What is a Podiatrist?
A podiatrist is a foot and ankle physician and surgeon. Podiatrists are medical practitioners who are devoted to the study, diagnosis, and treatment of foot, ankle, and lower extremity illnesses and injuries. In layman’s terms, a podiatrist is a foot doctor. To become a podiatrist, you have to enroll in a podiatric medical school and learn the anatomy of the lower extremity, physical assessment, sports medicine and other courses that are part of the regular medical studies curriculum.
5 Signs that it’s time to see a podiatrist
1. When starting running as a regular exercise
If you are thinking about starting to run as a regular exercise, it would be great to see a sports podiatrist. They will help you avoid complications such as fasciitis, shin splints, sprained ankles and complications from irregular pronation of the foot.
2. When you have wounds on your feet and you are diabetic
It is quite common to see people who deal with diabetes suffer from foot problems which at times faster and lead to amputation. Most of the time, these problems can be prevented if the patient sees a foot doctor regularly.
3. When you have unexplained pain the heel
This is one of those conditions that are triggered by a number of factors. It could be that you just overexerted yourself when you were exercising, or you could be suffering from something as serious as the bony growth inside the heel. Other causes could be inflamed tendons, especially those attached to the heel. The pain can be so excruciating that it makes it impossible to go about your regular activities. If you have reached such a stage, you need to book a podiatrist appointment.
4. When you have persistent swelling and numbness of the feet
If your feet keep swelling and getting numb without an explanation, it is an indication that you have conditions such as tendonitis, a broken bone, sprained ankle or other infection. That the time when to go to a podiatrist.
5. When you have cracked and bleeding heels
Most of the times, it is easy to resolve dry skin and cracking with foot cream and sloughing. But if the problem persists, and when the heels start bleeding you may need to see a podiatrist. Other related conditions which will need the help of these experts include ingrown toenails and painful bunions. The experts also treat excessively thick calluses and corn.
What to look for in a podiatrist
- Ask whether they are board certified: this is the best way how to find the best podiatrist. If they are not certified, you cannot be assured that they will uphold medical standards in treating you.
- Make sure that they understand your needs: There are many foot problems which will take you back to the children’s podiatrist. You need someone who will keep a record and figure out the cause for easier treatment.
- Ensure that they are good communicators and that they are willing to teach you what you do not understand about foot care. For instance, if you keep going to the same podiatrist for a problem like corn removal, there is a possibility that they aren’t telling you enough about the causes of corns or bunions and how you can reduce the possibility of getting them.
- Ensure that you get an expert that recommends all other treatments that work and sees surgery as a last resort. This is because there are some who are scalpel happy and this is not what you want for the health of your feet unless the benefits outweigh the risks. These are just a few steps on how to choose a podiatrist.
Remember that it is always better to deal with a foot care expert when it comes to treating conditions that affect the feet because GPs and other practitioners will only give a general solution whereas the specialist will be in a position to make a more informed choice.