Which Injury Specialist: Podiatrists

When to go, what to expect

Posted: 5 June 2000
by Rob Watts

Practice The myth is that podiatrists won’t give you a second thought unless you’re laid low with foot pain. In actual fact, although podiatrists do specialise in the lower body, podiatry is essentially the treatment of gait and posture problems, which could be located anywhere from your neck to your toes.

But as Cardiff podiatrist Gareth Bamsey explains, many gait and posture problems do stem from the feet. “It’s a skyscraper’s base that makes it so sturdy,” he says. “Take a look at the foundations of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and you’ll soon see why the tower’s neighbours have got something to worry about.”

Minimum qualification Anyone can practice as a podiatrist, but to be a state- registered podiatrist you require a three-year BSc in podiatry.

Injuries treated All foot injuries. These include plantar fasciitis (heel pain), bone spurs, hammer toes, bunions and severe toenail and blister pain. Also, leg problems caused by improper foot plant.

When to go When a leg or foot injury – even a blister or an ingrown toenail – causes ongoing problems or forces you to change your running gait. If you don’t seek treatment you risk another related injury.

What to expect While examining your foot, the podiatrist will listen to your description of what hurts and how you became injured. In making a diagnosis, the podiatrist may take x-rays.

Although some podiatrists have treadmills and video cameras in their office for gait analysis (typically for overpronation cases), they often learn as much from inspecting your running shoes, so be sure to bring them along to the appointment.

Case study Bamsey recently treated a 31-year-old suffering from pain in the right knee, just below the patella. The patient managed to clock his 50 miles a week, but felt sore afterwards. After consulting his GP with little success, and with the pain becoming worse, he visited Bamsey.

A biomechanical study revealed that he overpronated; not drastically, but enough in over 20 years of running to erode the cartilage in his knee. The runner was given a pair of tailor-made orthoses and instructed not to run for a week. Over a month the runner returned gradually to his usual mileage. He no longer suffers pain, and considers his orthoses just another part of his body.

Cost of treatment Just as with all of these specialists, podiatrists can charge what they like, and prices vary vastly. Limited consultations can cost £15-£80, and subsequent treatments from £20-£100. Orthoses can be priced anywhere from £15-£200, depending upon what they’re made from, what your problem is, and where the podiatrist’s practice is.

Contact The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists; 020 7234 8620 e-mail cs@scpod.org; www.feetforlife.org

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Discuss this article

Dear all

I have come to the end of my patience with the ongoing recurrence of shin splints. Having visited a podiatrist on several occassions and fitted out with a pair of orthoses I had hoped that the problem would disappear. Unfortunately it has returned! I have tried giving it two periods of rest of 1 week and 3 weeks respectively. After both periods the pain returned only after 3/4 short runs. I have been to another podiatrist seeking a second opinion but she essentially agreed with the course of action taken by my original podiatrist and has advised acupuncture. Does anyone have any experience with this? I would be very grateful for your help.
Jake Egberts
Posted: 11/03/2003 at 13:27

Have a look at:

Posted: 11/03/2003 at 14:05

Acupuncture????? I've had many different orthotics and seen many different people for my problems but no one has ever suggested this. Where are you located?
Posted: 11/03/2003 at 17:41


I just wanted to say that I went to a sports physio who gave my acupuncture for a muscle strain. I muscle running up the inside of my shin (Is that shin splints?) was giving me all sorts of pain.

Anyway after a couple of sessions it has really done the business. And I am back to full training.

Give it a go. It worked for me.
Posted: 11/03/2003 at 17:49

The bulk of my shin splints - lifelong really bad - related to quad problems - reducing the full extension movement of the knee. Sorting that last year (involves going every month to the physios) cured 100% in one leg and 80% in the other - orthotics got rid of the rest.

There's so many possible causes you're going to have to keep on at finding the root cause - but there will be one.

Good Luck
Posted: 11/03/2003 at 21:42

I had major sin splints problems from sept last year upto xmas, and it affected my marathon training badly. Then after seeking various opinions from running mates, i decided to rest for 4 weeks and not run on the roads, but spent intense cross training such as swimming, cycling, rowing and various leg workouts in gym. I also went and done a foot scan and bought 2 new pairs of shoes to alternate between racing and training. Anyway to cut a long story short, shin splits are a thing of the past now and running the best i've ever run at the moment. Sometimes, people heal differently, but i definitely think that building up sufficient muscles and working different muscles in the leg help clear the problem.
Posted: 11/03/2003 at 22:50

Could also do with some advice regarding shin splints. I'm training for the Edinburgh marathon and its not getting any easier. Find running hard at best of times, but shins are sore just walking now. Have tried rest periods and alternating gym workouts, but am finding it really hard now to keep motivated. Help!
Posted: 11/04/2003 at 16:21

Jake.... I have had accupuncture by my physio for damage to the peroneus brevus longus tendons in my right leg...
I can only speak from my experience, but after 3 sessions I ran/walked the Conne half, pain free, where before it felt like I was walking on broken glass! I had one more session and have now resumed training, and all seems well!
I know this is a different injury to yours, but I thought a positive experience of accupuncture might help you make a decision.
If you want anymore detail drop me an email!!
Posted: 11/04/2003 at 20:30

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