Foot and ankle problems can drastically affect your daily life. They can be due to chronic medical conditions like arthritis or diabetes but also overuse or poorly fitting shoes can lead to temporary, acute pain. Here are some conditions in which a podiatrist can help you get back on your feet.
1. You feel joint pain in your feet or ankles.
Arthritis is one of the most common conditions that affect people these days. If the joints in your feet are often swollen, red, and stiff or tender, you should see a podiatrist. Arthritis can cause joint to become deformed and can eventually lead to disability. A podiatrist can suggest treatments that may preserve joint health and make it easier for you to live and function more comfortably.
2. You have diabetes.
Diabetes makes you significantly more prone to foot problems. These issues can range from dry skin to serious complications like neuropathy, poor blood supply and open wounds that do not heal. If you have diabetes, you should have a foot exam performed by a podiatrist at least once a year. Having a podiatrist as part of your healthcare team lowers the risk of amputation due to diabetes by more than 50%, studies show.
3. You have heel pain.
There are many causes of heel pain. You may have a bony growth on the heel known as a heel spur, or one of the tendons that connect to the heel may be inflamed. If you have persistent heel pain, see a podiatrist for a diagnosis. He or she will perform a foot exam, and a proper diagnosis is the first step toward developing a treatment plan.
4. You have a stubborn ingrown toenail.
When a toenail grows into the skin, the ingrown nail can cause an infection. Ingrown toenails most often affect the big toe. If a toenail is very red or has lots of drainage, visit a podiatrist for treatment. In some cases, when this is a chronic issue, they will remove part or all of the nail to help relieve you of this issue once and for all.
5. You suspect a sprain, strain, or broken bone.
Podiatrists can help treat sprains, strains, and broken bones in the foot or the ankle, as they can diagnose your injury and suggest treatment. Swelling, trouble walking, redness, and increasing pain following an injury are all reasons to see a podiatrist.
6. You have a bothersome corn or callus.
Corns and calluses are some of the most common reasons people visit a podiatrist. These areas of built-up skin can be painful if they get too thick. A podiatrist will be able to remove corns and calluses and provide recommendations for offloading these areas.
7. You’re starting to run on a regular basis.
Runners are especially prone to aches and pains like shin splints. A podiatrist can assess your body and feet to flag potential problems and recommend strategies to avoid them. They can also recommend the best type of athletic shoe for your foot.
8. You have a painful bunion.
A bump at the base of the big toe is known as a bunion. It occurs when the bone or joint of the big toe is out of place. Bunions tend to get worse unless they’re treated, so a podiatrist can suggest treatments, such as padding, taping or foot orthotics to prevent further deformity.
9. You think you have athlete’s foot—and it isn’t going away.
The fungal infection known as athlete’s foot can make the skin between your toes look scaly and feel itchy. Over-the-counter anti-fungal cream may help, but if the infection doesn’t seem to improve after a couple of weeks, you should see a podiatrist.
10. You need custom foot orthotics.
If you experience foot or lower leg pain, you’re likely to get a more speedy diagnosis and treatment recommendations from a podiatrist. Podiatrists can diagnose and provide a wide range of medical care for problems of the foot, ankle, and lower leg including orthotics. Your insurance company will also accept a prescription for orthotics from a podiatrist.