A podiatrist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosing and treatment of disorders affecting the feet, ankles and lower legs. There are many different problems and conditions of these limbs that warrant an appointment with this type of specialists.
Visiting a podiatrist
A number of ailments of the feet and legs can call for a visit to a podiatrist. These are five of the most common reasons.
1. Joint pain
Pain in the joints of the ankles or feet can be an indicator of arthritis. Arthritis occurs when there is inflammation in the joints, causing stiffness, redness, swelling and pain. Untreated arthritis in these joints can cause a negative change in how the feet function. It is vitally important to have a podiatrist examine the feet and ankles and if necessary provide treatment options that can help preserve the health of the joints and reduce symptoms that can impact a patient’s quality of life.
2. Calluses, corns or bunions
Calluses are large, thickened patches of skin that occur on the outermost layer of skin. They typically develop on the sole or heel of the foot due to frequent friction in these areas. Corns are small patches of thick, dead skin that develop on the top or side of the toes. Both can be caused by wearing ill-fitting footwear and may lead to pain. A podiatrist can provide many treatment options, from cortisone injections to surgery to remove the excess skin.
A bunion is a painful deformity of the big toe’s joint that results in a large bump on the foot. It can be treated by orthotics or surgery.
3. A potential broken bone
If a patient suspects a bone in the foot is broken, a visit to the podiatrist is in order. These specialists are experts at diagnosing broken bones and can suggest the best treatment option available. Podiatrists can also help treat sprains or strains. It is also important to schedule a visit if there is difficulty walking, increased pain, redness or swelling following an injury.
Patients with diabetes are more likely to suffer foot ailments, so yearly foot exams are necessary. There is a higher risk of complications when diabetes is poorly controlled and blood sugar levels stay consistently high. This can eventually result in needing amputation of lower limbs. However, receiving regular foot exams reduces the risk of amputation considerably.
While surgery is often a last resort for the treatment of many conditions, it is important to go to a podiatrist if it is needed. Broken bones, ingrown nails and bunions are a few conditions that can require surgery.
There are many ailments that require a visit to a podiatrist, from simpler issues such as calluses to more serious conditions such as broken bones. In addition to specific complaints, many patients are recommended to have routine examinations on a yearly basis to preserve the overall health of the feet and legs.
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