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Why A Visit To The Podiatrist Is Just As Important As A Trip To The Dentist’s.

Why A Visit To The Podiatrist Is Just As Important As A Trip To The Dentist's.

Who Is A Podiatric Surgeon?

A podiatrist is a doctor, but not just any doctor but a doctor who specializes in the treatment and care of the lower limbs (with particular attention to the feet and ankles)! 

Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) are physicians or surgeons who treat the foot, ankle, and related bones and joints of the leg. The title ‘chiropodist’ is an old, outdated way of referring to a podiatrist—which you may have heard before. A podiatrist has the title DPM in front of their name, just like how a regular doctor has the title DR in front of theirs.

The podiatrist who is a specialist in foot surgery is known as a podiatric surgeon. They are certified by the board to handle both diagnosis of general foot health and surgery for disorders of the foot and ankle.

For a podiatrist to work in any state, they have to be licensed. This license has to be renewed every few years or they won’t be able to work. It is also necessary for them to keep themselves informed about the current news and developments in their field in order to give the best care available to their patients. They may do this by attending training seminars or reading journals.

TRAINING:

The education of a podiatrists begins with four years of undergraduate study followed by a four year course in an accredited podiatric medical school, which is then marked as complete by three to four years of residency at a hospital where they put their knowledge to practice and gain more experience in the field.

To be deemed qualified by the American Board of Podiatric Medicine, a podiatrist needs to pass all the required exams set by the board. Some podiatrists can also choose to take on more specialized roles that focus on specific areas of treatment, such as foot & ankle reconstruction or plastic surgery—to name a few.

This stringent process ensures that every podiatrist has the necessary knowledge to properly care for your feet.

 

Care of The Feet

Podiatrists care for patients of all ages, shapes and sizes (not only old folks have problems with their feet!). Because of this it is expected that they would be able to provide treatment for a variety of different foot conditions in the same way you would get treated by your family doctor.

Some areas that a podiatrist can be specialized in are listed as follows:
  • Sports Medicine
  • Reconstructive Surgery
  • Podiatric Diabetology (treating the foot conditions that occur with diabetes)
  • Podopediatrics (foot problems in children)
  • High-risk Wound Care [and more…]

If you have a persistent pain in your feet it might be necessary to see a podiatrist but even if your foot doesn’t hurt, it’s a good idea to have your feet checked once in a while. A podiatrist can safely remove the calluses on your feet and clip your toenails correctly (to avoid getting ingrown nails). A podiatrist will also be able to tell you what kind of shoe is best for the shape of your feet (in order to avoid unnecessary discomfort).

Common conditions of the feet include

Calluses Infections Of The Foot (Athletes’ Foot) Fractures or Broken Bones
Ingrown Toenails Arthritis Correcting Walking Patterns
SmellyFeet Foot Injuries Bunion Removal
Flat Feet Sprain Skin/Nail Diseases
Blisters & Warts Hammer Toes Tumors
Corns & Bunions Cast Ulcers
Ligament/Muscle Pain Prosthetics Wound Care
Orthotics to support/strengthen the foot (braces and insoles) Casts Amputation

Risk Factors

Certain health conditions may cause or make you prone to foot problems, These include:

  • Heart Disease or Stroke
  • Arthritis
  • Obesity
  • High Cholesterol Levels
  • Diabetes
  • Poor Circulation

Diabetic patients are more susceptible to having foot problems. Carefully observing any change in how your feet feel or keeping a record of the symptoms regarding your feet can help with future diagnosis. Treating the underlying condition itself can also help alleviate foot pain.

 

It would be best to let your podiatrist know if you have any symptoms of foot complications caused by diabetes:
  • Sharp/Burning Pain
  • Sores & Ulcers
  • Cracking Skin
  • Dry & Cracking Toenails
  • Tenderness
  • Calf (back of the lower leg) pain during walks

It might be necessary to see both a podiatrist and your usual doctor (or family doctor) if you start having pains or get an injury in any part of the foot. You are also likely to pay visits to other specialists for further treatment if physiotherapy can help relieve your symptoms. Your feet need to be examined by your doctor (podiatrist or otherwise) to discover the reason for your pain.

 

Tests and scans for foot pain include:

  • A Blood Test
  • X-ray
  • CT scan
  • Nail Swab
  • MRI scan
  • Ultrasound

 

Reasons To See A Podiatrist

  1. Flat feet: It might be necessary to wear orthotics (orthopedic support) like arch supports or foot braces to reduce pain (in the case of flat feet) and to give support to weak/injured foot ligaments. Molds of your feet are taken to ensure that your orthotics fit just right!
  2. Nail Infection: If the pain in your foot is a result of a health condition, your usual doctor might be able to give treatment. For example, a fungal nail infection can be treated with antifungal medication.
  3. Gout or Arthritis: These two conditions can cause you to feel pain (in your feet and toes). Treatment of gout and arthritis will alleviate this pain.
  4. Diabetes can damage the nerves in your feet. This often leads to pain, numbness, and sores on your feet and legs. If your foot issues are because of diabetes, you’ll need to see both a podiatrist and other doctors who specialize in treatment of the nerves and blood vessels.
  5. Joint pain/problems: It might be necessary to see a podiatrist (and other doctors specializing in the treatment of bones) to treat an ankle or knee problem. Long-term physical therapy may also be required to strengthen the muscles and joints in your legs.

