Your feet bear the brunt of your entire body weight, so it’s no surprise that problems with them are common. From bunions and heel spurs to ingrown toenails and plantar fasciitis, plenty of issues can crop up. These conditions can prevent you from participating in activities you love and can make everyday tasks excruciating. When it comes to finding relief from foot problems, you may be wondering if you should see a podiatrist.
What Are Podiatrists?
Podiatrists are doctors, but they’re not like medical doctors specializing in general health or specific organs like the heart. Instead, podiatrists are doctors of podiatric medicine. This is a branch of health care that focuses on diagnosing and treating conditions of the foot and ankle.
Podiatrists complete four years of undergraduate study and four years of graduate study at a podiatric medical school. This training gives them the skills and knowledge to diagnose and treat foot and ankle problems effectively.
However, this doesn’t mean they aren’t qualified to treat other conditions. Many podiatrists are also certified in other medical specialties, such as orthopedics or sports medicine. This qualification allows them to provide comprehensive care to their patients.
In most states, a podiatry board licenses and regulates podiatrists. To become licensed, a podiatrist must pass a written exam and a clinical skills exam. They must also complete continuing education credits regularly to stay up-to-date on the latest advancements in podiatric medicine.
What Condition Do Podiatrists Treat?
Podiatrists are experts in diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the feet and ankles. Some of the most common problems they treat are:
- Bunions – a deformity of the big toe, where it bends toward the second toe, causing the base joint of the big toe to protrude outward
- Heel spurs – a bony growth that forms on the heel bone, which can be painful, especially when walking or standing
- Ingrown toenails – occur when the sides of a toenail grow into the flesh, causing pain, redness, and swelling
- Plantar fasciitis – causes pain in the heel and bottom of the foot, resulting from overuse or wearing shoes that don’t support the foot
- Achilles tendinitis – inflammation of the Achilles tendon, the large cord of tissue that runs from the heel to the calf
- Flat feet – when the foot’s arch collapses, causing the entire sole to contact the ground, leading to pain and instability
- Hammertoe – a deformity of the second, third, or fourth toe, where the toe bends downward at the joint, causing pain and difficulty in wearing shoes
How Do Podiatrists Treat Foot And Ankle Conditions?
Podiatrists treat foot and ankle conditions using various methods. These can include conservative and surgical procedures. For non-surgical treatments, podiatrists can:
- Prescribe oral or topical medications to ease pain and inflammation
- Recommend orthotic devices, such as shoe inserts or arch supports, to correct problems with posture and alignment
- Recommend physical therapy exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles and tissues around the foot and ankle
For more severe conditions, podiatrists may recommend surgery, like procedures to:
- Remove bunions or heel spurs
- Repair damaged nerves or tendons
- Realign bones in the foot or ankle
You should see a podiatrist if you are experiencing pain or problems with your feet or ankles. Podiatrists can provide treatment and relief for many conditions that prevent you from living your everyday life. If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with a podiatrist.
Trusted Podiatrist In St. Peters, O’Fallon, & Wentzville, MO
Podiatrists are doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions that affect the foot and ankle. Many podiatrists also pursue other specialties like orthopedics or sports medicine to give comprehensive care to patients. If you have concerns about your feet or ankles, consult a podiatrist today.
If you need a trusted podiatrist in St. Peters, O’Fallon, and Wentzville, look no further than Advanced Bone & Joint. Dr. Anthony Lombardo is an experienced and compassionate foot and ankle doctor who can give you the care you deserve. You may call us at (636) 229-4222 to learn more about our services or to make an appointment. You may also use our convenient online appointment request form to book a consultation.
We look forward to helping you get back up on your feet!