Why and When to See a Podiatrist
Foot and ankle problems can be due to chronic medical conditions like arthritis or diabetes, but overuse or poorly fitted shoes can also deteriorate the health of your feet. Unfortunately, most people wait till the pain is unbearable before looking for a cure.
Podiatrists are trained professionals who diagnose and treat abnormal feet conditions and the lower limbs. They help prevent and correct feet deformities to keep people mobile and active while relieving them from pain and infections.
Below are the reasons why to consult your podiatrist.
1. New joggers
Shin splints are common aches and pains reported by new runners. Your podiatrist will assess your body structure and feet to check for potential problems and recommend preventive care to avoid them. He/she will recommend the type of athletic shoe that is more appropriate for your foot.
2. Joint pain in your feet or ankles
Arthritis is among the most common conditions affecting Americans. If you often have swollen, red, stiff or tender joints in your feet, do not waste your time buying over-the-counter medicines. The drugs might not be effective and you might be aggravating your joints further. See a podiatrist at once. Don’t wait until arthritis changes the way your feet function and lead to disability. A podiatrist will propose treatments to preserve joint health and make your life easier with happy feet!
People with diabetes are prone to foot problems ranging from dry skin to serious infections. If you have diabetes, it is recommended to have at least one foot exam performed every year. A podiatrist will significantly lower the risk of amputation due to diabetes by providing adequate preventive care and finding the most appropriate cure at the right time.
4. Heel pain
A bony growth known as a heel spur may have developed on your heel. Or the tendons that connect to the heel may be inflamed. A podiatrist will perform a foot exam and may take X-rays. He/she will do the proper diagnosis before developing a treatment plan for you.
5. Ingrown toenail
A stubborn toenail that grows into the skin can cause infections. Ingrown toenails are most common in the big toe. The toenail may become deep red or has lots of drainages and in some cases, the podologist will remove the nail or part of it. He/she will prescribe medicine if the area is infected.
6. You suspect a sprain, strain, or broken bone
Podiatrists are specialists at treating foot or ankle sprains, strains, and broken bones. They can examine your injury and advise on appropriate treatment. A podiatrist can also create a personalized and flexible cast for you to help the area heal quickly. Swelling, redness, and increasing pain following an injury are usually among the reasons why you would see a podiatrist.
7. Foot surgery
Conditions like recurring ingrown toenails, bunions and broken bones need surgery. Check with your podiatrist for more information!
8. Bothersome corn or callus
Corns and calluses are the most common reasons why people visit their podiatrist. It is when areas of built-up skin become too painful because of the thickness. A podiatrist/doctor may recommend cortisone injections to lower the pain. Alternatively, your doctor may choose to reduce their size by cutting with a surgical blade. Don’t worry, the procedure is not painful as the thick skin is dead and doesn’t have any nerve.
9. Painful bunion
You will know it is a bunion when you notice a bump at the base of the big toe. It results from the joint or bone of the big toe going out of place. Bunions will get worse unless you treat them correctly. Your podiatrist may recommend treatments such as taping, padding or medication. Finally, in some severe cases, surgery could be the last option.
10. Athlete’s foot
Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that looks scaly and feels itchy between the toes. It usually happens to people whose feet have become too sweaty while confined in tight shoes. It causes a stinging and burning sensation. In the beginning, antifungal cream may help. However, if the infection is not improving after 3 weeks, you should see a podologist. Often some oral and cream-based prescribed medicines are more effective than over-the-counter creams. At the same time, your podiatrist can prescribe antibiotics if a bacterial infection is detected.
11. Are Podiatrists doctors?
Podiatrists are doctors whose field of study are different from that of generalists or specialist doctors. They have their own schools and professional associations. Podiatrists are able to do surgery, reset broken bones, order lab tests and X-ray, and prescribe drugs.
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