 

When To See A Podiatrist

The foot is a small but complex part of the body, comprising 26 bones—and a number of joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles.

All of these make your feet the perfect limb to help you be active and mobile, while also supporting the weight of your entire body.

Foot pain limits your movement. It can make you walk with a limp and your unbalanced gait can eventually affect your hips, back and spine. Other health conditions damage your feet if they aren’t treated on time.

See a podiatrist if your foot hurts persistently or you get a painful injury. Urgent medical care may be required if you have any of these symptoms persist for more than a few days:

Notify your podiatrist or family doctor immediately if you are able to walk or put weight on your foot.

Podiatrists are specialists of the foot who spent years studying and training just to help keep your feet healthy. Getting your feet examined by your podiatrist (even when you have healthy feet) helps prevent future foot problems… And if your feet do have a problem, they will diagnose it and craft the best treatment plan tailored to you.

Book a  time with Dr. Babajide Ogunlana 

16 Replies to “Why A Visit To The Podiatrist Is Just As Important As A Trip To The Dentist’s.”

  1. Aloha! You were absolutely right the moment you talked about how putting on an orthotic can significantly alleviate back discomfort too. My husband’s uncle has been complaining about his backache since a couple of days ago and wonders what else he can do to combat it. Hmm.. I guess I’ll ask him to seek medical help quickly so he can recover decently.

  2. I didn’t know that feet issues could slowly come up over time. It makes sense that regular visits to a podiatrist could be a good idea! That seems like a good way to ensure that I prevent any big issues.

  3. I had no idea that diabetes can be exhibited in issues with the feet like cracking skin and burning pain. My daughter was recently diagnosed with diabetes and she told me that her feet have been hurting her. I’m hoping that a podiatrist can figure out an effective solution for her pain.

  4. My son wants to visit the foot doctor because he has some callus on his feet which he wants to remove. Its amazing when you said that podiatrists care for patients of all ages, shapes and sizes. Thanks for the information on foot doctors and I hope that I can bring my son to a good doctor soon.

  5. Thanks for helping me understand that a podiatrist would be a specialist in foot surgery, and they are certified by the board to handle both diagnosis and procedures. With that in mind, I should tell my sister to see this kind of specialist to get her right foot checked. It’s after she had a fall this evening while climbing down the stairs which made it painful to walk longer than she expected.

  6. I do agree when you shared that it is best to see a podiatrist if your foot hurts persistently or you get a painful injury. My friend just mentioned the other day that she is worried about her father who is dealing with a foot injury since a few months ago as he has diabetes. I will suggest to her taking him to a reliable podiatrist who can help with the issue.

  7. Hi there! Oh wow, you did a great job of talking about the benefits of having custom orthotic, which is an efficient way to protect our body joints. I want to buy a suitable gift for my aunt before she embarks on a hiking trip next weekend. I’ll definitely use this tip to make the right purchase immediately.

  8. Thanks for pointing out that we need to see a foot doctor when we have a nail infection. As you said, they will be able to give the right treatment, especially if it is caused by a health condition. I will share this with my mom since her right toe has been looking infected for a week now after wearing a tight shoe back then.

  9. It caught my attention when you said that it might be necessary to see a podiatrist when there is a need to treat an ankle or knee problem. My mother has been complaining about foot pains, and she has been experiencing the signs of plantar fasciitis. I will be sure to ask her to see a professional within the week.

  10. Thank you for explaining when to see a podiatrist. My friend has been having some really bad foot pain, but she doesn’t know if her regular doctor can help her with it. I’ll be sure to pass this on to her so that she can look for a podiatrist in her area.

  11. I like how you explained that a podiatrist is a doctor, not just any doctor but a doctor specializing in the treatment and care of the lower limbs (with particular attention to the feet and ankles). My wife and fell down the stairs yesterday and luckily, she didn’t get too badly hurt. She says it hurts to walk and her ankle is very obviously swollen. I’ll see if it is still hurting her tonight, I’ll schedule an appointment with a podiatrist.

  12. Thank you for explaining that you should see a podiatrist about gout or arthritis. My husband’s family has a history of gout and he’s been experiencing more and more pain in his feet over the last few months. I’ll be sure to talk to him about seeing a podiatrist soon so that he can get some relief from the pain.

  13. I am on my feet all day since I am a teacher at a high school. I’ve noticed that I think there might be a bunion on my left foot, but I’m unsure, and I’d like to get it looked at. It’s good to know that a podiatrist can help if you have foot or ankle pain that is persistent.

  14. You got my attention when you said that it is necessary to see a podiatrist in order to treat a knee or ankle problem. This is something that I will share with my mother who has been complaining about ankle pains on her right foot. I have also noticed how his right foot swells, so it would be best for her to see a podiatrist right away.

  15. I have been running for a few years. I have a sharp pain in the ball of my foot, so I am in need of a podiatrist. I did not know that it is a good idea to have our feet checked every now and then. When I visit the podiatrist, I will also ask him to tell me what kind of shoe is best for the shape of my foot. Thank you for the information.

  16. The fact that podiatrists can help you get checked for diabetes really caught my attention. The idea of me getting diabetes without me knowing has always scared me, so I’ll do anything to try and find ways to detect it. Since my feet have been getting numb sometimes, I’ll visit a podiatrist and tell them about this right away.

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