FAQ / Pathologies

What is a podiatrist?

A podiatrist is a health professional, governed by the Quebec Law on podiatry, who diagnoses and treats conditions of the foot that are not system diseases, through chemical, medical, surgical, mechanical (orthoses) means or manipulations. The podiatrist holds an undergraduate doctoral degree in podiatric medicine.

The podiatrist is the health professional who is responsible for care and treatment of the foot. The podiatrist uses clinical and radiological examinations for identifying the different foot affections and pathologies affecting the musculoskeletal, integumentary, dermatological, vascular and neurologic systems. 

The clinical competencies of the podiatrist are key since they have to be in a position to differentiate a local affection from a systemic disease, and differentiate between pathologies that are within the scope of practice of the podiatrist and the ones that fall under the competence of the physician. The clinical competencies of the podiatrist also allow them to prevent foot health complications and detect symptoms of systemic foot pathologies. To this end, the podiatrist uses ultrasound imaging and radiography as well as different types of examinations and analyses.

Do I need a prescription or referral from a physician to consult a podiatrist?

No, it’s not necessary to have a referral from a physician to consult a podiatrist. You do not need either a referral from a physician to be reimbursed by your insurance.

What is special about our custom orthotics?

The orthoses manufactured by the Clinique podiatrique de Gatineau are custom and hand made. Our podiatrists supervise the work of our technicians during the manufacturing to ensure a high quality product. The orthoses are individually tailored for providing maximum outcomes and comfort. Furthermore, the foot cast is taken on non-weight bearing to ensure that the foot is in the right position. Thus, the orthoses will be properly adjusted to the feet.

What is the advantage of the ultrasound over radiography?

The ultrasound offers the following advantages over the radiography done by X-rays.

  1. It does not produce radiation, therefore it is safer.
  2. It allows us to observe the soft tissues, such as muscles and ligaments.
  3. With the Doppler, we can have overview of the circulation in the foot.
Can I consult a podiatrist at any age and regardless of my physical condition?

Yes, our podiatrists are trained to evaluate and treat patients of all ages. They have also taken training in pediatric podiatry to address specific needs of infants and children.

Are the instruments used for foot care sterile?

Yes, all our instruments used for foot care are sterilized in an autoclave. The sterilization is of particular importance for diabetic patients who are more susceptible to contract a foot infection.

Do I need a physician referral to get reimbursed by my private insurance?

No, it is not necessary to be referred by a general practitioner to get reimbursed for visits or orthoses.

What is the difference between a podiatrist, an orthopedist, an orthotist and a “podologue”?
  • A podiatrist is a health professional, governed by the Loi sur la podiatrie, who diagnoses and treats conditions of the foot that are not system diseases, through chemical, medical, surgical, mechanical (orthoses) means or manipulations. The podiatrist holds an undergraduate doctoral degree in podiatric medicine.
  • An orthopedist is a physician who holds an undergraduate doctoral degree in general medicine combined with a residency in orthopedic surgery. The orthopedist provides medical and surgical care related to the musculoskeletal system (bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, tendons and nerves).
  • The orthotist has a college education and is considered a technician. The orthotist has been trained to manufacture and fit orthoses prescribed by a podiatrist, if it relates to the foot, or by a physician. The orthotist cannot perform an evaluation of your condition, unless it relates to the fitting of the prescribed orthoses.
  • The “podologue” has taken a training that is not recognized in the Loi sur la podiatrie and is not equivalent to the training taken by podiatrists. The “podologue” is not a member of the Ordre des podiatres du Québec and is not considered a professional under the Act. Therefore, the practice of podiatry by chiropodists is considered an illegal act. In Europe, the “podologue” is not allowed to perform acts that may involve bleeding (For example: surgery, treatment of ingrown nails, wound care, diabetic foot care, corn debridement, etc.)
Does the Régie de l’assurance-maladie du Québec (RAMQ) cover the services of a podiatrist?

Unfortunately, in Québec, the Régie does not cover podiatrist visits. However, most of the private insurance health care cover partially or totally the visits and the cost of orthoses.

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