What is HPK Podiatry

Medical Foot Care: What Does a Podiatrist Do?

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What is a Podiatrist?

Podiatrists take care of the care and health of the feet. The Podiatry Law has existed in Germany since January 2002, which precisely delimits the professional titles that exist around foot care. According to this law, "medical podiatrist" and "podiatrist" are only allowed to call themselves those who have completed a two-year full school education with a subsequent state examination. The occupational title of podiatrist, which is still relatively unknown in Germany, is derived from the Greek (podos for foot).

Difference between cosmetic and medical foot care

What is the difference between a podiatrist and the "normal" foot care offered in many cosmetic studios? Cosmetic foot care includes purely preventive and nurturing measures. This includes, above all, the professional cutting and cleaning of the nails and the removal of thickened nails and skin (calluses) that have no pathological cause such as nail fungus.

The cosmetic podiatrist removes corns, carries out nail correction and foot massage as well as advice on recommended care products. Last but not least, it beautifies the feet, for example with a nail polish.

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Podiatrist: trained in medical foot care

A podiatrist, on the other hand, not only cares for the feet, he also recognizes changes in the skin and nails in good time that require medical treatment. He is, so to speak, the mediator between patient and doctor and often works closely with orthopedic shoemakers and physiotherapists.

Due to his special training, a podiatrist is able, for example, to professionally remove warts, to make aids for pressure relief (orthoses) and to treat toes with ingrown nails. They are trained to treat nail mycoses and to manufacture artificial nail replacements (nail prostheses).

Podologist Margot Körber, who runs a practice for medical foot care in Warnitz in the state of Brandenburg, reports: "In my practice I look after many diabetics. As a result of their illness, they suffer more often than other people from foot problems, especially from athlete's foot or nail fungus. In doing so, I work closely with the doctors, especially the specialists in diabetes. Because of our extensive two-year training, as podiatrists, unlike cosmetic podiatrists, we can settle services for diabetics directly with the health insurance companies."

Properly treat nail fungus

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For whom is podiatry useful?

For certain groups of people, medical foot care at a podiatrist is appropriate. These include, for example

  • Diabetics: They are at risk for diabetic foot syndrome. The constantly high blood sugar level causes damage to nerves and circulatory disorders, the skin is dry and cracked and prone to wounds and injuries.

  • Patients with rheumatic diseases, misaligned feet and circulatory disorders (for example with venous diseases)

  • People with excessive corneal production

  • People with ingrown or curled toenails, warts, or corns

  • Patients with nail fungus and athlete's foot

In the case of nail fungus, taking care of the feet at a podiatrist is also preferable to foot care at home from a further point of view.

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Why medical foot care at a podiatrist?

Grinding and polishing devices for nail care, which are used in medical foot care, usually have very high speeds - between 30,000 and 40,000 revolutions per minute. The commercially available devices for manicures and pedicures, on the other hand, work much more slowly, for example at only around 5,000 revolutions per minute. As a result, it takes a long time to work on the nails, there is much more heat generation and the risk of injury increases.

Ilka Hamann, who runs a podiatry practice in Kiel, says: "Healthy people can certainly use hand-held devices like this without hesitation, they are particularly useful when they are out and about or on a trip. But if you have nail fungus, you should keep your hands off it In this case, he always works his nails at home with the same device and does not carry out any disinfection measures, as we do in practice, he easily carries the fungus from one nail to the next. "

"We podiatrists simply have completely different options and requirements for making our devices and aids germ-free," explains Ilka Hamann. “As far as instruments such as pliers, scissors and tweezers are concerned, we are obliged to disinfect them in the steam sterilizer. In the process, all viruses, fungi and bacterial spores are killed, the instruments become completely sterile, so that they can practically be used for surgery. "

For other areas of application such as the disinfection of treatment chairs or of skin and wounds or for cutters made of ceramic that cannot be steam-sterilized, podiatrists use special disinfectants that have been approved by the Robert Koch Institute or the German Society for Hygiene and Microbiology. Towels and mats are washed with a special disinfecting detergent. All measures for disinfecting skin, devices, instruments and surfaces must be listed in the hygiene plan and can be viewed by the patient.

How do I find a podiatrist?

Anyone who notices unusual foot problems and possibly pathological changes in the feet is well advised to consult a podiatrist instead of cosmetic foot care. A suitable podiatrist in your area can be found on the website www.podologenliste.de after entering the postcode or via our doctor search.