Despite their importance, your feet could still be the last thing on your mind. More often than not, only when a foot injury or condition occurs that people realize how they should be taking care of their feet.
If you have symptoms of a foot injury or condition, you will benefit from the expertise of a podiatrist, also known as a foot-and-ankle doctor. Podiatrists have specialized knowledge of the feet’s intricate structures and in treating a broad spectrum of conditions and injuries affecting the foot and ankle.
Let’s discuss the necessary steps and tools that a podiatrist employs to accurately diagnose and treat foot conditions.
A podiatrist usually starts with a physical inspection of your foot and ankle and assessment of your gait.
Based on the assessment, your podiatrist can diagnose and treat foot conditions, such as the following:
- Diabetic foot
- Foot fractures
- Hammer Toe
- Heel Spurs
- Plantar fasciitis
Your podiatrist will also want to know your medical history. It will also help to discuss other pertinent information, such as symptoms, preexisting condition, exercise regimen, and daily routine, which may affect your feet’s health.
An X-ray can help your podiatrist identify problems involving your bone or joints. However, if an in-depth evaluation of the inner structures in your feet is required, your podiatrist may recommend an MRI scan. An MRI uses magnetic fields and radio wave signals to produce detailed images of your tendons, ligaments, and muscles. The test results can help your podiatrist pinpoint the cause of your symptoms and guide the course of treatment.
Diabetic Foot Exam
If you are living with diabetes, a podiatrist is an essential part of your healthcare team. Regular foot exams are crucial for preventing conditions that can cause serious, irreversible complications, such as diabetic neuropathy and foot ulcers. When left untreated, foot ulcers can cause severe damage to the tissues in the foot, resulting in the need for an amputation.
Your podiatrist may check your foot color, thickness, and dryness, and look for any sign of abnormalities or cuts, sores, or grazes.
Your doctor can assess your feet to identify loss of protective sensation. This test is called the 10g monofilament test, in which an instrument is run briefly on the surface of your feet. If you cannot tell when the tool was placed in contact with your foot, it may suggest that you have neuropathy.
A 10g monofilament test can be done along with other methods such as these:
- 128-Hz tuning fork
- Ankle reflexes
- Pinprick sensation
- Vibration perception threshold testing
You may also need to undergo an ankle-brachial pressure index test to evaluate blood flow in your lower limbs. Your podiatrist measures this by dividing your blood pressure result in the artery near your ankle by the blood pressure result near your arm.
Board-Certified Podiatrist in St. Peters and O’Fallon, MO
Even if you don’t see anything wrong with your feet, it pays to visit your podiatrist at least once a year. Your feet can provide a glimpse into your overall health; it may reveal health problems such as diabetes, neuropathy, dehydration, and vitamin deficiency. A podiatrist is trained to recognize these warning signs early on and devise the necessary interventions.
For comprehensive podiatric care, visit Advanced Bone & Joint Center today. Our very own Dr. Anthony Lombardo can treat a wide range of foot and ankle conditions— such as plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, and diabetic feet—using nonsurgical and surgical approaches. Dr. Lombardo can design a customized treatment plan that gets you back on your feet in a quick and safe way.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Lombardo, call us at (636) 229-4222 or fill out our online appointment request form. Let us help you walk through life with ease and comfort!