Why You Should See a Specialist for Your Foot and Ankle Pain
Millions of people suffer from foot and ankle pain every day, and they do not know how to handle it. You may be one of them, or you may know someone who is struggling with such pain now. In either case, you’re in luck because it’s easy to see a specialist for your foot and ankle pain by asking your primary care physician if he or she can recommend someone or by doing some Internet research to find out who the best doctors are in your area. Here are some reasons why you should see one of these experts when you have foot and ankle problems.
The physical therapist’s perspective
Do you see a sports medicine doctor when you think of foot, ankle, or knee pain? A podiatrist? Maybe even your family physician? The truth is that many of us don’t seek out someone specifically trained in diagnosing and treating foot and ankle problems. We usually go to whoever’s closest to us—which can be an effective way to get immediate relief but might not give us all of our options. If you’re experiencing foot or ankle pain, it’s important to have your symptoms evaluated by someone who specialises in treating such conditions. A specialist in foot and ankle care will be able to conduct more extensive diagnostic tests than your primary care doctor can perform.
The general practitioner's perspective
A few years ago, when I was working in an urgent care facility as an emergency medicine physician, I cared for a patient with foot pain who had been referred to us by his general practitioner. The patient had seen his doctor complaining of pain in his left foot and ankle. His doctor had diagnosed him with plantar fasciitis and told him to rest, ice, elevate, compress, stretch—and that was about it. According to my patient’s account of his visit, he heard nothing from his doctor about treating the underlying causes of his pain or how he could prevent further injury; instead, he was sent home with some medications (steroids) but otherwise no real treatment plan or guidance on how to move forward.
The chiropractor's perspective
We’re specialists in ankle problems. Many of our patients come to us with foot and ankle pain that originated from an undiagnosed problem with their foot or ankle. And when that happens, we help them find relief not only in their feet but often all over—in their back, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, and more. Plus, our advanced training allows us to treat specific conditions like plantar fasciitis (ankle pain on your bottom), heel spurs (pain along your Achilles tendon) or hammertoes (when your toes bend abnormally). We frequently see patients who’ve been seeing multiple doctors or running around from specialist to specialist trying to get relief; treating specialists is what we do!
The orthopaedic surgeon's perspective
Most people should opt to see a specialist after an ankle injury. An orthopaedic surgeon will examine your foot or ankle to determine whether you have torn ligaments, strained tendons, or injured cartilage. While it's possible that you could have one of these conditions without experiencing any pain (known as being asymptomatic), orthopaedic surgeons are trained to recognise subtle signs that may indicate more serious damage. Specialists can also provide treatment advice based on their evaluation. If you opt not to see a specialist after your ankle injury, you may continue to experience issues with your foot or ankle without realising why.