Nav: Home | Inst. | Burs. | Careers
Podiatrists, or chiropodists as they are also known, are health care professionals who care for human feet comprehensively. They keep feet in a healthy state and diagnose and treat injuries to, and abnormalities of, feet.

Podiatrists are concerned with both the prevention and the cure of foot disorders. If a patient has a problem, a meticulous overview of the problem is first required before treatment can begin. After a thorough physical examination, which may include X-rays, the podiatrist analyzes and interprets all the relevant information and then decides on an appropriate course of treatment.

These treatments may include the administering of medicine, the prescription of exercises or special shoes and other aids. Sometimes podiatrists design special devices to help their patient overcome foot problems. For example, a plaster cast of the foot can be made and an insole or orthotic made of plastics or other artificial material can be manufactured.

The duties of podiatrists also include ordinary foot care, for example, the cutting of toenails and the removal of calluses and corns, especially for the aged and infirm. Doctors often refer patients with conditions such as knock-knees, inwardly turned feet, uneven tread or sports injuries to podiatrists.

Podiatrists also treat abnormal skin conditions of the foot, for example, fungal infections. Their medical background and comprehensive knowledge of the foot also enables them to diagnose diseases which initially manifest themselves in the patient's limbs and feet. If the symptoms in the foot suggest other problems, the patient would then be referred by the podiatrist to a medical specialist.

Podiatrists are legally restricted in the extent to which they may prescribe medicine. They are able, however, to use local anaesthesia for performing minor surgery such as the removal of a toenail. Involvement in Primary Health Care Education is also becoming part of podiatrists' community involvement.

Satisfying Aspects
- helping others
- working with people
- the possibility of being self-employed

Demanding aspects
- keeping abreast of the latest developments in this field
- performing minor operations
- having to work hours that suit your patients

A podiatrist should:
- have a desire to help others;
- get along well with people;
- have manual dexterity;
- have a sound scientific knowledge of the foot and the body;
- have good health and vision.

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences
Recommended Subjects: Mathematics

Diploma: N.H.Dip. Podiatry (4 years) - UJ, and includes subjects such as Podiatric Medicine, Anatomy, Therapeutics, Surgery and Clinical Studies.

Students come into contact with patients in the clinics from the second year of study, and this contact increases every year.

This course is recognized by the Professional Board for Podiatry for registration. In the fourth year of study, students have to pass the B.Tech. Podiatry before being permitted to register with the Interim National Medical and Dental Council of SA (INMDC of SA). Registration with the INMDC of SA is necessary in order to practise..

- Hospitals, clinics and old age homes
- Manufacturers of orthotics or appliances for the foot
- Medical and nursing schools
- Private practice (own or in partnership)

South African Orthotics and Prosthetics Association (SAOPA)
P O Box 27011
Greenacres, 6057
Port Elizabeth, 6045
Tel: (041) 363-9781 Fax: (041) 363-1551
Cell: 082 550-6483

Faculty of Health and Biotechnology
University of Johannesburg (Wits Tech)
P O Box 17011
Doornfontein, 2028
Tel: (011) 406-2911

University of Johannesburg (Wits Tech)