Podiatrists are doctors that specialize in treating foot and ankle problems. They play an important role in managing patients who require routine foot care, particularly those with diabetes and impaired circulation. Podiatrists go through rigorous training in academic and clinical settings that provide them with the ability to evaluate and treat conditions of the lower extremities. After attending four years of specialized medical school, which shares a similar curriculum as traditional medical school, podiatrists complete additional training in a clinical setting for up to three years. When a patient has foot and ankle problems, they may not know where to seek treatment. One way to find a good pediatric clinician is through the primary care physician’s office. In addition, a local search might guide one to the nearest podiatrist’s office.
A timely visit is frequently necessary to avoid future issues. People who ignore foot problems, whether a painful ingrown nail, fungal infection, or pain in the ball of the foot, are more likely to suffer significant repercussions. Consider the case of a diabetic patient with poor circulation and loss of feeling in his/her feet. If he/she fails to see a podiatrist when an ulcer or infection develops, the digit or leg may need to be amputated.
1. You’re a Runner
Runners are prone to aches, pains, and injuries, including tendonitis (inflammation of the tendons) and other soft tissue inflammation. When that happens, it’s important to see a podiatrist, who can guide the runner is able to get back to what he/she loves the most: running.
2. You Feel Joint Pain in Your Feet or Ankles
Arthritis is one of the most frequent conditions affecting the joints in the foot. Consult a podiatrist if the joints in your feet are usually swollen, red, stiff, or sensitive. Arthritis can impair the function of the foot, resulting in pain, instability, and often day-to-day function. A podiatrist can recommend therapies that will help you maintain joint health and simplify your day.
3. You’re a Diabetic
Diabetes makes you more susceptible to foot problems. People with diabetes have altered skin conditions that cause the skin to become dry, cracked, and prone to ulceration. Often, such skin conditions may become a secondary infection due to the presence of fungus in the nail and bacteria in the skin, which may enter the bloodstream and cause systemic infection. There are things a patient could do to avoid this scenario. If you have diabetes, you should see a doctor or podiatrist at least once a year for a foot exam. Studies suggest that having a podiatrist on your healthcare team more than halves the risk of amputation due to diabetes.
4. You Experience Frequent Heel Pain
Heel discomfort can be caused by a variety of factors. A heel spur is a bony protrusion on the back of the heel. Another possibility is that one of the tendons connected to the heel is irritated. Consult a podiatrist if you’re experiencing persistent heel pain. He/she will examine your feet and maybe take X-rays. The first step in designing a treatment plan is to receive a proper diagnosis.
5. You Have an Ingrown Toenail
Ingrown toenails can lead to infection if they spread into the skin. The big toe is the most commonly affected by ingrown toenails. Consult a podiatrist if a toenail is really red or has a lot of discharge. In rare circumstances, a portion of the nail may be removed by the doctor. If the region is infected, your doctor will prescribe medication.
6. You Have a Sprain, Strain, or Broken Bone
Sprains, strains, and broken bones in the foot and ankle are also treated by podiatrists, who will be able to diagnose your injury and make treatment recommendations. A podiatrist can also make a flexible cast to aid in the healing process. Following an injury, swelling, difficulty walking, redness, and increased discomfort are all reasons to contact a podiatrist.
7. You Need Foot Surgery
For many foot issues, surgery is the final option recommended by a podiatrist. Podiatrists will perform foot and ankle surgery if necessary. Bunions, repeated ingrown toenails, and shattered bones are all conditions that may necessitate surgery.
8. You Have a Bothersome Corn or Callus
People consult a podiatrist for a variety of problems, including corns and calluses. If the build-up of skin becomes too thick, it can become painful. In such cases, a podiatrist may recommend a keratolytic agent to reverse the thickening of the skin. This is important because, when the thickness increases, the foot becomes prone to ulceration. Therefore, managing to reduce the size of corns and calluses will prevent further foot problems. Your podiatrist may also use a surgical blade to trim the thickened lesion. This treatment is pain free.
9. You Have a Painful Bunion
A bunion is a lump that forms at the base of the big toe when the bone or joint is misaligned. Bunions tend to worsen if left untreated. Treatments like cushioning, taping, or medication are often suggested by podiatrists. In severe circumstances, surgery is also an option.
10. You Think You Have Athlete’s Foot—And It Isn’t Going Away
Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that causes the flesh between your toes to become scaly and uncomfortable. Over-the-counter antifungal creams may be beneficial; however, your podiatrist may recommend other treatment options that are more effective. Prescription medicines that are taken orally or applied topically are often more effective. Your doctor will also look for symptoms of a bacterial infection that would necessitate antibiotic treatment.