About podiatrists

A podiatrist is a university-trained health professional who diagnoses, treats and prevents problems with feet and lower legs.

Podiatrists work in several different settings including private clinics, community health centres and private and public hospitals.

Why your child might see a podiatrist

A podiatrist can diagnose, treat and prevent a range of conditions, including ingrown toenails, toenail infections, warts, odd-shaped toenails, curly toes, and foot or lower leg pain.

You might also take your child to a podiatrist if she has flat feet or feet that turn inward or outward, or if she walks up on her toes regularly.

A podiatrist can let you know what shoes will be best for your child. The podiatrist might also say that your child needs to wear special insoles (‘orthotics’) to help with foot or leg pain, or improve walking.

You don’t need a GP referral to see a podiatrist, but your GP or child and family health nurse is always a good place to start if you’re worried about your child’s health or development. Your GP or child and family health nurse can help you decide about seeing a podiatrist and help you find someone who’s right for your child.

Before going to a podiatrist

Before seeing the podiatrist, it’s a good idea to find out some information about:

  • Why you’re going to the podiatrist: talk with your GP about why your child needs to see a podiatrist and whether there’s anything you can do while you’re waiting for an appointment.
  • Waiting list: how long before you can get an appointment to see the podiatrist?
  • Making an appointment: it might take you more than one phone call to make an appointment.
  • Cost: how much will the appointment with the podiatrist cost? It might be expensive, so you could check whether you’re eligible for Medicare, private health insurance or another rebate.
  • Location: find out where you have to go to see the podiatrist – for example, a public or private hospital, health centre or private clinic. You might have to travel further than you expect, depending on your child’s needs.

You can talk about these things and any other questions you have with your GP before you go to the podiatrist. You could also ask the podiatrist’s clinic when you make your appointment. It’s a good idea to write down any questions you have, so you don’t forget.