Do I need a referral from my family physician to see a podiatrist?
No. Although many patients are referred by their physician, a referral is not necessary. You can simply contact a podiatrist's office directly and make an appointment at your convenience.

What type of training and qualifications do podiatrists have?
Most podiatrists have taken eight years of university level education (four years for their undergraduate degree followed by another four years of specialized podiatric medical education to obtain their D.P.M.- Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree) before beginning to practice as a podiatrist.

All students entering a College of Podiatric Medicine have a Bachelor of Science or higher degree and must achieve the required results in the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). The podiatry curriculum spans four years at an accredited College of Podiatric Medicine in the United States. Students study courses in all basic medical sciences. In the final two years, emphasis is placed on disorders affecting the foot and ankle and their various types of treatment. These courses are coordinated with clinical training in various university teaching hospitals. Upon completion, graduates obtain their "Doctor or Podiatric Medicine" (D.P.M.) degree. Comprehensive Board exams as well as provincial licensing requirements must then be passed before being licensed to practice.

Residencies are all hospital based, and performing a residency is now considered the norm for new graduates. In addition, continuing education courses keep podiatrists up-to-date regarding new developments in podiatric medicine and foot surgery.

How are services billed?

Podiatric medicine in Alberta is considered an allied health service and is partially funded by Alberta Health and Wellness. Benefits payable for each resident of Alberta for podiatric services are limited to a maximum of $250 for each benefit period. In the form of a co-payment, the patient contributes to the total cost of the treatment.

Who can use podiatric services?
Any Albertan can use the services for any foot care ailment. However, the majority of patients fall into one of the following categories:

  • Foot care for senior citizens
  • Diabetes-related foot care
  • Children's foot care
  • Sports-related injuries
  • General Foot Wellness

Do more women have foot problems than men?
Women have about four times as many foot problems as men; lifelong patterns of wearing high heels often are the culprit.

How much pressure goes into your foot while you are walking?
There are times when you are walking that the pressure on your feet exceeds your body weight; when you're running, it can be three or four times your weight.

What tips should I follow when shopping for shoes?

Shopping for shoes is best done in the afternoon, says the American Podiatric Medical Association. Your feet tend to swell a little during the day, and it's best to buy shoes to fit them then. Have your feet measured every time you purchase shoes, and do it while you're standing. When you try on shoes, try them on both feet; many people have one foot larger than the other, and it's best to fit the larger one.

How should toenails be trimmed?
Trim your toenails straight across with clippers specially designed for the purpose. Leave them slightly longer than the tips of your toes.

What exercise is safe for your feet and good for your overall health?

Walking is the best exercise for your feet. It also contributes to your general health by improving circulation, contributing to weight control and promoting all-around well being.

Can serious medical problems first show up in the feet?

Your feet mirror your general health. Such conditions as arthritis, diabetes, nerve and circulatory disorders can show their initial symptoms in the feet, so foot ailments can be your first sign of more serious medical problems.

Are you born with foot problems or do they develop later?

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, only a small percentage of the population is born with foot problems. Generally, neglect and a lack of awareness of proper care -- including ill-fitting shoes -- bring on foot problems.

What are corns and calluses?

Corns and calluses are caused by friction and pressure from skin rubbing against bony areas when wearing shoes. If the first signs of soreness are ignored, corns and calluses rise up as nature's way of protecting sensitive areas.

How much sweat do your feet produce each day?

There are approximately 250,000 sweat glands in a pair of feet, and they excrete as much as half a pint of moisture each day.

What are plantar warts?
Plantar warts are caused by a virus which may invade the sole of the foot through cuts and breaks in the skin. Walking barefoot on dirty pavement or littered ground can expose feet to this sometimes painful skin infection.

What are orthotics? 
A biomechanical foot orthotic is a highly specialized piece of medical equipment that enables the joints and bones of the foot to be in a more stable position for standing and while in motion. Orthotics control each phase of the walking cycle, from the moment your heel contacts the ground to when your toes push off the surface. 

Are Podiatric Physicians in Alberta allowed to prescribe controlled substances?  
Yes, in 2013 Podiatric Physicans were added to the triplicate program (TPP).  See the document "Controlled substances" for further information.
How do I make a complaint to the College of Podiatric Physicians? 
Any complaint to the College must be made in writing using the CPPA Complaint form


The average person takes 8,000 to 10,000 steps each day on pavement, tiles, and other surfaces. With each step, a gravity induced pressure of about three to four times the body's weight bears down on each foot.