Ankle sprain treatment aims to treat injuries that tear or stretch the tough tissues that hold the bones in the ankle together. Ligaments help to stabilize your joints, and they prevent you from hurting them with excessive movements. An ankle becomes sprained when the ligaments are stretched past their normal range of motion, typically due…
How to Tell If Your Foot Is Broken
Colloquially known as a foot doctor, a podiatrist specializes in health conditions related to the feet and ankles. Doctors of podiatric medicine are trained to diagnose, treat and prevent a wide range of conditions occurring in the ankle downward. These doctors are perhaps most well-known for working with athletes, but there are many other reasons a patient may need to see a DPM.
Some reasons to see a podiatrist
There are many reasons a patient may be referred to a doctor of podiatric medicine. Note that some of these are symptoms of other diseases rather than independent health issues. As a result, DPMs often work closely alongside other professionals, such as general surgeons, oncologists and pediatricians.
Diabetic patients often suffer nerve damage in the feet due to poor circulation. Podiatrists help to prevent further damage and rehabilitate these patients. In the worst-case scenario, surgery may be necessary for an amputation. Cancer patients suffering from osteosarcoma may also need foot surgery, including possible amputations.
Some podiatrists may work in trauma centers or emergency care units to provide podiatric surgery. Common reasons a patient may need emergency foot surgery include the following:
- Assault or battery
- Sports-related incident
- Motor vehicle accident
- Bad fall off a bike or skateboard
Older patients may turn to a DPM for assistance with treating arthritis. This may include gout, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. All of these can make it excruciatingly difficult for a person to walk, which negatively impacts the quality of life.
Some deformities may be birth defects, but others may develop as people grow older, such as bunions. Deformities may also be caused by skin and nail conditions, such as corns, calluses and ingrown nails. All of these can be safely treated by a foot doctor.
Methods used to treat conditions
Like any other type of doctor, a podiatric physician follows specific procedures to diagnose and treat the various illnesses that may fall within their health portfolio.
Identifying potential problems with the foot and ankle usually begins with a review of the patient’s medical history. How the doctor proceeds will depend on the information found here. Further tests may include blood tests, ultrasounds, bone scans and flexibility tests. These help the doctor to identify the source of the problems as well as the extent of the damage if any.
Treatment will depend on the problem identified through testing. Some conditions may be treated topically, such as some skin and nail conditions. Bone fractures are most commonly treated with casts, braces or splints. The conditions that may require surgery include arthritis, diabetic foot disorders, neuromas, foot deformities and some sports injuries.
The bottom line
Not every discomfort or pain in the foot or ankle requires a doctor’s attention. Sometimes pain killers and rest are all that is needed. However, if the pain persists and there is swelling or tenderness, it may be wise to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist. Other symptoms of the foot and ankle that may require immediate attention include numbness, infections, open sores, fractures or difficulty walking.
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A foot doctor can help people with a variety of foot-related conditions. Many different types of doctors treat conditions of the feet. These include podiatrists and orthopedists. But many people are often not sure whether to see a podiatrist or orthopedist for foot-related conditions. It is important to understand the similarities and differences between the…
People who have diabetes are at increased risk of foot infections than people who do not have diabetes, because having too much sugar in their blood for a long time can cause health complications, including foot problems that require diabetic foot treatment. This is why diabetics should schedule regular checkups with a podiatrist to make…
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