Now you’re probably wondering how is it possible to study feet for four years. Feet look simple, but the foot itself is a very complex mechanical system that requires bones, ligaments and tendons to all work together. For that to happen, the leg has to function correctly. For the foot and the leg to function correctly, both the hip and spine have to function correctly. This means there is a lot to learn.
Before I talk about what you study in podiatry, here are some facts about feet:
- Each foot has 26 bones – both feet contain nearly one quarter of all the bones (206) of the body.
- Each foot is made up of a complex network of over 100 tendons, ligaments, and muscles.
- Every step places 1.5 times your body weight of pressure on your foot.
Just a quick note, at university “subjects” are called “units”. I must admit I still use the term subjects at times (once a school student always a school student!).
Now for the good stuff, what are some of these cool subjects/units you study in podiatry?
Many injuries can occur in the lower limb during sporting activities and it can be up to a podiatrist to diagnose what that injury is. The podiatry course has a sports medicine and rehabilitation unit that teaches you how to assess, diagnose and rehabilitate a number of sporting injuries, such as an ankle sprain. Treatment for an injury can include strapping, ultrasound therapy and strengthening and stretching exercises.
Have you ever broken a bone and wondered what you’re looking at on your x-ray? Now you can solve the mystery! In the course you not only learn how to interpret x-rays, but also magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound images. You can then take this knowledge and apply it to patients in the QUT Health Clinic when they bring in their medical images. You can also impress your family and friends with your awesome knowledge!
Podiatrists in Queensland can now receive an endorsement for scheduled medicines. What does that mean? Basically podiatrists, with further study after uni, can get their prescribing rights for certain drugs, such as antifungals for fungal infections. In the podiatry degree there are three pharmacology units in total. The first unit is general pharmacology which teaches you about all the drugs for different medical conditions, not just podiatry related ones. As the units progress, they become more podiatry specific.
Podiatry isn’t all about cutting toenails. If someone has a badly ingrown toe nail and you can’t cut it, what do you do? You inject their toe with anaesthetic and surgically remove it of course! Later on in the course (once you know what you’re cutting) you learn surgery techniques for ingrown toenails and also how to administer local anaesthetic. Sounds gruesome, but cutting toenails correctly in the first place can help avoid a lot of pain down the road. Remember, podiatrists aren’t crazy people who purposely give patients ingrown nails just so they can do surgery.
You can see there is much more to podiatry that just feet and cutting toenails. Hopefully this gives you a glimpse into what you can study in podiatry. If you’re undecided, there are many people you can talk to about career choices in school and at university. If you want to see a list of all the units you study in podiatry, just click here to go to the course structure page.
P.S don’t be afraid of having a foot fetish.