Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

All your podiatry questions, Answered

Q. What is a podiatrist?

A. Podiatrists are Doctors of Podiatric Medicine, DPM. Podiatrists are also called podiatric physicians and surgeons. Podiatrists often diagnose and treat conditions of the foot, ankle and other related structures of the leg.

Q. What services do podiatrists provide?

A. Podiatrists offer a wide variety of services from the treatment of calluses to the treatment of bone and joint disorders. For conditions such as recurring sprains and chronic pain, podiatrists may prescribe foot orthoses. The scope of practice of the podiatrist includes fields such as pediatrics, diabetes, sports injuries, structural problems, treatment of the elderly as well as general foot care. Podiatrists who have additional qualifications and are registered can also carry out foot surgery.

Q. When should I call a podiatrist for an appointment?

A. There is a wide range of reasons to see a podiatrist, but some typical foot conditions include heel pain, bunions, ingrown toenails, tinea, corns and calluses. Here are a few typical examples of how a person might see a podiatrist:

  • Patient with diabetes and peripheral vascular disease, or neuropathy
  • Clinical diagnosis or history of foot or lower limb deformity
  • Clinical diagnosis of falls
  • Arthritis
  • Soft tissue and muscular pathologies
  • Circulatory diseases

Q. Do I need a referral?

A. No. You can simply call us on (03) 5893 4000 to make an appointment, although your GP can also refer you. If a health provider does refer you, please remember to bring your referral letter to your appointment.

Q. How often should I see a Podiatrist for general foot care?

A. This depends on the individual, their podiatric concerns and how quickly they develop. On average I see most patients on a 6-8 weekly basis for general nail and skincare. For some, this is every 4 weeks due to quickly growing nails and callous or corns which develop in a short period of time. For others, I may only see them once or twice a year for a ‘clean up’ which allows them to care for their feet at home in between.

Q. Does Medicare cover podiatry?

A. Generally, podiatry services are not covered by Medicare. However, if you have a chronic medical condition like diabetes or osteoarthritis you may be eligible to access podiatry services under a Medicare enhanced primary care plan. In order to access the scheme, a general practitioner referral is required.

Q. Can I claim my podiatry appointment with my private health insurance?

A. Private health funds do cover ancillary health services that include podiatry. Whether your cover includes podiatry will depend on the level of cover that you have with your provider. Whether you are eligible to claim back your podiatry charges will depend on the scope of your insurance coverage.

Q. Do you accept department of Veterans Affairs claims?

A. Yes, we do accept DVA claims for a gold card or white cardholders. Your eligibility to receive DVA-funded podiatry care will depend on the type of card you have. Check with your GP, or hospital discharge doctor, if you are entitled to DVA’s Allied Health Services Podiatry Treatment Cycle. Each referral lasts for up to 12 sessions or 12 months, whichever ends first, and there are no limits to the number of treatment cycles you can have.

Q. What is an Enhanced Primary Care Program?

A. An EPC is a plan on the Medicare Benefits Schedule where GPs are able to plan treatment for patients who suffer from a chronic or terminal medical condition to receive Medicare rebates for podiatry services.

Q. What Causes Foot Pain?

A. The foot is a very complex structure and therefore can become sore for a variety of reasons. Common causes of foot pain include sports injuries, poorly fitted shoes, health problems and trauma. They can be a combination of many predisposing factors or an effect of a single cause. The day to day stresses on the foot can be aggravated by various environments and conditions such as in workplaces and sports. Poor biochemical alignment, ill-fitted, or inappropriate footwear can also lead to foot discomfort.

Q. Do you sterilise your instruments?

A. Yes, we regularly sterilise our equipment and adopt industry best practices to keep our patients safe and cared for at all times.

Q. Do you do home visits?

A. Yes, we do provide home visits. A home visit adds costs due to the length of time it takes to leave the clinic and visit your home.

Q. Will you tell me to wear sensible shoes all the time?

A. Not always. We work with our patients and factor their lifestyles into our treatment plan. It may be that we encourage you to wear sensible shoes for part of the day but we understand everyone’s requirements are different.

Q. What are corns and calluses?

A. Corns and calluses are thick, hardened layers of skin. The development of corn and calluses occur when your skin tries to protect itself against friction and pressure. 
The most common areas of development are on your feet and toes. If corns and calluses are causing you discomfort you should seek treatment. We provide treatment for these somewhat unsightly painful conditions. Don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Q. What is a Hammertoe?

A. Hammertoe is a contracture (bending) of one or both joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes. This abnormal bending can put pressure on the toe when wearing shoes, causing painful problems. Conservative and surgical treatment options are available for the treatment of Hammertoes.

Q. What causes heel pain?

A. Typically, heel pain is not caused by one single incident or injury. Repetitive stress/pounding of the heel can cause heel pain. Other common causes can include inflammation of the plantar fascia, inflammation of the back of the heel, inflammation of the heel pad, progressive degeneration of the Achilles tendon, or a stress fracture which could be caused by repetitive stress to the heel.

Q. What are orthotics?

A. Orthotics are custom foot supports that replace the over the counter supports that come in shoes you buy off the shelf at the store. These are designed to hug your foot more efficiently than over the counter products to significantly aid in balancing the biomechanical inadequacies of your feet and legs.

Q. How can you tell if you have an infected ingrown toenail?

A. You may have an infected ingrown toenail if there are any signs of redness, swelling, pain, and drainage such as puss coming from the area. If you notice any of these symptoms contact your, podiatric physician, immediately.

Q. What is plantar fasciitis?

A. The plantar fascia is the thick connective tissue on the bottom of the foot. This tissue connects the heel bone to the toes. It is responsible for creating the arch in your foot. Plantar Fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia.