Podiatrists are doctors who diagnosis and treat disorders of the foot, ankle, and lower leg. While many common foot problems can be solved with rest, ice, anti-inflammatory drugs, and shoe changes, other issues may require medical attention. If you suffer from any of these conditions or symptoms, seeing a podiatrist is a good course of action:
· Foot pain. If you have pain that gets worse with use, this may be a sign of a stress fracture. To avoid a full break, you should see a podiatrist immediately.
· Severe pain lasting more than 24 hours. If you have just had surgery, the problems could be an infection, tight dressing, DVT (deep vein thrombosis), or compartment syndrome.
· A wound or sore that does not heal. This is especially important if you have diabetes because it usually takes you longer to heal.
· Foot discolorations. Redness may be an indication of an infection or gout. A blue or purple color may indicate a vein problem. Whiteness or paleness (pallor) may be a sign of decreased blood flow.
· Swelling in one foot. The swelling may be caused by a broken bone, tendonitis, tendon rupture, or infection.
· Numbness, burning, and tingling in the feet. These may be symptoms of neuropathy, which diabetes can cause. Diabetic neuropathy puts you at increased risk for developing foot ulcers.
· Hot feet. If your foot is painful, hot, and swollen, you may have charcot arthropathy, a problem that occurs in people with diabetes. Charcot can lead to the bones breaking and slipping out of place.
· Flattened arches. This could be a sign of tendon dysfunction or even rupture, which can lead to arthritis.
It’s also helpful to see a podiatrist to see treatment for heel pain, ingrown toe nails, bunions (bumps on the side of the big toe), hammertoes (bent toes), foot or ankle arthritis, fungal toe nails, sores (ulcers), infections, sprains and fractures, ankle pain or weakness, nerve problems, shin splints and athlete’s foot.
If you’re battling foot pain, don’t miss next Wednesday’s seminar with Dr. Jeffrey Worman, DPM-Podiatric Surgery. He’ll explain how to prevent and treat different kinds of foot pain. For more information, visit St. Petersburg General Hospital online or call 1-888-741-5122.
Do You Need a Podiatrist (America’s Podiatrist)
Ask the Expert (American Podiatric Medicine Association)