Chronic foot and ankle pain is far more common than you think. More than 77% of people have experienced foot or ankle pain. Of this percentage, one-third wants to see a doctor for an expert’s opinion.
If you fall into this category, a podiatrist is the medical professional that you need. However, many people are mistakenly turning to their Primary Care Physician (PCP) instead.
Are you wondering what is a podiatrist? Read on to explore topics like foot conditions and common ankle injuries. Learn when to see a podiatrist so that you make the best medical decision for your long-term health.
What Is a Podiatrist?
A podiatrist is a doctor who specializes in the foot, ankle, and lower leg. They provide testing and diagnosis to determine the existence of various problems in that area. Podiatrists are also capable of performing surgery from the lower leg down to the foot.
They use a number of different medical techniques to diagnose an issue. Diagnosis typically involves the use of physical exams, laboratory tests, and x-rays.
After an issue is identified, the podiatrist begins treatment. This may involve prescribing different medicines or using foot products like special shoe inserts.
In the most severe cases, a podiatrist turns to surgery to remediate a problem. Typical podiatry surgeries include removing bone spurs or repairing a fracture.
There are a few different specialties within the podiatry field. Sports medicine is a popular specialty as podiatrists work specifically with athletes. This career path may lead to the doctor working for a professional sports team.
Other specialties include diabetic foot care and pediatrics. The pediatric specialty works directly with children.
What Are Common Foot and Ankle Ailments?
Bone spurs and fractures are commonly seen in the podiatry field. Other patients are dealing with ingrown toenails or calluses.
Some people are struggling with chronic pain caused by arthritis. Diabetes often causes foot and ankle issues that require medical attention.
Many people are born with foot and ankle defects. They inherently have issues with arches or other foot and ankle deformities.
When Should You See a Podiatrist?
The general rule of thumb is to see a podiatrist when foot or ankle pain is chronic. You need medical attention when it affects your quality of life.
You should not be experiencing discomfort when walking the dog or playing with children. Other patients have a different set of expectations. Movement 101 Podiatry is going to see patients when foot and ankle issues are negatively affecting sports performance.
Other instances to see a podiatrist include nail fungus, bunions, and athlete’s foot. Numbness or swellings are two other examples that require medical attention.
Now that you know what a podiatrist is, you are better equipped to see the correct doctor. A podiatrist is the right doctor to see in the presence of foot, ankle, or lower leg problems. The podiatrist can diagnose and treat issues that are plaguing you on a daily basis.
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