1. When Should I See a Podiatrist?
We all experience foot pain at some time in our lives. But when does foot pain require a trip to the podiatrist’s office?
Today we explore podiatrists’ medical training, the common conditions they treat, and when patients should make an appointment to visit one.
Podiatrists specialize in a wide variety of fields such as sports medicine, pediatrics, wound care, and diabetic care.
Some foot or ankle pain resolves quickly with basic at-home remedies like rest, icing, elevation, or over-the-counter medication. When these options fail to relieve the pain in a day or two, it’s time to consult The Podiatrist.
Patients who participate in high-impact activities such as ballet dancing, running, walking, and sports such a soccer, tennis will benefit from The Podiatrist’s expertise in the prevention and treatment of lower extremity athletic injuries including sprains, fractures, tendinitis, and plantar fasciitis.
Anyone who notices redness, swelling, increased warmth, or a change in the shape or appearance of the feet, skin, or toenails should make a podiatrist appointment right away.
In addition, The Podiatrist should check any unusual bumps, lumps, moles, cysts, or tumours on the feet or ankles. Often these growths are harmless, but sometimes they’re a sign of life-threatening cancer.
Diabetics who experience numbness in their legs may not realize when they injure their feet due to loss of feeling. If undetected and untreated, these injuries can lead to serious complications. All diabetics (or anyone with decreased sensation in their legs) should have a podiatrist check any ankle or foot problem immediately.
In any patient, foot wounds may become serious very quickly. Diabetics are especially at high risk. It is common for diabetics who don’t seek care promptly to develop severe infections or gangrene, leading to amputation of a toe, a portion of the foot, or even the whole leg.
2. What conditions do podiatrists treat?
Consult a podiatrist if you experience any of the following symptoms.
Pain may be the result of:
• Broken bones
• Heel spurs
• Ingrown toenails
• Plantar fasciitis
• Shin splints
• Wounds or sores that will not heal
Unusual growths may be:
• Corns or calluses
• Heel spurs
• Neuromas (benign tumours)
Colour changes such as redness, a blue/purple colour, or paleness could indicate:
• Decreased blood flow
• Vein problems
Skin irritation could indicate:
• Athlete’s foot
• Diabetic ulcers
Numbness, burning, or tingling might mean:
• Neuropathy (reduced sensation)
Changes in the shape of your foot or ankle may point to:
• Flat feet
• Muscle or joint problems
Patients often regret waiting longer than they should have to visit The Podiatrist’s office. Delaying treatment can result in unnecessary discomfort.
Calling The Podiatrist’s office promptly for an appointment is the best way to avoid unnecessary pain and complications.
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From a Podiatry perspective children cannot be treated like smaller versions of their parents, and neither can their feet. Foot orthotics for children present a unique opportunity to control the growth and development of the foot.
You may be familiar with orthotic therapy because you may have a diagnosis or problem related to your feet. Many common foot problems are thought to have a genetic component and your child’s feet play a crucial role in their development. This is especially true when considering the growing number of children increasing their activity levels and entering organized sports at a young age.
The possibility of improved outcomes when your child is skeletally mature, and the prevention of future problems are great reasons to consider having your child evaluated for custom foot orthotics.
Research has shown that the early use of foot orthotics in children can have beneficial results that can be seen clinically and on an X-ray. Problems with foot development and biomechanics can eventually lead to problems higher up in the ankles, knees and hips.
Some common problems that can be addressed with a foot orthotic include flatfoot, the overpronated foot (Ankles turning in), torsional deformities of the lower leg, juvenile bunions and other biomechanical inefficiencies of the foot.
In all likelihood your child will adapt wonderfully to his or her new orthotics. As we know, the ligaments and bone structures of a child have a unique ability to adapt to new or corrected positions, and their feet are no different. A custom foot orthotic is different than other off-the- shelf orthotics in that it is precisely calibrated to your child’s foot. This means that the orthotic is designed based on your child’s foot type and weight to provide just the right amount of flexibility. Tolerance issues in children are extremely rare.
When your child is undergoing rapid growth, his or her orthotics will need to be replaced approximately every two shoe sizes, or every one to two years.
