What Is a Podiatrist and What Do They Do? Discover the Importance of Good Foot Care
How do you care for your feet? If you’re like most people, you probably do an okay job of it. You try to wear shoes that are comfortable and supportive, and maybe even buy some arch supports from time to time.
A podiatrist (foot doctor) is your go-to foot expert
Podiatrists specialise in foot-related injuries, infections, conditions, and other problems. Some podiatrists also treat sports injuries or conditions related to footwear, such as bunions or hammertoes. It’s essential that you get your feet checked out by a podiatrist if you have any foot pain. While it might be tempting to just go to a general practitioner if your feet hurt, they may not be able to help—or they may refer you out immediately because they don’t specialise in foot care. Make sure you don’t neglect an injury that could end up causing more serious problems later down the line.
There are many reasons to see a podiatrist
Proper foot care is important for preventing many different kinds of foot problems. It’s especially important to see a podiatrist if you have diabetes or any other chronic medical condition that may cause complications with your feet. A podiatrist diagnoses conditions related to blood circulation and nerve function, as well as infections such as fungal nails and athlete’s foot. Even cosmetic issues such as hammertoes can be treated by podiatrists. If you experience numbness or pain in your feet, it’s important to seek help from an expert so that you can preserve mobility and prevent future damage. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you.
Podiatrists treat all parts of your feet
Whether it's your heels, arches, toes or ankles—that's right, even if you have what you think is an ankle or heel issue—it can be something as simple as your feet that are causing problems. Call Podiatry Chelsea today to set up an appointment for podiatry in Chelsea for good foot care—we'll talk to you about how you can help prevent foot issues from happening!
There are many causes of foot pain
Bursitis, plantar fasciitis, neuropathy (pinched nerves), and heel spurs, to name just a few. No matter what type of foot pain you have, consult with your local podiatrist. A podiatrist is qualified to treat your symptoms and help you get back on your feet again quickly. By definition, podiatrists are experts in foot disorders; they can tell you whether something is serious or just annoying, what caused it and how to fix it. Their advice will be based on years of training; an M.D. simply can not offer that type of specialised experience and knowledge when dealing with feet.
A podiatrist will perform an exam on your feet
As with any other doctor, it’s important to have your feet checked regularly. During your first visit, a podiatrist will perform an exam on your feet that includes: feeling for lumps or other abnormalities; checking range of motion; counting pulses in each foot; and testing reflexes by tapping your feet with small rubber mallets, according to Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. In some cases, an x-ray or MRI might be required for additional diagnosis or analysis. You will also likely get instructions about how to care for your feet at home—so stick around after your appointment so you can ask questions about anything you don’t understand.
Some podiatrists specialise in certain areas
For example, you may come across an ankle or foot surgeon, an orthopaedic doctor who specialises in bones and joints, or a paediatrician who sees children. Other doctors are generalists, treating all parts of your body—even if they’re not directly connected to your feet. All podiatrists help diagnose medical conditions related to feet and ankles, treat injuries that occur in these areas, and counsel patients on how to prevent problems in the future. If you've experienced pain in your feet or ankles for more than six weeks, it’s time to see a podiatrist for proper diagnosis and treatment.
If you have diabetes, you may need special treatments
Diabetics are at risk for several foot complications, including ulcers, which may require podiatric surgery. Ulcers are sores on your feet caused by damage to your blood vessels or nerves. Some people get ulcers if they have nerve damage from diabetes that makes it harder for them to feel pain in their feet. Some diabetics have foot ulcers as well as neuropathy—the disease’s most common complication. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends you visit your podiatrist at least once a year for foot care, no matter what kind of diabetes you have. If you have diabetes-related nerve damage, you should see your podiatrist more often to make sure that ulcers don’t develop.
Blood pressure readings in your feet indicate overall health
When you go to your doctor, she’ll check your blood pressure in several places: in your arms, legs, and neck. But if you are on medications for high blood pressure (and lots of people are these days), how do you know if they’re effective? Checking your blood pressure in your feet can provide an important measure of what’s going on overall with your heart health. That’s because blood vessels throughout our bodies operate as one system—high blood pressure in one part will impact other parts—so measuring foot-blood pressure is one way to keep tabs on whether or not a drug treatment is working. Another good reason to ask for those special socks that measure foot blood pressure when you go see a new doctor!
A skin check is an important part of any foot checkup.
The skin on your feet is as important as that on any other part of your body. The skin provides an extra barrier for protection, but it's also capable of transmitting both sensations (pain) and microbes (such as athlete's foot). Examine your feet carefully to make sure there are no signs of disease or infection.