Podiatrists in demand

AN AGEING population for some may mean a strain on aged car services and lower fertility rates, but for podiatrists it means a booming trade.

Australia's ageing population has resulted in an increase in the demand for podiatry work and a significant industry shortage, the Queensland University of Technology has found.

Podiatry Associate Professor Lloyd Reed said 40 per cent of people would have a foot problem in their lifetime.

And as Australian's get older and the drive to keep baby boomers active gets stronger, the demand for the medical profession is predicted to increase.

As it stands, there are fewer than 650 podiatrists practicing in Queensland, which is not nearly enough, Ass Prof Reed said.

"We definitely need more podiatrists than that, particularly in the area of diabetes," he said.

"Diabetics foot complications are a big issue for the health care system and podiatrists can prevent those problems from occurring.

"Foot problems become much more common over the age of 60. There will be a big need for podiatrists to keep baby boomers active and on their feet.

"There also is an increased awareness of foot health in the community in areas such as sport and paediatrics."

According to the Bureau of Statistics, the average age of an Australian has increased by 4.8 years over the past to decades from 32.1 years of age to 36.9.

Queensland has the third youngest population in Australia at 36.2 years.

The podiatry demand has even prompted QUT to introduce a new podiatry graduate degree, which will fast track students into the industry.



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