When to See a Podiatrist?
What is a podiatrist? A podiatrist is a medical specialist who studies, diagnose and treat issues of the foot, ankle, and lower leg. They are professional doctors and have "DPM" (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine) after their names. They can prescribe medicines, lab tests, and x-rays and can perform surgery.
What does a podiatrist do? A podiatrist can treat people of all ages, having the following feet related issues:
- Bone Spurs: Bone spurs (also known as osteophytes) is an abnormal growth of bone, at the joints, that are formed over a period of time. This is not always painful. The main cause of bone spurs is damaging joints due to osteoarthritis.
- Broken Bone: An unbearable foot pain, redness, and inflammation caused by an injury indicate a broken bone.
- Diabetic Neuropathy: This is a serious diabetic complication in which nerves are damaged due to high blood sugar. Diabetic neuropathy often damages the nerves of the legs and foot causing pain and numbness.
- Morton's Neuroma: In this condition, the patient feels a pinching pain in the ball of the foot — the area between the third and fourth toe.
- Heel Pain: The common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis (bottom of heel) and Achilles (back of the heel). The pain may be because of injury or stress causing tissue inflammation.
- Bunions and Hammar Toes: A bunion is a bony bump formed on the joint of the big toe. Hammer's toe is a bulging of bones, but it does not bend the bones.
- Ingrown Toenails: Ingrown toenails occur when the nails have grown into the nail groove, causing pain and inflammation. If not treated properly, it can cause infection.
- Nail Infection: Nail fungus is the most common nail infection. In this condition, the fungus causes thickening, discolouration and breaking of nails.
- Corns: Corns are thick layers of the skin resulting from excess pressure or friction. It is often painful and causes irritation.
When to see a podiatrist? Foot pain can be caused by an injury, long-standing or walking. This should respond well to rest, but if the pain persists, you should visit a doctor. If you are unsure of the cause of the foot pain, see the doctor when you:
- Have severe foot pain and inflammation.
- Are unable to put weight on the feet.
- Have any wound or injury on the toenails, and feet.
- Have ankle twist.
- Have numbness or tingling.
Foot pain can be harmful. Make sure you seek medical attention as soon as possible if any of the symptoms are experienced.