Podiatrists, also known as foot doctors, focus on diagnosing and treating foot, ankle, and lower limb medical conditions. Their services range from conservative treatments to certain surgical procedures.
Examples of Conditions
Podiatrists treat several types of disorders. Some individuals experience heel pain. This typically is due to inflammation in the band of tissue across the bottom of the foot, extending from the heel to the toes. Plantar fasciitis is the medical term for this condition.
A bunion is a bump of bone growth at the base of the big toe. As the problem worsens, pain develops and increases.
Patients with low arches, a condition commonly called flat feet, may experience discomfort when standing and walking for any length of time.
Hardened areas of skin known as corns and calluses develop because of ongoing friction. The tough skin can cause discomfort when walking or doing other activity on the feet. Corns sometimes have a bony bump underneath that aggravates the problem.
A sprained ankle may continue to hurt for months. The person might sense weakness in this joint. When walking on an uneven surface, such as a yard or a grassy hill, the ankle could feel susceptible to twisting and further injury. Sprains can actually be worse than fractures in regard to pain and required healing time.
A podiatrist helps patients resolve these medical issues and several others.
Sometimes a patient benefits significantly simply from changing to a different type of shoe. It's not always enough just to quit wearing high heels. Podiatrists recommend that people with foot problems use the old-fashioned method of sizing their feet in a shoe store with a precise measurement device. Choosing the right high-quality footwear reduces friction and other issues that lead to discomfort.
Over-the-counter shoe inserts can help patients with flat feet, but customized products are better. As with shoes, a precise fit has substantially more positive results when attempting to manage foot disorders.
An exercise program that strengthens the lower legs can end plantar fasciitis.
Surgical removal of corns may be advisable. Local anesthesia is administered for this procedure. Calluses also can be shaved away with a sterile blade in the clinic. Minimally invasive bunion surgery, medically called a bunionectomy, corrects the deformity.
A person enjoys better well-being when the feet and ankles are healthy and free of pain. Discomfort in the lower extremities can cause people to become sedentary, which reduces physical fitness and tends to result in weight gain. A podiatrist helps patients resolve various disorders and continue living a healthier lifestyle.