Podiatrists in Singapore: Are they doctors?
If you’ve been suffering from unbearable pain on your feet and legs lately, that could be an indication of something serious. So, it’s a wise idea to consult with a doctor specialising in this case.
However, you may be torn on what doctor to see. Should it be an orthopaedic doctor, ankle doctor, or a podiatrist?
In this quick guide, we’ve gathered some common information about podiatrists here in Singapore and whether they are recognised as doctors or not. Ready to find out? Let’s go!
What is a podiatrist?
Podiatrists are medical specialists who focus on treating problems that affect the lower legs, feet, ankle, heel, and toenails. They provide diagnosis and treatments for foot disease and injuries as well.
Also, they are certified to conduct surgery, prescribe drugs, order lab tests, and repair broken bones. Often, they are also known as podiatric physicians.
Notably, they aim to restore the ideal health and normal condition of the foot. Podiatrists also check each patient’s proper leg function and mobility to prevent painful complications from happening.
Are podiatrists recognised as doctors?
Technically, podiatrists are doctors. Although they haven’t attended traditional medical schools, they have professional associations and a “DPM” (doctor of podiatric medicine) attached after their names.
Instead, podiatry is classified as an allied health profession. In fact, it’s an internationally recognised healthcare service in most developed countries.
In Singapore, most licensed podiatrists are qualified in the United Kingdom and Australia. This is because Singapore doesn’t currently have podiatry programmes in most of its universities.
On one hand, podiatrists in Singapore focus more on conservative options and non-invasive treatments to cure foot conditions. That said, they also work with other specialists and surgeons when it comes to severe patient cases.
Why should you see a podiatrist?
Your feet carry your weight daily, so it’s expected that you must take good care of it. Due to its complex nature, your bones, ligaments, and tendons have to work together in order for you to walk.
So any discomfort you feel on the feet and legs can extremely create a major halt on your daily activities. That said, it’s advisable to go to your doctor for a health consultation.
Here are some of the reasons why you should see a podiatrist:
- Excruciating foot or leg pain
- Scaling or peeling on your soles
- Discoloured toenails
- Dry cracks in your skin
- Sudden growth of warts
In some cases, your doctor may run some tests to look at how you’ll stand and walk. They will check how you move, and even look at how your shoes fit.
Usually, your first visit will focus on treating ingrown nails, bunions, and pain in the heel area. On one hand, your doctor will prioritise checking the circulation in your feet if you have conditions like deformities or diabetes.
What services do podiatrists offer?
Podiatrists offer a wide scope of services. That includes improving the foot condition through orthotics, physical therapy, non-invasive procedures, and surgery.
They can also design a customised treatment plan based on your medical assessment and history. Some conditions can even be resolved quickly, while others may require several sessions.
The following are some of the many foot-related conditions that podiatrists can treat:
- Nail disorders
- Bunions and hammertoes
- Sprains and fractures
- Diseases like arthritis and diabetes
- Heel and ankle pain
- Recurring or growing pains
Moreover, this is an outpatient service found in polyclinics, private hospitals, and local public hospitals as well.