Foot pain is a common problem that affects individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Population-based studies show that approximately 24% of individuals who are 45 years or older experience foot and ankle pain. Additionally, various foot conditions, including nail disorders, hallux valgus, corns and calluses, are prevalent in 18-75% of people across different age groups.
When it comes to foot pain, it’s crucial to seek medical attention right away. Foot pain may arise from various factors, such as injury, overuse, structural abnormalities or underlying medical conditions. Delaying treatment can increase the risk of complications and prolong recovery time.
A qualified podiatrist can accurately diagnose the cause of pain and provide the appropriate treatment plan. Some foot conditions may require advanced treatment, such as custom orthotics or physical therapy.
“Do I need a referral to see a podiatrist?” is a valid question many people have, and the answer can depend on different factors. Read on and discover everything you need to know about podiatric appointments and referrals.
When to see a podiatrist
A podiatrist is trained to diagnose and treat conditions of the feet, ankles and lower limbs. Some podiatrists are qualified to perform foot and ankle surgery.
Podiatrists can specialise in different areas of foot care, including:
- Sports injuries
- Skin disorders
- Wound care
- Treatment of children and elderly
- Workplace health
If you are experiencing any of the following problems, it may be time to see a podiatrist:
- Corns and calluses
- Ingrown toenails
- Heel and arch pain
- Achilles tendonitis
- Bone and joint disorders
- Balance issues
- Sports injuries
- Pain or inflammation caused by gout or arthritis
- Foot problems that arise from underlying medical conditions such as diabetes
A podiatrist may prescribe proper footwear, exercises and medications such as anti-inflammatories, antibiotics and other treatments like creams and ointment. They can also recommend preventative care, including regular check-ups, proper foot hygiene and lifestyle changes.
In Australia, podiatrists must complete a Bachelor of Podiatry and be registered with the Podiatry Board of Australia. They must also ensure continuous professional development to stay abreast with the latest treatments and medical research.
A podiatrist can help alleviate foot pain, reduce the risk of future complications and enhance mobility and quality of life. Selecting a podiatrist with the appropriate specialisation allows you to receive targeted and effective treatment, leading to faster recovery.
Do you need a referral to see a podiatrist in Australia?
In most cases, a referral from a doctor isn’t required to see a podiatrist. At Podiatry First, we welcome patients with various foot problems and can provide specialised care without a referral.
Although a referral is not mandatory to see a podiatrist, it can have cost-saving benefits for some patients. Several initiatives available in Australia may assist in covering some or all of the expenses associated with podiatry treatment.
Many of Podiatry First’s services can be rebated through Medicare and private insurance, and are accepted by worker’s compensation policies and the Department of Veteran Affairs.
Payment schemes for podiatric services
Chronic Disease Management (CDM) plan or Enhanced Primary care plan (EPC)
Under Australia’s CDM scheme or EPC, qualified patients can claim a Medicare rebate for up to five appointments for selected allied health services, including podiatry. Note that a referral is needed to receive this benefit.
To be eligible, patients must have a chronic or complex medical condition that requires ongoing management. They must also have a current CDM plan prepared by their general practitioner, specifying the services they need along with their health goals and plans for attaining them.
Private health insurance
Podiatry is considered an ancillary health service, and some private health insurance companies cover the cost of treatment. Before visiting a podiatrist, review your policy and verify with your insurer the extent of your coverage to avoid surprise costs.
Also, note that you cannot claim from both your private health insurance and a CDM program rebate.
If you’ve been injured while on the job, you may be qualified to receive financial assistance for your podiatry appointments and equipment through worker’s compensation or compulsory third party (CTP) insurance.
Department of Veterans’ Affairs
The Departments of Veterans’ Affairs is a government initiative that delivers support such as healthcare assistance to war veterans, members of the Australian Defence Force, Australian Federal Police employees and their families.
Individuals with a Veteran Gold Card or Veteran White Card may receive monetary aid for some or all of their podiatrist expenses. However, a referral from a medical practitioner must be obtained specifying the condition that requires podiatric treatment.
Get holistic podiatric care at Podiatry First
Don’t hesitate to book an appointment with a podiatrist if you’re experiencing foot pain. While a referral is not always necessary to see a podiatrist, it’s advisable to review your insurance policy first for specific requirements.
Seeking prompt medical intervention for foot pain can aid in early diagnosis and improve your chances of a full recovery. At Podiatry First, we deliver holistic podiatric care to patients of all age groups. Our highly skilled podiatrists treat the underlying cause of your pain rather than merely alleviate the symptoms.
We are an NDIS-registered provider specialising in the following:
- Osteoarthritis knee treatment
- Hip bursitis treatment
- Piriformis syndrome treatment
- General Foot care
- Achilles tendonitis
- Plantar Fasciitis
- SWIFT Wart treatment
- Shockwave therapy
- Biomechanical assessment
- Ingrown toenail treatment
- Bunion treatment
- Laser fungal nail treatment
We have locations in Miranda, Sydney CBD and Bondi Junction. Call us at (02) 9387 1545 to book an appointment.Leave a reply