When Should You See a Podiatrist?
Although we tend to consult a podiatrist because of pain or discomfort, the truth is that the function of this professional can also be preventive. Podiatry is capable of preventing foot injuries before they appear. With that in mind, in this article, we’ll tell you when you should see a podiatrist.
This area of health studies the feet in their anatomical and physiological context and goes far beyond the famous corns and the biometric study of the footprint. Rather, it’s a specialty that considers the lower limbs as a functional whole.
Podiatrists have the ability to prevent, diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate the feet. They can also correct disorders, prevent them from appearing, and recondition the footprint. In some countries, becoming a podiatrist requires obtaining a diploma while, in others, it requires a university degree.
Common reasons to see a podiatrist
As we’ve already mentioned, podiatry isn’t a science that’s limited to treating corns and calluses. Various areas of daily life influence the anatomy and physiology of the foot, and it’s there that podiatrists can exercise their knowledge.
The most common reason for consultation continues to be pain or discomfort. When we notice that our feet hurt too much, are uncomfortable to walk on, or a visible lesion has formed, then we go to the podiatrist.
However, we don’t have to wait to have an injury to see a podiatrist. For example, if we’re going to start a sport, or if we’ve been practicing it for some time, this professional can advise us. Sports often force and overload our feet, and a podiatrist can correct bad posture to avoid injury.
There’s also the possibility of asking the professional to perform a biometric test of the footprint. Through measurements and apparatus, the podiatrist determines how the base of our foot is, where it rests too much and too little, and what injury could occur if we don’t correct the problem.
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Disorders that podiatry can treat
However, podiatrists also have the ability to treat diseases that are already present in the foot. In some cases, they work in conjunction with a general practitioner or traumatologist, and sometimes directly with their own expertise.
Podiatry can treat the following:
- Repetitive injuries: Some people frequently injure their feet or ankle joints. This may be the result of an improper step. By biometrically evaluating the foot, it’s possible to correct poor footing.
- Poor posture of old age: With age, the bones of the foot weaken and deform, which changes the way we step. So, a podiatrist can advise the elderly and their caregivers to improve walking dynamics and prevent falls.
- Ingrown toenails: Podiatrists can remove ingrown toenails with minimally invasive surgery that takes just a few minutes and uses local anesthesia.
- Flatfoot: Flatfoot is a condition where the inner arch of the foot doesn’t fully form. It can be painful if the individual doesn’t use proper footwear.
- Calluses: Podiatrists treat calluses with special instruments.
- Hammertoes: Some people suffer from toe deformities, such as hammertoe, which is the most common and consists of one toe bending downward on itself. This changes the footprint, alters the use of footwear, and produces calluses.
- Bromhidrosis: This is the name of the intense odor in the feet due to a failure of the glands of the lower limbs. Sometimes there are concomitant infections that contribute to the bad odor, and sometimes it’s simply a genetic fault.
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Treatments performed by a podiatrist
Podiatrists have the training to perform treatments if they detect an alteration that’s within the scope of their knowledge. In that regard, one of the most common indications made by these professionals is the use of insoles.
Insoles are orthopedic treatments – i.e., they’re intended to correct deviations in the axis of posture. So, by improving our posture, we can prevent pain and joint disorders.
Although there are insoles that are available to purchase freely in stores, this isn’t a good idea. Rather, a podiatrist should always measure the foot to determine the appropriate insole for each person. After all, the footprint is an individual characteristic that’s unique to each human being.
If necessary, the podiatrist can also perform minor surgery. As we mentioned above, the treatment of ingrown toenails and corns is possible with minimal instruments in the office with nothing more than local anesthesia.
It’s important to remember that feet may return to their unhealthy positions, ingrown toenails may come back, or corns may reappear. Therefore, follow-up is also important in podiatry. For this reason, podiatrists make scheduled appointments to monitor and reevaluate treatments.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Fernández, S. Sastre. Fisioterapia del pie. Podología física. Vol. 8. Edicions Universitat Barcelona, 1991.
- Nova, Alfonso Martínez. Podología. Atlas de Cirugía Ungueal. Ed. Medica Panamericana, 2006.
- López, Juan Carlos Díaz. “Relación entre osteopatía y podología.” El Peu 21.4 (2001): 182-184.
- Labarta González-Vallarino, Alma Amparo. Actividad científica española en el área de podología: estudio bibliométrico. Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Servicio de Publicaciones, 2011.