Who are podiatrists, and what do they do?
A podiatrist is not a Medical Doctor (M.D.), but they attend four years in podiatry school.
Podiatrists specialise in ankle and feet disorders. General podiatry treats foot other irregularities such as:
- flat feet,
- high or low arches,
- balance-related problems
- pain in the ankle and foot.
Podiatrists also diagnose and treat:
- foot fungi,
- heel pain,
- toenail problems,
- foot-related issues associated with diabetes and health conditions.
A certified Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) can also perform surgery on the ankles and feet.
Conditions Podiatrists Treat
- Fractures and sprains
A general podiatry service commonly includes treating fractures and sprains in the feet. Injuries can occur at any time from accidents, sports, running, dancing, and so forth.
Serious injuries can involve broken bones or damaged muscles, causing severe pain and leading to severe complications if left untreated.
A podiatrist will conduct a physical examination along with an X-ray or CT scan to determine the nature of your injury and build an effective treatment plan.
- Flat feet and hammertoes
Flat feet can lead to unbearable pain in the leg, knee, and foot. This condition can ultimately create mobility challenges if not properly treated.
Although flat feet generally appear in young children, it may be progressive and may intensify later in life.
Hammertoes are a deformity of joints located in the toes. Like flat feet, this condition is prevalent in kids, but it can intensify later due to poor-fitting shoes.
These conditions may seem like mild deformities, but it can quickly become more rigid and painful if left untreated.
Since they are progressive conditions, it requires immediate attention and diagnosis from a podiatrist.
These conditions are very treatable.
The treatment typically includes physical therapy, special fitting shoes, anti-inflammatory drugs, orthotic devices, and surgical corrections if necessary.
- Nail disorders
An ingrown toenail is a condition when a corner of a nail grows into the toe’s skin instead of straight out.
Initially, an ingrown toenail causes minor discomfort and inflammation. However, it could intensify into severe infection and inflammation.
Many say that ingrown toenails are a hereditary condition; however, other factors can contribute to this development.
Athletes are also prone to developing nail disorders.
Treat an ingrown toenail promptly as it reduces the chances of surgery in the future.
If you think you are dealing with a nail disorder, you must immediately contact your local general podiatry services.
Diabetes is a medical condition where the body either doesn’t make insulin or fails to use it in the way it should. Diabetes can harm the nerves in the legs or feet, creating a hurdle in transporting enough blood to the feet.
Many diabetic patients end up having a foot amputation by not correctly following diabetic foot care management routines. To prevent a diabetic foot amputation, you must seek help from a podiatrist or chiropodist Amersham.
Arthritis commonly occurs in the toes, foot or ankle joints, making it very difficult for the patient to walk and perform everyday tasks.
While there is no proven cure for arthritis, visiting podiatry services bucks can help slow down the progression.
- Heel pain
Heel pain is one of the most commonly diagnosed foot ailment that is treated by podiatry services bucks.
Causes of heel pain may include Plantar Fasciitis, stress fractures, tendon, inflammation of the Achilles, arthritis, tumours, or nerve irritation. Regardless of what has caused heel pain, the discomfort and pain can be unbearable and requires an immediate diagnosis by an experienced podiatrist or chiropodist Amersham.
- Neuromas and Metatarsalgia
Neuromas cause intense burning due to the swollen nerves in the feet. This condition is excruciating, and the symptoms will worsen as the nerve enlarges. Women who wear narrow shoes are particularly prone to this nerve condition.
Metatarsalgia is a condition that causes chronic pain in the ball of the foot. This condition generally occurs from participation in sports or from wearing tight-fitting shoes.
A podiatrist is capable of diagnosing and treating these conditions effectively and will prevent them from developing again.
Reasons why you should see a Podiatrist
We often take our feet for granted. We need our feet to get about, drive, run, play sports and countless other activities.
Research suggests that an average 50-year-old has walked more than 75,000 miles.
Your feet include many small bones, ligaments, and tendons that work in a synchronised way to work correctly.
If you are experiencing the following symptoms, you must contact a podiatrist:
- Foot and ankle pain
- Discolored toenails
- Growths like warts and other infection
- Scaling on your soles
What to Expect at the Podiatrist?
Visits to a podiatrist are quite similar to any other doctor. They will inquire about your medical history and whether you have been through any surgeries or not.
They will also observe the way you stand and walk.
Based on your condition, the podiatrist might suggest special shoes, orthotics, or physical therapy for the pain.
Suppose you are experiencing chronic foot or ankle pain. In that case, you should not waste any time in scheduling an appointment with your local general podiatry service.
Podiatrists are highly skilled professionals who will use different treatment methods to diagnose and reduce your pain. They will also recommend lifestyle modifications to make so you can enjoy a pain-free life.
Keep in mind that many foot-related problems are progressive, and you should not leave them untreated.