what is a podiatrist?

As a podiatrist, you are a doctor who specialises in foot conditions. You consult with patients, assess their feet, and diagnose conditions or injuries. Some patient diagnosis procedures include laboratory tests, X-rays and physical exams. Hence, you review X-rays and lab results to develop patient care plans. You recommend surgical treatments for foot, ankle, and lower leg illnesses or opt for non-surgical options like orthotics (special shoe inserts). If the ailment requires surgical treatment, you perform the surgeries. While podiatry surgeons perform complex foot procedures, you also perform procedures like repairing fractures or removing bone spurs.

Podiatrists work with patients with different conditions. As a podiatrist, you can specialise in working with kids to assess their walking gait or work with sportspeople to handle foot injuries. You also work with patients suffering from arthritis and prescribe medication to people with diabetes to prevent amputation. While podiatrists mainly work in hospitals that provide specialised treatment for foot problems, some work closely with other doctors in healthcare facilities and community centres.

view roles

average podiatrist salary

The average salary of a podiatrist in Australia is $95,000 per year. Your remuneration package fluctuates based on various factors, including experience, qualifications and skills. When starting out in the role, you earn a salary of $85,000 per year. However, your earnings increase gradually, and you can take home over $105,000 annually.

what factors affect the salary of a podiatrist?

As a podiatrist, your remuneration package depends on your qualifications and work experience. Employers pay higher salaries for podiatrists with additional years of experience and advanced qualifications. For instance, with a master's degree, you typically earn more than a podiatrist with only a bachelor's degree. Some areas of specialisation, like sports medicine, also pay more compared to general practice.

Aside from experience, the health facility you work for also influences your earnings. If you work in a private practice, your earnings depend on the clientele and the services offered in the facility. However, you are likely to earn a higher remuneration package compared to podiatrists working in hospitals. The size of the health facility also impacts your salary. Small health facilities have minimal resources and may not pay podiatrists a high salary. Large health facilities pay more due to the unlimited resources.

Want to know what you will earn as a podiatrist? Check out what you are worth with our salary checker.


types of podiatrists

Podiatrists diagnose a variety of foot conditions and often specialise in different areas of podiatric medicine. For instance, you can focus on sports medicine. That means you work for individual athletes or sports teams, helping them to optimise performance and treat injuries. Your job in sports medicine includes treating stress fractures, knee injuries or Achilles tendonitis.

Alternatively, you may specialise in treating children and solving feet and ankle problems in kids. Some common conditions you handle for children include knee pain, flat feet and in-toeing gait (pigeon-toed). As a podiatrist, you also treat issues related to the skin of the feet, like athlete's foot, blisters and dermatitis. You examine patients and develop treatment plans to resolve the issues.

woman filing records
woman filing records

working as a podiatrist

Working as a podiatrist involves handling foot problems in patients. If you are interested in the role, check out the specific duties, responsibilities and work environments of podiatrists.


education and skills

Podiatrists are highly skilled individuals, which means you require a high level of education to qualify for the role. You can join the career by pursuing a bachelor's degree in podiatric medicine or a bachelor of podiatry accredited by the Podiatry Board of Australia. If you already have a bachelor's degree in a different medical field, get a master of podiatry.

When you complete the degree courses, you should register with the Australian Podiatry Association in your state to start practising as a podiatrist. For instance, if you live in Western Australia, register with the Australian Podiatry Association Western Australia, while in Victoria, you can register with the Australian Podiatry Association Victoria. If you haven’t registered with the board, you can work as a podiatrist by registering with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

podiatrist skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of a podiatrist include:

  • scientific knowledge: as a podiatrist, you need an in-depth understanding of biology and anatomy. Your scientific knowledge improves your understanding of podiatrist processes and technical skills, enabling you to perform laboratory tests and biomechanical assessments.
  • emotional intelligence: as a podiatrist, you deal with patients with various injuries and medical conditions. Your sensitivity to patients' predicaments helps you handle them with compassion. Emotional intelligence also improves empathy, which is useful for managing a patient's condition.
  • interpersonal and communication skills: as a podiatrist, your role requires exceptional communication and listening skills. During a consultation, you rely on your interpersonal skills to determine the cause and extent of injuries. Your communication skills also help you communicate with other healthcare workers during surgical procedures.
  • dexterity: as a podiatrist, you should be good with your hands and have exceptional hand-eye coordination. Your dexterity is useful during patient examination and therapy sessions. You guide patients through exercises and also perform surgical procedures.
  • problem-solving skills: patients have diverse medical conditions and injuries, so it is important to know how to apply your training to different situations. Your problem-solving skills help you make accurate diagnoses and apply your knowledge in podiatry to treat patients with various conditions. Problem-solving skills also help you think logically and remain calm under pressure.

FAQs about working as a podiatrist

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a podiatrist.

thank you for subscribing to your personalised job alerts.