Podiatry is Not Alternative Medicine Says Sydney Foot Doctor
With so-called “alternative medicine” rubbing shoulders with the real thing, it’s small wonder that the public is often uncertain as to which practitioners are real medical professionals, and which ones are offering “alternatives.” Dr. Mark Lin, a leading Sydney podiatrist, explains his medical specialisation and confirms that podiatry is a science in the truest sense of the word.
Extensive Study at Mainstream Universities Plus Government Accreditation
“A career in podiatry begins at University,” explains Dr Lin. “If you’re interested in this rewarding profession, you will first complete a Bachelor of Podiatry degree. After that, you can take it even further – all the way up to PhD level. My specialisation is Sports Podiatry, but I’m also able to help in other areas including diabetes care.”
Those who, like Dr. Lin, have a passion for helping those with mobility and injury problems that have their origin in the lower limbs, will find themselves facing a 4-year full-time study curriculum. The ultimate goal is the coveted title of Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM), a qualification that recognises extensive knowledge of the surprisingly intricate physiology of the feet and their interface with the rest of our bodies.
“A lot of people don’t realise that the many bones and muscles in the feet work in a remarkably complex way. They determine how we stand and how we walk, and if they aren’t working in perfect harmony, the strain on the body extends to the legs, hips, and back,” says Dr Lin. “When you study podiatry, it’s an eye-opener, and you’ll never take your feet for granted ever again!”
But just having completed your study course still doesn’t allow you to practice podiatry in Australia. Registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) is a must. Podiatrists are true medical professionals.
The Difference Between Alternative Medicine and Evidence-Based Medicine
While podiatry is a field that is, without doubt, evidence-based and backed by solid research, alternative and complementary therapies exist in a grey area that can be hard to pin down. Even mainstream medicine recognises that acupuncture, for example, can be beneficial in certain instances. “Just because it’s a complementary therapy doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bunkum,” says Dr Lin. “However, certain aspects of a field, or even all of them, may remain unproven from a scientific perspective, and regulation is much looser. This can cause issues with accountability.”
“Although I’m happy to concede that some complementary therapies can be helpful, I recommend that they are used in conjunction with conventional medicine, particularly when people hope to treat a serious health condition in this way. I would recommend being open with your medical doctor or other mainstream medical professionals about what patients would like to attempt.”
“If patients do decide to use alternative medicines or therapies, they should also look for a therapist who belongs to a professional organisation and products that fall under regulation from the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA). This will at least ensure that the standard and safety aspects of care are acceptable. Anyone can say they are a herbalist, for example, and that could be dangerous on several levels.”
“The big advantage of evidence-based or mainstream medicine is that regulation and accountability are both very firmly in place. Patients also know that the therapies have been researched intensively and that they have a very good chance of being effective,” Lin explains.
Podiatry as a Calling
For those who only know that podiatry means foot doctoring, it may be difficult to recognise the importance of this medical calling, but Dr Lin has first-hand experience of the rewards of this specialisation. “Sometimes people ask why on earth I ever chose to specialise in feet, but it’s an incredibly rewarding profession,” Lin says.
“The best part is seeing patients who were struggling with pain, discomfort, and injuries experiencing the joys of free, painless movement once again. It’s incredibly rewarding for them, and my role in their recovery is the feel-good reward that keeps me motivated and excited to face each new workday.”
For further information, visit the The Footwork Clinic – Leading Sports, Podiatry, Foot And Lower Limb Corrective Services to book online, or call Mark Lin or his friendly team on +61 2 9131 6891.
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The information contained in this guide is provided in good faith and is not intended to be nor is it to be used as a substitute for any sort of professional, medical or podiatric advice. An accurate diagnosis can only be made following personal consultation with a podiatrist. Any users should always seek the advice of their podiatrist, or other qualified healthcare providers before commencing any treatment.
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