The Role and Scope of Practice of the Podiatrist
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The Role and Scope of Practice of the Podiatrist in Modern Health Care in Ireland Students of the first cohort of Podiatry at NUI Galway School of Health Sciences, National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland. What is Podiatry?. Who do Podiatrists Treat?.

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The Role and Scope of Practice of the Podiatrist

in Modern Health Care in Ireland

Students of the first cohort of Podiatry at NUI Galway

School of Health Sciences, National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland

What is Podiatry?

Who do Podiatrists Treat?

What qualifications should a podiatrist have?

Podiatry is a medical profession which deals with the health and disorders of the lower limb and foot. A podiatrist works as an autonomous practitioner and will assess, diagnose and treat a wide range of lower limb disorders.

Podiatrists will treat anyone with foot problems from birth to old age. Particular patient groups include the elderly, people living with diabetes, children and people presenting with abnormalities/ deformities/ foot pathologies.

  • In Ireland Podiatrists undertake a four year Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree. The programme includes subjects such as:

  • Physiology

  • Anatomy

  • Professional Development

  • Theory of Podiatry

  • Clinical studies

  • Surgery

  • Orthotics

  • Diabetes

  • Wound care

  • The National University of Ireland, Galway offers the only Podiatry course in the Republic of Ireland.

What is the difference between Podiatry and Chiropody?

What is the scope of practice of a podiatrist?

  • Our ultimate goal is to relieve patients’ pain, and to maintain and improve our patients’ quality of life.

  • We achieve this by working as individual podiatrists but also as part of a multidisciplinary team which includes: nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, surgeons, dieticians, prosthetists etc

  • Podiatrists practice in the following areas:

  • Diabetes

  • Biomechanics

  • Orthotics

  • Podopaediatrics

  • Wound care

  • Sports Injuries

  • Podiatric surgery

  • Care of the amputee

  • Gait analysis

  • Forensic podiatry

The two terms are actually interchangeable.

The word Chiropody is derived from “Chiro” meaning hand and “pody” meaning feet. The more modern term is “podiatry” which refers to the foot. The term podiatry is used in all English speaking countries.

Knowledge and treatments in healthcare have advanced and treatment of the lower limb and feet have progressed, along side this is the increasing scope of practice of the podiatrist. The term Podiatry better reflects our modern scope of practice.

The future of Podiatry in Ireland

With the new course underway in Galway the future for Podiatry in Ireland is bright!

It is important that the public and other health professionals have a better understanding of Podiatry and this can be achieved through:

Education

Raising public awareness

Raising awareness to other health professionals regarding our scope of practice

Having confidence in our Profession

Increased job opportunities

Establishing diabetic foot services

Expanding into other areas e.g. sports injuries GAA- Gaelic football, hurling, soccer

Where do Podiatrists Work?

  • Hospitals/ HSE/ NHS

  • Private Practice

  • Nursing Homes

  • Domiciliary Visits

  • Diabetes Clinics

  • Sports Injuries/ Clubs


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