A patient may seek care from a podiatrist when painful conditions of the feet or ankles cause difficulty with daily activities. Podiatry is a specialty of medicine that focuses on the feet and surrounding structures and how they interact with the rest of the body. These doctors use a number of resources to diagnose conditions…
What Disorders do Podiatrists Treat?
A podiatrist is a type of doctor who focuses on disorders of the foot and ankle. There is a wide variety of treatments that podiatrists offer, including both non-invasive methods and surgical procedures. These doctors frequently address conditions caused by both chronic health issues and unexpected injuries. If you are suffering from any of the common medical conditions discussed in this guide, it is important to visit one of these health professionals and learn about possible measures to provide relief.
Disorders a podiatrist frequently treats
While many podiatrists have a thorough knowledge of how the feet, ankles and lower limbs function, there are several conditions these doctors treat on a regular basis. Some of the common disorders a podiatrist is trained to address involve long-term health issues while other situations entail one-time problems or injuries.
With 33 joints in each foot, it is no wonder many people deal with arthritis in their feet at some point. This painful condition involves swelling and inflammation of the joints. Since there are more than 100 different types of arthritis that can affect the foot, the exact treatment used depends on the location and nature of this disease. While some patients might find relief with physical therapy or shoe inserts, others might need medication or even surgery.
Over time, patients with diabetes may start to notice numbness or tingling in the lower legs and feet. This is due to damage to the body’s nerves caused by the disease, and it often gets worse when blood sugar is not under control. This condition can result in several complications including joint damage, ulcers, sexual dysfunction, digestive problems and urinary incontinence. Proper foot care is an important part of preventing diabetic neuropathy, and a podiatrist can assess the health of a patient’s foot and address any issues that exist.
Toe and nail conditions
There are a variety of problems that can affect the toes including hammer, claw and mallet toes. Since these conditions are often caused by tight shoes, the doctor might recommend wearing different footwear. Additionally, there are products that can cushion toes or force them into a normal position. Patients might also deal with nail fungus or ingrown toenails. If these issues are severe and do not respond to any of the methods listed above, surgery might be required.
Foot injuries can happen during heavy physical activity or from an unexpected accident, such as being hit by an object or experiencing a fall. Podiatrists can address many common foot injuries including tendinitis, sprains, fractures, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs or neuroma. Depending on the issue, these doctors can order necessary tests, fix broken bones, prescribe medication, perform surgery or other procedures and provide helpful advice on how to prevent further complications.
While there are many issues that afflict the feet or ankles, patients can work with a podiatrist to improve their functioning and minimize pain. It is a good idea to make an appointment as soon as issues are noticed to help reduce the need for surgery or more invasive procedures.
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