Re-evaluation of your child as he or she develops will often lead to changes in the orthotic prescription .Just as your child experiences unique clinical situations, his or her orthotic is a unique and custom device. Some problems can be prevented without life-long wear, some developmental problems may require longer-term use, and some children would simply benefit from prevention their whole lives.
Consider the use of eyeglasses in children. The concern that a child will become dependent on the prescription eyewear is not a valid reason to dismiss the correction needed to improve visual function. In addition The Podiatrist may prescribe exercises for the foot to give your child every opportunity to develop a muscularly sound foot.
If your child does not complain about any foot pain but obvious problems are observed by the parent, chances are the child will not just outgrow it. To treat the child with the proper tools to lead a future normal, pain-free life is an individual decision that every parent has to make with the assistance of their health care provider.
Considerations in this decision should include the preventative payoffs for instituting such therapy weighed against any potential down-side, which is often primarily financial.
Get started on resolving your child’s foot problem today.
Call The Podiatrist.
Toenails keep growing, which means nail salons will be busy clipping, buffing and polishing toes. Tending those colourful toes, though, poses health risks.
The risks to consider include fungus, viruses and bacterial infections,
If the place you go to isn’t vigilant about how they treat the instruments between clients, there’s a greater possibility of picking up something that could make toenails painful. And even the most skilled pedicurist will occasionally slip and cut the skin.,
The risk really lies with the pedicurist wanting to do such a good job that they become too aggressive cleaning the cuticle, for example. They get their little scissors out and (push back and then) trim the cuticle, and that just opens the body up to infection.
Podiatrists consider tampering with the cuticle, which helps anchor the nail to the skin, a major mistake. Pushing back the cuticle or clipping it, both of which are common during pedicures, can let bacteria in.
Another common mistake made in pedicures is cutting nails too aggressively on the sides. This can lead to painful ingrown toenails that break the skin, sometimes requiring surgical treatment.
To avoid this problem, it is important to visit The Podiatrist.
While people can acquire fungus at a salon, the average healthy person is not likely to walk out with diseased toenails and toes.
In most cases of toenail fungus, he says, “there’s an immune system defect”.
Just make sure you aren’t being treated with a used pumice (a porous rock used for exfoliating skin can harbour bacteria) and don’t be afraid to ask questions” about sterilisation procedures.
The gold standard is to clean metal tools in an autoclave, a machine that sterilises instruments using high-pressure, high-temperature steam.
Cleaning tools in liquid disinfectant can kill most germs and viruses if they soak for at least 10 minutes, but that won’t guarantee sterility, the doctors say.
The only way to know instruments are clean enough is if you see them coming out of a steriliser.
Some pedicurists use disposable emery boards, and metal tools are put into a steriliser pouch and autoclaved.
Another major health issue is the soaking of feet before treatment. Fibreglass or plastic bowls are porous and can harbour bacteria more easily.
The Podiatrist warns patients about the whirlpool foot baths used in many pedicures because they are connected to piping that is difficult to sterilise.
The Podiatrist says higher-risk people should probably avoid salon pedicures, even at businesses conscientious about sterilisation .
This includes anyone with immune problems or poor circulation, such as people undergoing chemotherapy or with heart trouble or diabetes.
Diabetics don’t heal as well as others, and often don’t realise they’ve been cut because the disease can cause numbness.
People over 65 are also more susceptible to infection.
Foot care for those most at risk should be handled by The Podiatrist, who has many patients who come to have their nails cut and calluses shaved.
Any procedure that might seem like even minor surgery is not salon-appropriate.
Podiatrists’ tips for preserving foot health during a pedicure:
– Ask how instruments are sterilised. An autoclave is safest. Tools cleaned with a liquid disinfectant need to soak for or at least 10 minutes to eliminate most bacteria and viruses.
– Opt for a salon that uses glass or metal foot bath bowls, since they are the easiest to keep
– Consider taking your own instruments to the nail salon.
– Because nail polish used on many can harbour bacteria and fungus, consider bringing your own polish for the pedicurist to apply.
Get started on resolving your foot problem today.
Call The Podiatrist.