Because a podiatrist’s field of medicine is so broad, it is easy to lose sight of when you should actually visit one. Many people suffering from foot or ankle injuries seek care from an orthopedist when a podiatrist could have treated them sooner. Others mistake problems like corns and bunions as trivial conditions which don’t require medical attention.
Although there are a number of reasons to see a podiatrist, here are nine very clear signs that you should schedule a visit with a podiatrist right away!
Foot & Ankle Injuries
An injury sustained during a fall or accident is the most obvious cause to go see a podiatrist. Additionally, you should go for a condition resulting from prolonged wear and tear to the feet and ankles. Conditions such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis and sprained ankle are all easily treatable. Indeed, treating them as quickly as possible guarantees the best chance of fast and complete recovery!
Chronic pain in the heel may arise from one of over a dozen conditions. These conditions include bursitis, Paget’s disease of bone and stress fractures. Determining the exact underlying cause of heel pain requires a thorough examination and most likely X-rays. With this information, your podiatrist will be able to advise the most effective course of treatment.
Pain, Numbness & Swelling of the Feet
You should expect your feet to hurt if you have just run a marathon or dropped something heavy on them. But when one or both of your feet have become painful, numb or swollen for no apparent reason, it is time to seek help from a podiatrist. These symptoms could indicate a wide variety of health conditions. Health conditions such as atherosclerosis, kidney disease and liver disease. Diagnosing the underlying reason for discomfort in your feet as soon as possible may give you the best possible prognosis.
Corns & Calluses
These thickened areas of dry, dead skin typically occur when there is too much friction between the toes and an ill-fitting shoe. They are not just aesthetically displeasing; if allowed to grow too thick, corns and calluses may both cause intense discomfort and make wearing any shoes uncomfortable. Although medicated patches may help to relieve corns and calluses, only a doctor is qualified to trim them off completely.
A bunion is a protrusion that forms on the joint at the base of the big toe when the bones in the front part of the foot become displaced. The skin surrounding a bunion may also become sore. Bunions are often painful in their own right, and may also make wearing shoes uncomfortable as well as affect your normal gait. A podiatrist may prescribe anything from padding to surgery in order to treat a bunion.
An ingrown toenail occurs when the side or corner of the toenail (typically on the big toe) grows outward into the soft flesh. Pain, swelling and redness are all common symptoms of an ingrown toenail. Although, more serious complications can occur if it is neglected for too long. It is possible to treat this condition on your own or with the aid of a pedicurist, although a podiatrist offers the safest treatment. They may also prescribe antibiotics if the area surrounding the ingrown toenail has become infected.
A fungal infection of the toenail is commonly contracted at nail salons, locker rooms and other wet, communal places. If left untreated, a fungal infection may eventually thicken and discolor every toenail of the foot. A podiatrist typically prescribes oral antifungal drugs to reverse this condition, but may advise nail removal to treat advanced cases. Although it does not necessarily affect the toenails, persistent athlete’s foot may only be treatable with prescription-strength oral medications as well.
People who suffer from diabetes have a significant chance of developing diabetic neuropathy, in which high blood sugar levels can damage nerves in the legs and the feet. They also have a higher chance of peripheral vascular disease, where the legs and feet receive inadequate blood flow. If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it is crucial that you see a podiatrist annually for a thorough examination.
Although the treatment of cancer falls under the domain of an oncologist, a podiatrist is qualified to detect melanoma on the feet and beneath toenails. If you have noticed a suspect spot on any part of your body which a podiatrist would normally treat, you would be well-advised to see one at once.
Visit our Twin Cities Podiatrist!
Whether you seek treatment for chronic or acute conditions of the foot, ankle or lower leg, you can depend on the podiatrists of Twin Cities Foot & Ankle Clinic. Our personalized service and state-of-the-art diagnostic technology are always available at our two locations in Woodbury and Golden Valley, Minnesota. We welcome you to contact us today!