Common Foot Problems Podiatrists Treat
A podiatrist or foot doctor is a medical professional who specializes in diagnosing and treating different foot and ankle conditions. Their treatments range from exercises, medication, therapy, and even surgery. Problems with the feet and lower limbs can affect our daily lives. So, if you notice anything unusual with your lower extremities, it’s best to consult the experts.
There are many types of foot, and ankle conditions podiatrists diagnose and treat. Read on to learn more.
- Sports Injuries
There are various reasons why sports injuries happen. These include accidents, overexertion, incorrect use of equipment or sports gear, and insufficient warm-up and stretching. For that reason, athletes and individuals who regularly participate in physical activity are more vulnerable to foot and ankle sports injuries. Here are some of them:
- Ankle Sprain
This is usually caused by the twisting of the foot, resulting in the stretching or tearing of ankle ligaments. When this happens, you will have difficulty standing and walking while experiencing mild-to-moderate pain. Foot doctors help by performing the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) method or, for more serious sprains, by stabilizing the injury with a sling, brace, or cast.
While sprains may seem like a minor injury, there are some severe cases that might require surgery to fix the torn ligaments. It’s best to consult a foot doctor to determine the proper treatment for your injury.
- Achilles Tendonitis
The Achilles tendon is the tissue that connects the calf muscles to your heel bone, allowing us to stand, walk, and run. When this is overused, it results in Achilles tendonitis. Because of this, people who frequently run and play sports that involve quick movements of the feet are more likely to get this injury.
Symptoms of this condition include swelling, pain in the tendon or heel, and difficulty standing on your toes. Aside from proper stretching and exercise, a podiatrist will help you avoid future recurrences of these types of sports injuries.
- Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia, the ligament connecting your heel to your toes. Aside from standing and walking for long periods, intense running and poor shoe support also cause plantar fasciitis. Those with flat feet are also at risk of this foot problem because of the extra strain the plantar fascia gets.
Plantar fasciitis causes chronic discomfort that may affect your daily routine, so it’s best to see a podiatrist as soon as you feel any sign of heel and foot pain. They may perform treatments such as physical therapy, night splints, and athletic taping.
When the big toe angles towards the rest of your toes, your foot becomes misaligned, resulting in a foot deformity called bunions. This is characterized by a bony bump at the base and side of your big toe, causing extreme pain in your toe, which extends to the ball of your feet.
Bunions are typically caused by ill-fitting shoes and high heels that put more pressure on the balls of your feet, making women more prone to this foot problem. Depending on the severity, a foot specialist may recommend therapy, orthotics, or for severe cases, surgery.
- Ingrown Toenails
Aside from improper cutting of your toenails, excessive pressure on your toes may put you at risk of developing ingrown nails. This occurs when the edges of your toenails dig into your skin and grow into them.
If left untreated, ingrown toenails can become swollen and infected. While you can ease its symptoms through DIY remedies, a foot doctor can better diagnose your condition and recommend the best treatment and prevention plan.
- Athlete’s Foot
Another common condition podiatrists treat is the athlete’s foot. This is a type of infection caused by a fungus that thrives in warm and moist environments. You can identify an athlete’s foot by the itchy, red, and flaky skin near your toes, dry skin, or for severe cases, discolored toenails and an unpleasant smell.
While antibacterial medications are enough to treat an athlete’s foot, some may need further diagnosis and treatment. To prevent further complications, talk to a foot doctor right away.
Reach Out to a Reliable Foot Doctor
With our daily routines and activities, our feet take a beating almost every day. Because of this, taking care of them is crucial. If you notice anything unusual with your feet and ankles, or experience signs of discomfort, talk to a professional right away. By consulting a podiatrist, you can get the best remedy for your feet and prevent further complications.