Explainer: Why Study Podiatry?
Interview with Course Leader, Dr. Simon Otter
Podiatrists provide expertise in foot and ankle health, supporting people living with long-term conditions that affect the health of the foot and ankle. These can include arthritis, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease.
Course Leader of the MSc Podiatry (Pre-Registration) course at AECC University College, Dr. Simon Otter, tells us more about Podiatry and what makes it such a highly-flexible and specialist career path.
Simon is an Associate Professor in Podiatry with over 20 years in the profession. He worked as a Podiatrist in the NHS for nine years, specialising in high-risk foot care, nail surgery and musculoskeletal medicine, before taking up an academic teaching post in Podiatry at the University of Brighton.
Simon was part of the team that provided Podiatry care for the London 2012 Olympic/Paralympic Games and each year volunteers as part of the medical team at the London Marathon. He has been the Podiatry Advisor to Arthritis Care, and the England men’s senior blind football team.
Simon went on to lead the Podiatry department, before moving to New Zealand to undertake a post-doctoral research fellowship.
Prior to moving to AECC, Simon co-designed and validated the first accelerated, pre-registration MSc Podiatry in the UK and helped validate the first ever Apprenticeship for Podiatrists in the UK.
“Podiatry is one of 14 Allied Health Professions and similar to some smaller, highly-specialised professions including Therapeutic Radiographers, Orthoptists, and Prosthetists/Orthotists. Unless you’ve been to see one of us, you might not know that they exist.”
“Even within smaller professions such as Podiatry there are a range of specialisms and own area is inflammatory arthritis. I have colleagues working across a number of different areas, including; musculoskeletal complaints; rehabilitation, wound care and ulceration typically in diabetic patients; even forensics and sports medicine - Premiership football teams all have their Podiatrists, for example.
“You can also go on to pursue careers in the NHS or private practice, including additional training to provide extended scope skills. In podiatry, this can include ultrasound scanning, independent prescribing, surgery or injection therapies.”
Working as a Podiatrist
“Podiatrists see anyone with a foot problem. This could be any sort of foot pain, heel or shin pain; wounds, in-grown toenails; toe deformities such as bunions or hammer toes; children with walking problems; people with medical conditions that will affect their feet, such as diabetes, arthritic conditions, or poor circulation. It’s a big scope and the profession offers a huge amount of flexibility.
“The broad aim of a Podiatrist is to reduce pain and improve function, and in some cases to maintain tissue viability and prevent amputation depending on the patient group.
“Podiatrists see some people who are generally fit and well, but have a foot problem for us to manage, and we also see patients who have medical conditions that have an adverse impact on their feet.”
“Working as a Podiatrist gives you the opportunity to work as part of multi-disciplinary teams, with colleagues from various Allied Health Professions. I spend a lot of time working with the Primary care teams including GPs, wound care teams, community nursing and wider rheumatology teams as part of my ongoing clinical practice.”
Applicants to the Podiatry course
“Applicants to this podiatry tend to come from Natural Sciences, Psychology, and Sport Sciences – these courses make a perfect entry point to Podiatry and this course is a great fit for these graduates to complement their skills and knowledge.”
“Postgraduate students are well-equipped to manage what is expected of them when they graduate. They are well-placed to balance the academic rigour that is needed with the practical aspects of the profession.
“Students on the course are eligible for an NHS bursary. As the Podiatry course at AECC University College is 45 weeks long, you can also apply for a long course loan.”
You can find out more about funding here.
You can find out more about the role of a Podiatrist by watching this video from Health Education England.
You can read more about the Royal College of Podiatry here.
There is more information about the Podiatry profession on the More than Feet website here.
Above: Dr. Simon Otter