If you’ve ever suffered from an issue related to your feet, you know how debilitating this can be. Not only is it painful and irritating, but it affects your whole body and your ability to move around and interact with the world. When recovering from a foot injury or condition, a good podiatrist can make a huge difference. But what does a podiatrist treat?
Foot Injuries: What Does a Podiatrist Treat?
Many people injure their feet or ankles at some point in their life. It can happen to anyone: teenagers or college students who participate in a lot of sports; workers who do one-sided activities due to their job; or elderly people who have a bad fall. In such cases, a podiatrist is here to make sure the patient regains their mobility and can get back to doing the things they love most as quickly as possible.
Doctors are able to treat a wide variety of foot injuries such as ankle sprains, fractures, and Achilles tendonitis. To get an accurate diagnosis and competent treatment, seeking out a professional is highly recommended.
Inflammation of the Achilles tendon is a common injury, especially among individuals who are very active in sports that include running and jumping. A podiatrist can diagnose this issue and give you the best advice on what to do and what to avoid. What’s more, your doctor might provide you with a brace or walking boot to allow you to heal faster.
Ankle Sprains and Fractures
Another very common issue for patients of all ages is ankle sprains. In fact, more than 3 million Americans suffer from this injury every year. If you twist your ankle and suffer from bruising, swelling, or tenderness, visit your local podiatrist. It’s essential that this type of injury be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, particularly to rule out a fracture or to make sure you get the right treatment quickly if it is a fracture.
Deformities and Other Conditions
In addition to acute injuries, podiatrists regularly treat problems that develop over time, such as bunions and corns, or conditions a patient may be born with, like flat feet. Deformities on your feet can cause significant amounts of pain, so getting them treated as early as possible is key. Let’s examine some of the most common foot deformities and conditions a podiatrist can treat.
Often seen in people who wear tight shoes for a prolonged amount of time, bunions consist of excess bone growth, for example at the base of a patient’s big toe. In severe cases, they can be extremely painful and even debilitating. Your local foot specialist can help you to relieve this pain in a number of different ways, such as altering the types of shoes you wear, suggesting bunion pads, or even performing surgery.
Most people have an arch in their foot that provides the whole body with support and balance. However, sometimes the feet are flat, either from birth or due to external factors occurring later in life. People who suffer from flat feet may develop alignment or postural problems, in which case it makes sense to speak to a podiatrist. There are a variety of corrective measures available, such as shoe inserts and physical therapy.
As the name suggest, the toes of people with this condition are bent upwards at the middle joint and downwards at the end joint, creating a hammer-like shape. Over time, they will have more and more trouble straightening their toes and their shoes rub against the affected toes, causing painful blisters and corns. A specialist can treat simple cases through taping, splinting, and corrective exercises, but more severe cases may need surgery.
If you suffer from corns, your skin becomes hard and thick in the affected area. Severe cases are dangerous if left untreated and could lead to other conditions like arthritis. Luckily, your podiatrist can evaluate what kind of treatment fits your situation and whether you can treat them on your own or need to have your corns cut away.
Did you know that your podiatrist can also perform foot surgery? You don’t need to go to a specialist surgeon for most procedures. Although less invasive methods are preferred, these are not always enough to eliminate the underlying causes of a patient’s symptoms.
To make sure an issue doesn’t recur, surgery is sometimes necessary. While small procedures are likely to be performed at your local podiatrist’s office, you may have to visit a surgery center for larger operations.
Sometimes, bacterial or viral infections are the cause of our foot issues. Most cuts and scrapes are harmless, but they can occasionally get infected, in which case you will need medical attention as soon as possible. Your podiatrist can help to evaluate the situation and provide you with the care you need if you have an infection on or around your foot.
A common type of viral infection is Athlete’s Foot, which affects people whose feet are wet and enclosed in tight shoes for a prolonged period of time. The condition often starts on the skin in between your toes and causes a scaly rash that might itch, burn, or sting. Not only can a foot specialist help to treat the symptoms of this irritating condition, but they can give patients advice about how to prevent it in the future.
Aside from the common issues of acute injuries, deformities, and infections, your podiatrist will also be able to treat a variety of other foot-related problems you may encounter. A good doctor will provide you with lifelong foot care, no matter what situation or life stage you find yourself in.
Geriatric Foot Care
As we grow older, our feet may need more intensive care than they did in the past. At the same time, elderly patients sometimes find it more challenging to take good care of them. That’s why it’s particularly important for people in their 70s and beyond to have a podiatrist they can trust, and who can help them maintain their mobility for as long as possible.
Patients who suffer from diabetes often present with a variety of foot conditions, such as swelling, pain, and open sores. Around half of people with diabetes also have nerve damage, oftentimes in the legs and feet, which can cause them to lose feeling in the limbs and not notice the symptoms of their foot problems. Regular consulting with a specialist can ensure that these issues are closely monitored and treated as soon as possible.
So, what does a podiatrist treat? The answer is: almost anything related to your feet and ankles! No matter what type of issue you are dealing with, your local podiatrist will provide you with a competent diagnosis and solution to the problem.
Call Island Foot Clinics today to speak to a professional. Our friendly team is located in a variety of regions such as Kelowna, Nanaimo, Victoria, Campbell River, Prince George, Terrace, and Williams Lake, and will be happy to welcome you for your first consultation. Let’s get you back on your feet!