Podiatric Medicine

Courses

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About the University

Employment opportunities

There are fewer than 500 podiatrists registered in Western Australia to service around two million people.

The demand for graduate podiatrists is high both in WA and around Australia where:

  • Most podiatrists work in private practice in metropolitan locations with many holding part-time or visiting hospital appointments.
  • Some podiatrists work full-time in the public sector in hospital clinics or community health centres.

With an ageing population base, an increasing prevalence of diabetes and an improving awareness of foot health issues, the demand for podiatric services will only increase.

Our courses are designed to produce highly trained and competent podiatrists and podiatric surgeons.

The DPM program prepares podiarists to commence clinical practice as primary contact health care practitioners in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the foot and ankle.

The scope of podiatric medicine goes beyond foot care by emphasising the importance of the foot to a person's overall health and well-being.

Podiatrists treat patients who present a range of foot problems, from young children to sporting injuries to management of foot problems of the elderly. Many patients have medical conditions such as poor circulation, gout, neurological disorders and arthritis that can adversely affect the foot.

The podiatric practitioner frequently cares for diabetic patients, who are especially prone to limb-threatening complications such as ulcerations. In addition, podiatric medicine is concerned with the research, diagnosis and treatment of structural deformities and problems affecting human locomotion.

 

Doctor of Podiatric Medicine

DPM Student LabTeaching in Podiatry occurs in the graduate-entry three year DPM degree offered by the School of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences. The opportunity to study Podiatric Medicine within a medical faculty is unique in Australia.

 

Meet Our Students

Manu Bains 3rd Year DPM studentManu Bains - 3rd Year DPM student

"UWA’s DPM course is a first of its kind"

"Anyone who is interested in studying Podiatric Medicine should consider UWA’s DPM, as this course is first of its own kind. DPM is a combination of both theoretical and practical work, which lays an extraordinary emphasis on modern evidence-based practice. You’ll learn how podiatrists contribute to the health discipline by having both preventative and curative roles. Some intriguing merits of becoming a podiatrist are: an ability to become an independent health practitioner, diagnose a range of lower extremity conditions and initiate treatment plans. The ability to perform minor surgeries and opportunity for further advancement of skills as a Podiatric Surgeon, are the other qualities of this course that attracted me into this career".

Liz Edwards 2nd year DPM studentLiz Edwards - 2nd Year DPM student

 "It’s a pretty great feeling seeing a patient walk out of an appointment pain-free when they weren’t before"

This is Liz, in her second year of studying to be a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine. One of the things people find most interesting about her is that she did her undergraduate degree in music performance (at WAAPA) – Liz was training to be an opera singer! Having such a big change in study areas has been challenging, but she’s glad she did it. She also enjoys tea (and works at the local T2), baking, cats, computer games and drowning her sorrows in gin. Her favourite TV shows are Game of Thrones, Girls, Homeland and The Americans. She tends to watch heinous amounts of Law & Order SVU during exam periods, for some reason.

Five things about Podiatry at UWA, from Liz:

1. We exist! Pod students spend most of their time over at Park Ave (the oldest but refurbished building on campus!), which is next to St. George’s College. The Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) is a new, post-graduate course that started in 2013. It’s the only one of its kind in Australia and models itself after the US DPM, which has a more medical and surgical focus. You don’t need a science or health-based background to get in – any Bachelor degree will do (as well as a GAMSAT score above 50)!

2. We have a student podiatry clinic! One of the most important aspects of learning to be a podiatrist is having feet to practice on! There is a student-run clinic over at Park Ave that allows 2nd and 3rd years to hone their skills in a variety of different areas – from clipping toenails and making orthotics to performing ingrown toenail surgeries and freezing warts! The clinic is open to the public, but we’d love to see more UWA students and staff! Fees are heavily discounted – so it’s a great opportunity to come and have your feet checked out. Give the Podiatry Clinic a call on 6488 4522.

3. Our scope of practice goes well beyond the foot and we study the lower limb in a lot of detail. It’s amazing how some bad knees or backs can be due to problems with your feet!

4. It’s a pathway to consider alongside Med & Dent. Podiatry is a growing profession in Australia and is a great option if you want to do something medical based. You can have very flexible working hours and you’re not on call. You also get to really spend time with your patients and see the results your treatment has made. It’s a pretty great feeling seeing a patient walk out of an appointment pain-free when they weren’t before.

5. We have a lot of fun! We are a fairly small cohort, (only 45 students across all three years) so everyone gets to know each other. We have an active student society; PMSS. We organise social sports (watch out for The Seven Tarsals in Ultimate this semester!), social events, and we have a dinner dance each year. We also love a good foot pun. I never metatarsal I didn’t like!

Julian Boo 3rd Year DPM studentJulian Boo - 3rd Year DPM Student

"Three years into this course and it still continues to exceed my expectations"

"Podiatry is one of the very few professions whereby we are able to diagnose, prescribe and perform surgery. Having these treatment rights puts us in the center of a patient’s healthcare together with other physicians and specialists. Podiatry is also a great profession that offers a multitude of opportunities in private or public settings and also the option to specialise in surgery. If you see yourself as a person who enjoys autonomy and being involved in managing a patient’s health condition, then podiatry is definitely a profession worth pursuing.  

Being a postgraduate course at the University of Western Australia (UWA) and within the School of Surgery brings about many advantages. We get access to teaching hospitals, private practices and also having our own student clinic, this prepares and trains us to be well equipped practitioners after graduation. Our current staff members consist of specialists and experts in their respective fields including surgery, the high risk foot, biomechanics, etc. Staff members are also very friendly and approachable and having many years of teaching experience also makes them knowledgeable with explaining complicated procedures to students. Furthermore, students also get lectures from medical specialists which enhances the learning experience. Being a postgraduate course also means that you will be studying with others from varied backgrounds which brings innovation and a different perspective to managing and treating patients. 

The experience I have had with this course so far has been very positive. I was able to get a lot of hands-on experience that ties in well with the theoretical knowledge we gain in class. The course content equips us with the skills to manage a variety of conditions and continues to evolve through student feedback. Three years into this course and it still continues to exceed my expectations, year after year". 


PostgraduatePostgrad student Mina