Podiatrists play an important role in the maintenance of mobility, general health and independence of all members of the community, from 1 year to 90 years old. Podiatrists diagnose, assess and treat disorders of the foot and lower limbs using mechanical, surgical, medical and palliative methods and procedures.
Podiatrists carry out biomechanical assessment of patients and prescribe and make orthotics. They treat nail and skin conditions in a range of patient groups from in-grown toe nails in young people to open wounds in patients with diabetes. They are able to prescribe x-rays, ultrasounds and MRI's and use these as independent practitioners to treat problems in the lower limb. Podiatrists are able to give local analgesics and carry out soft tissue surgeries. The Course at Charles Sturt University provides the basis for post-graduate prescription of a range of other medications that will assist the health and wellbeing of patients. A number of podiatrists go on to become trained as surgical podiatrists who are able to carry out bone surgery on the foot. Podiatrists are involved in targeted screening in high risk populations such as those with diabetes and can provide treatment strategies that can delay and prevent hospitalisation. Podiatrists carry out the same physical therapies used by physiotherapists including exercise, ultrasound and hot and cold therapy, making them the lower limb specialists.
The Bachelor of Podiatric Medicine course at Charles Sturt University has a strong emphasis on the clinical practices associated with podiatry and this is complemented with studies in anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, surgery, pharmacology, health promotion and medical sciences. Students will be required to undertake clinical practice throughout the course.