Podiatrists are highly qualified healthcare professionals who are able to identify problems with the feet and legs and offer appropriate solutions. This article gives you more information about podiatrists and their role in the healthcare system.
What is a podiatrist?
Podiatrists are doctors of Podiatric Medicine who specialize in conditions affecting the feet and ankles. The foot is a complicated structure with more than 100 tendons, ligaments, and muscles supported by 33 joints and 26 bones that allow you to balance, stand, walk, climb and run.
What are the most common foot and ankle conditions?
Podiatrists can treat bunions, corns, calluses, hammertoes, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, flat feet, fungal infections, and ingrown toenails, among many others.
In addition, they can address diabetes-related foot complications, foot or ankle fractures, and tendon problems such as Achilles tendonitis. A podiatrist can also treat leg, hip, and low back pain related to or aggravated by foot problems that require special footwear.
How do podiatrists treat these conditions?
Depending on the podiatrist's training, they often provide surgical and non-surgical treatments for foot and ankle conditions. Common procedures include bunion removal or hammertoe surgeries that may involve tendon redirection, joint resection, or fusion. For flat feet, high arches, or other similar conditions, one treatment option may be to create custom orthotic inserts that fit into shoes to alleviate associated pain or discomfort. But again, it depends on what the podiatrist recommends.
Why should I see a podiatrist?
While a primary care provider will have a general knowledge of foot and ankle conditions, podiatrists specialize in these issues, which means they can offer an evaluation and treatment for your problem based on their extensive training in all things foot and ankle related. When any condition causes undue discomfort while wearing regular shoes or walking, it may be worth consulting a podiatrist to find a treatment solution that works for you.