A podiatrist is a medical doctor that specialises in the branch of medicine devoted to the study, health, diagnosis and treatment of foot, ankle and lower leg disorders. Foot problems can affect everyone, from the inactive to athletes, and depending on how you walk or run may cause referred pain across other joints and the lower back. Foot problems may also arise as the consequence of one of the many systemic diseases such as diabetes, kidney problems, arthritis, anemia and circulatory disorders.
Sometimes foot problems can be managed personally at home with heat, ice and rest, but when no relief can be found, it may be time for a trip to the podiatrist. Read on for more information on common reasons to see your local Podiatrist.
Pain in the lower leg, foot and ankle can result from a number of conditions. These include:
Feet should normally look the same in colour. A difference may indicate a problem such as:
A Podiatrist should also attend to skin irritations such as Athletes Foot. This is a fungal skin disease that starts at the bottom of the feet or between the toes, and may spread to the rest of the body if left untreated. Symptoms include:
These symptoms may indicate neuropathy, which causes reduced sensation in the feet. It may be caused by conditions such as Diabetes and needs to be regularly monitored by a Podiatrist.
Growths of the feet and toes come in all shapes and sizes and may produce pain along with other unpleasant side effects. Some of these growths may include:
Flattened arches of the foot, otherwise known as “flat feet”, may indicate ruptured or dysfunctional tendons. When these tendons do not function adequately, the bones become misaligned and ultimately cause arthritis in the joints.
Muscle imbalances in the foot may also cause structural changes that result in painful conditions such as Hammertoe. This condition causes the toes to curl up in a claw-like position, and most frequently affects the second toe. Pressure on the toes should be avoided as much as possible, as well as poorly fitted shoes and socks. Your podiatrist will be able to assess whether or not surgery is required or not.