WHAT DOES A PODIATRIST DO FOR YOUR FEET?

Podiatrists are specialists in medicine that diagnose, treat, and prevent foot, ankle, and lower legs injuries and conditions. They treat any and all injuries when it comes to the foot and ankle. They can set broken bones, administer injections to alleviate pain, prescribe orthotics and medications as well as physical therapy. They also can bring a patient to surgery when needed.

WHEN SHOULD I SEE A PODIATRIST FOR FOOT PAIN?

You should see a podiatrist if you have foot pain or an injury to the foot and ankle. Seek a podiatrist if you have sports related injuries, sprains, strains or broken bones. If you have arthritis with joint pain, heel pain, bunions, hammerotes, skin conditions, ingrown nails, swelling, and infections. If you are a diabetic you should not only be seen for pain and open wounds but also for regular maintenance so as to prevent further issues down the line. A podiatrist should also be your choice of specialists to go to if you begin a new exercise routine such as running or biking.

IS IT BETTER TO SEE A PODIATRIST OR ORTHOPEDIST?

When it comes to the management of bones, joints, and ligaments, both podiatrists and orthopedists are qualified. However, when it comes to an injury or condition affecting the foot and ankle, your best option is to see a podiatrist. From an educational point of view, the podiatrist is highly focused and specifically trained in diagnosing and treating foot and ankle disorders from the very first day of medical school and throughout residency and fellowships. They emphasize their entire medical career on the foot and ankle. An orthopedist is trained in a similar manner but they focus on all the body parts of your musculoskeletal system.

WHAT DOES A PODIATRIST DO ON A FIRST VISIT?

When you are seen for your first visit, the podiatrist will have you fill out a thorough medical history including medications taken, medical conditions and past surgeries. You will be asked to describe your foot and ankle conditions to help the doctor better identify and diagnose the area of concern. A physical exam will then take place and depending on the condition, the podiatrist may decide to take in-office x-rays, send you out for other diagnostic testing such as MRI or CT scan and possibly blood work. Treatment will vary according to the diagnosis made. It may include a nutrition program, orthotics, oral medication, injections, application of devices to help you walk better and surgical discussions if needed.

WHEN IS FOOT PAIN SERIOUS?

You should seek immediate attention when you experience pain that is persistent and not going away, swelling, tingling and numbness to the feet, an open wound, signs of infection like oozing and fever above 100F. You should also seek medical attention if you find that you can’t walk or bear weight on your foot. Also, if you fall and injure your foot and ankle and it feels like you may have sprained badly or broken a bone, don’t wait and seek a podiatrist.

WHAT CONDITIONS CAN PODIATRISTS TREAT?

There are numerous conditions that can affect the foot and ankle. A podiatrist is equipped to treat any and all conditions of the foot and ankle from skin disorders to structural deformities. Some examples are:

  • Bunions
  • Hammertoes
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Plantar fasciitis and heel spurs
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis of the foot and ankle
  • Growing pains in children
  • Morton’s neuroma
  • Ingrown toenails.
  • Athlete’s foot.
  • Warts
  • Toenail fungus
  • Melanomas and skin growths
  • Structural issues such as flatfoot
  • Foot and ankle fractures
  • Foot and ankle sprains
  • Achilles tendon ruptures
  • Gout

CAN PODIATRISTS CUT TOENAILS?

Yes, podiatrists can assist patients with toenail cutting. This is a service provided to patients with diabetes, circulatory issues, and those who can’t manage to cut nails themselves. This will prevent patients from cutting themselves and causing further issues such as infections or amputations.

CAN WALKING BAREFOOT CAUSE FOOT PAIN?

Walking around without shoes that support your arch and foot structure can put you at risk for injuries such as plantar fasciitis, tendonitis and metatarsalgia (pain under the ball of your foot) due to the fat pad under the foot getting thinner every time you expose your bare feet to the ground.

WHAT CAUSES FOOT PAIN ON TOP OF FOOT?

Foot pain on the top of the foot may be caused by different conditions. Common conditions are from overuse when exercising such as running, kicking, and jumping or tight shoes. Pain may also be caused by an injury such as dropping a heavy object on the foot causing a tendon sprain or a broken bone, a ganglion cyst (a lump that forms below the skin surface), arthritis, diabetes, or gout.

WHAT PART OF THE FOOT HURTS WITH DIABETES?

Diabetic patients experience foot pain with nerve damage called neuropathy. They experience numbness, tingling, burning, and sharp aching pain. They also can experience pain from open wounds that are slow to heal and drain. Diabetics also get pain from something called charcot arthropathy. Charcot foot happens when the nerves are not functioning properly and it leads to changes in the bone structure of the feet. When this happens, diabetics experience severe pain with redness, warmth, and swelling.