach you exercises to prevent this from happening again.

Our co-founders, PhysioPod founders Lauren Earles and Luke Bertram have discovered that combining the expertise of both a physiotherapist and a podiatrist in one initial appointment achieves optimal outcomes. This is the concept behind the Collective Body Consult.

A physiotherapist and podiatrist are both highly specialised healthcare professionals that work together to improve musculoskeletal health and function in the feet and ankles. They have different areas of focus but are both important members of your healthcare team. Understanding their differing roles can help you decide which healthcare professional you should see when managing your musculoskeletal conditions.

Collaborative Care

The collaborative care model involves two healthcare professionals who specialize in different areas of the body working together. This allows each profession to share their expertise and treatment approaches without competing for patients. The two professions have a shared goal of improving patient outcomes. This approach to healthcare is becoming increasingly popular in the US and other countries. It also reflects current health policy encouraging “one-stop-shop” services that meet patient demand at the point of contact.

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Podiatrists often refer to physical therapists for foot and ankle problems. This ensures that each professional provides a complete and comprehensive assessment of the problem. In addition, it eliminates the need for patients to receive a referral from their primary care physician.

Physiotherapists are trained to assess and treat the entire musculoskeletal system using a wide range of techniques including targeted exercises, stretches and manual techniques such as joint manipulation and dry needling. This enables them to identify whether the pain is caused by an imbalance of muscles or movement patterns in other parts of the body.

In a recent randomized clinical trial, participants were referred to either their podiatrist or to both their podiatrist and a physical therapist. The physical therapists followed up with patients as recommended by the podiatrist and sent progress notes to the podiatrist before each follow-up appointment. The results of this study showed that the uPOD+PT group had a faster response to treatment than the uPOD only group.

Preventive Care

Physiotherapists are trained to assess and treat the entire musculoskeletal system, including joints and the feet. They are also able to design preventive exercises and techniques to strengthen specific muscles, improve flexibility, and enhance mobility, reducing the risk of future injury. They often incorporate these strategies into their care plans for patients with foot and ankle injuries.

Unlike podiatrists, physiotherapists are able to identify and treat pathological gait patterns that are caused by musculoskeletal problems such as excessive load on one side of the body (hip hiking) during swing phase or an excessive heel strike in stance phase. They can then prescribe biomechanical devices such as functional orthotics to modify the angles of movement in the lower extremity which will reduce the load on certain tendons, bones and other structures.

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During the study, participants with a primary diagnosis of plantar fasciitis will be randomized to receive usual podiatric care (uPOD) or uPOD+PT treatment. Participants in the uPOD group will receive care consistent with current practice guidelines for this condition, which includes foot taping/padding, home stretching exercise instructions, over-the-counter arch support and heel cup, shoe recommendations, oral anti-inflammatories and corticosteroid injections as necessary. Participants in the uPOD+PT treatment group will receive this care plus physical therapy. All participants will be followed for 6 months for the primary outcome measure of change in their FAAM activities-of-daily living score and secondary outcomes including NPRS and patient-reported success.

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