Our feet support our body weight, allow us to stand upright, and carry out different movements like walking, running and jumping. They are made up of ligaments, muscles, nerves, joints, and a quarter of the bones in our bodies.
Even though our feet are critical to our wellbeing and function, we don’t always look after them as much as we should. Everyday life can take a toll on our feet, leaving them vulnerable to injury, disease, and infection. A visit to a podiatrist can be a great solution to keeping our feet in good working order.
What is a Podiatrist?
Podiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in the health and wellness of the foot and ankle. Podiatrists are the most highly trained foot and ankle experts, enabling them to provide a wide range of care for the feet and lower extremities.
Podiatrists carry out examinations to diagnose injuries, infections, and diseases of the foot and ankle. They are experts in recognizing signs and symptoms for many issues, including:
- Foot/ankle injuries
- Plantar fasciitis
- Sprains and strains
- Bunions, warts, corns, calluses, and blisters
- Toe deformities, such as hammertoe, claw toe, and mallet toe
- Flat foot
- Ingrown toenails
- Nail and foot infections
- Heel pain and heel spurs
- Pain in foot arches and calves
- Skin or nail diseases
- Dry, peeling or cracked skin
- Foot ligament or muscle pain
- Foot odor
- Thickened or discolored toenails
Not only do podiatrists treat a number of injuries and infections, but they also treat foot problems related to health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and poor blood circulation.
Who Should See A Podiatrist?
Individuals with diabetes are at greater risk of developing foot problems. High levels of blood glucose over long periods of time can lead to nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy) and poor blood circulation (peripheral vascular disease). Either of these can cause foot complications such as infections, ulcers, sores, and toe deformities.
With diabetes, minor problems on the feet can quickly become major issues. If left untreated, these problems may lead to hospitalization and possibly amputation of the foot or leg.
It’s very important to have regular visits with a podiatrist if you have diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends seeing a podiatrist at least once a year for a foot exam and every time you have a sore, ulcer, injury, pain, or loss of sensation in the foot.
Another factor affecting our feet is age. As we get older, our feet can develop more problems. This can be caused by increased pressure on bones (our feet lose fat as we age, which can leave the bones less protected), ligaments and tendons becoming weaker and inflexible, and age-related conditions, such as arthritis. Regular visits to a podiatrist can ensure issues are diagnosed and treated quickly and that feet are kept as healthy as possible.
Even if you consider your feet to be healthy, there are still benefits to seeing a podiatrist for regular foot exams. Many people go years with undiagnosed foot conditions that could have been treated or corrected sooner. Podiatric education and foot care can benefit everyone, particularly athletes and those vulnerable to foot problems. It can help to prevent conditions from developing or worsening and keep feet healthy.
To ensure your feet stay in shape and without issues, visit a podiatrist at least once a year. Additionally, anytime you have unusual symptoms or injuries to the foot or ankle, it’s worth a visit to a podiatrist.
Foot And Ankle Care in Central Maryland
If you are experiencing foot, ankle, or lower leg pain, the podiatrists at Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland Foot & Ankle Care are happy to help. Our podiatrists have extensive training necessary to diagnose, treat, and prevent foot and ankle disorders, injuries, and conditions. We also have state-of-the-art surgical techniques and a compassionate, patient-centered approach to our care.