Podiatry

What Is Podiatry?

The feet are among the hardest working parts of the human body. They absorb the impact of thousands of steps, support balance and stability, and can provide important clues about health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and circulation problems. Keeping feet healthy and pain free is an important part of taking care of your health, and podiatrists can help.

Podiatrists use a variety of diagnostic tools and treatment options to deliver the best foot care to each individual. Foot scans using X-rays, ultrasound and other imaging technologies allow doctors to easily diagnose a wide range of foot problems, which can be addressed with treatment options including pharmaceuticals, physical therapy, custom orthotics (devices worn inside the shoe), and surgical techniques including laser surgery when appropriate.

How Do You Prepare For A Podiatry Evaluation?

Before visiting a podiatrist, you’ll want to prepare a list of your symptoms, as well as any medications you are currently using and previous surgeries you may have had. If you have any special needs, you’ll want to inform your podiatrist during the exam. If you are having issues with walking or exercise, bring the shoes you have been wearing to your appointment.

Why Is A Foot Assesment Performed?

Because podiatric medicine is focused exclusively on the care of the foot, ankle and related leg issues, podiatrists diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions with multiple approaches tailored to each patient’s individual circumstances. These can include:

General foot care. Keeping feet healthy involves treating a wide range of common foot conditions such as athlete’s foot and other fungal conditions, corns, calluses and bunions, and even foot odor.

Arthritis care. Arthritis can strike the foot and ankle, causing joint pain and swelling which can be addressed with treatments including medication and physical therapy.

Diabetic care. People with diabetes are at special risk for foot problems due to issues such as poor circulation and impaired immune responses, so ongoing foot care is an important part of managing this disease.

Care for sports injuries. The feet and legs are at risk during many sports, and podiatrists treat injuries such as stress fractures, ankle sprains, and tendinitis with approaches ranging from medication to physical therapy and surgery.

Foot surgery. Podiatric surgeons can perform surgery to treat conditions ranging from hammertoes and congenital foot deformities to removing corns and calluses, and stabilizing fractures.

Pediatric podiatry for children’s foot care. Children’s feet need special attention to correct problems that can affect walking and balance such as flat feet, inward turning, or “pigeon toe” feet, and other conditions.

Geriatric foot care. With age, foot conditions like arthritis and gout can develop, and people become more vulnerable to fractures and sprains. Geriatric foot care focuses on the foot issues facing older individuals, with specialties such as diabetic or nursing home foot care.

What Can You Expect During A Podiatry Evaluation?

A podiatrist will examine your foot and lower leg area to check on the blood flow, sensation, and strength of the area. They will also identify any deformities such as bunions or fungal infections. Based on their examination, your podiatrist will make recommendations for a treatment plan going forward. Your doctor’s recommendations may include changes in footwear, use of special padding or insoles, or treatment such as physical therapy. Your podiatrist may also offer lifestyle directions such as weight loss, quitting smoking, changes in the amount of walking you do, or treatment of related conditions like diabetes.

What Follow Up Is Necessary For a Podiatrist Appointment?

If your podiatrist indicates that a follow-up appointment will be necessary, try to schedule your next visit at the end of your initial consultation. If your podiatrist has you undergo any kind of testing and you have not received the results within a week of your appointment, make sure to follow up by phone or email. Beyond that, it’s important that you complete any steps that have been prescribed by your podiatrist, whether it’s physical therapy, medication, exercise, or any other course of action. If you are still experiencing foot pain even after completing treatment, don’t hesitate to contact your podiatrist.

Are There Other Related Tests To A Prodiatrist Evaluation?

Patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes often have circulation issues that cause inadequate blood flow to the feet. This means that diabetes causes many foot problems, including swelling, hammertoes, and bunions, to occur more commonly. If you frequently notice these symptoms, it may be a good idea to undergo further testing to determine whether diabetes could be a root cause.


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