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Podiatry – Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a referral from my family physician to see a podiatrist?

No. Although many patients are referred by their physician, a referral is not necessary. You can simply contact North Hill Foot & Ankle Clinic directly and make an appointment at your convenience.

How are services billed?

Podiatric medicine in Alberta is considered an allied health service and is partially funded by Alberta Health and Wellness. Benefits payable for each resident of Alberta for podiatric services are limited to a maximum of $250 for each benefit period. In the form of a co-payment, the patient contributes to the total cost of the treatment. Co-payment amounts are based on recommendations from the Alberta Podiatry Association.

Who can use podiatric services?

Any Albertan can use the services for any foot or ankle problem.

Do more women have foot problems than men?

Women have about four times as many foot problems as men; lifelong patterns of wearing high heels are often the culprit.

How much pressure is on your foot while walking?

There are times when you are walking that the pressure on your feet exceeds your body weight by three to four times, and when you are running it can be four to five times your body weight.

What tips should I follow when shopping for shoes?

Shopping for shoes is best done in the afternoon according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. Your feet tend to swell a little during the day, making the afternoon a good time to try on shoes. Have your feet measured every time you purchase shoes, and do it while you're standing. When you try on shoes, try them on both feet; many people have one foot larger than the other, and it's best to fit the larger foot.

Chances are the shoe that feels the best to wear is the one that fits. Properly fitted shoes should not need to have a "break-in" period – the heel should fit snugly, the instep should not gape open, and there should be 1/4" - 1/2" between the end of the big toe and the front of the shoe. The most important tip is to buy your shoes from an established retailer with a reputation for good customer service and staff that is qualified to fit shoes properly.

How should toenails be trimmed?

Trim your toenails straight across with clippers specially designed for the purpose. Leave them slightly longer than the tips of your toes.

What exercise is safe for your feet and good for your overall health?

Walking is the best exercise for your feet. It also contributes to your general health by improving circulation, contributing to weight control and promoting all around well-being.

Can serious medical problems first show up in the feet?

Your feet mirror your general health. Such conditions as arthritis, diabetes, nerve and circulatory disorders can show their initial symptoms in the feet, so foot problems can be your first sign of more serious medical problems.

Are you born with foot problems or do they develop later?

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, only a small percentage of the population is born with foot problems. Neglect, a lack of awareness and lack of proper care—including ill-fitting shoes—bring on many foot problems.

How much sweat do your feet produce each day?

There are approximately 250,000 sweat glands in a pair of feet, and they excrete as much as half a pint of moisture each day.

How many bones are in a foot?

The foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles.

What is the difference between a Pedorthist and a Podiatrist?

Pedorthists are allied health care professionals (combination of academic and technical training) who specialize in manufacturing, fitting, and modifying footwear for the purposes of alleviating painful or debilitating conditions of the lower limb. Certified pedorthists' services are available only by prescription from a qualified health care professional.

Podiatrists are foot health care professionals (university based graduate program with residency training) who specialize in diagnosing, treating and preventing a variety of foot and ankle conditions, including those for which custom foot orthotics are commonly prescribed. Many podiatrists prescribe and dispense foot orthotics directly from their practice and are experts in offering overall foot health care advice.

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