Podiatry, also commonly known as podiatric medicine, is a branch of medicine that is devoted to the treatment of the foot, ankle and related-leg structures. Podiatrists can treat people of any age for a variety of foot complications. When many people think about foot problems, they think of issues that usually develop later in life.…
4 Common Podiatry Treatments
The word "podiatry" comes from two Greek roots meaning "foot" and "treatment." A podiatrist's education and training focuses primarily on diagnosing and treating conditions of the feet and ankles. To that end, they earn a special, separate type of degree that is different from that of a medical doctor, called a DPM, or Doctor of Podiatric Medicine. Some podiatrists perform surgery, although patients should check with each individual practitioner as it is not a requirement in the field.
Common podiatry treatments
The type of treatment required depends on the condition. Podiatry treatments can range from injections to surgical procedures, as well as more conservative measures such as RICE protocol or oral medications. The following treatments are among the most often performed.
1. Plantar fascia injection
The plantar fascia is a ligament found along the bottom of the foot. Its purpose is to support the arch. A number of factors, such as repetitive heel stress, can cause inflammation of the plantar fascia. When the inflammation persists despite conservative treatment, a podiatrist can perform a steroid injection into the plantar fascia to help calm the irritation.
2. Nail ablation
An ingrown toenail occurs when the nail cuts into the skin and tissue that surround it. This can cause pain and promote bacterial or fungal infection. Nail ablation is performed when other treatment measures have not been effective at treating the problem or preventing recurrence. It involves removing the nail completely and applying an acidic compound to the nailbed to prevent regrowth.
A bunion causes the big toe to turn inward and a bump to form along its base. Certain conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, are risk factors for bunion formation. However, often the culprit behind a bunion is a pair of shoes that are too tight. Surgery may be required when a bunion causes pain that interferes with daily activities.
Bunionectomy is a broad term that includes more than 100 procedures. Some involve removing a portion of the bone, while others are used to move the toe back into a better position.
4. Morton's neurectomy
A neuroma is scar tissue that forms on a nerve due to inflammation. It can cause numbness, tingling, pain and swelling. A Morton's neuroma forms specifically between the third and fourth toes along the bottom of the foot. If conservative measures are inadequate to resolve the symptoms, the affected nerve may be removed altogether. A surgeon can either approach the nerve from the bottom of the foot for direct visualization or from the top to avoid a scar on the walking surface of the foot.
Because there are many conditions that can affect the feet and ankles, a podiatry practice may be wide-ranging or extremely focused. An initial discussion with a podiatrist to discuss the specific types of treatment the office provides is never a bad idea. A practitioner with limited experience with your particular condition should be able to make a referral to another provider who can perform the treatment you require.
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