What Does a Podiatrist Do?
Podiatrists are medical specialists who help with problems that affect your feet or lower legs. They can treat injuries and complications from ongoing health issues like diabetes. You might hear them called a podiatric physician or doctor of podiatric medicine.
Are podiatrists doctors?
Podiatrists are doctors, but they don’t go to traditional medical school. They have their schools and professional associations. They also have “DPM” (doctor of podiatric medicine) after their names instead of “MD” (medical doctor).
Podiatrists can do surgery, reset broken bones, prescribe drugs, and order lab tests or X-rays. They often work closely with other specialists when a problem affects your feet or lower legs. In the U.S., podiatrists are licensed and regulated by state governments.
Conditions Podiatrists Treat
Podiatrists treat people of any age for many foot-related conditions, including:
- Fractures and sprains. Podiatrists regularly treat these common injuries when they affect a foot or ankle. They also work in sports medicine, treating foot problems athletes have and recommending ways to avoid them.
- Bunions and hammertoes. These are problems with the bones in your feet. A bunion happens when the joint at the base of your big toe gets bigger or knocked out of place. That makes the toe bend toward the others. A hammertoe does not bend the right way.
- Nail disorders. These include issues like an infection in your nail caused by a fungus or an ingrown toenail. That’s when a corner or side of a nail grows into your toe instead of straight out.
- Diabetes. This is a condition in which your body either doesn’t make a hormone called insulin or doesn’t use it the way it should. Insulin helps you digest sugar. Diabetes can damage the nerves in your feet or legs, and you might have trouble getting enough blood to your feet. Diabetes can cause serious complications. More than 65,000 people a year need to have a foot amputated — removed by a doctor — because of diabetes. A podiatrist can help prevent that, so having regular consultations is a must. If you have diabetes, make sure to get any sore or callus on your feet checked out.
- Arthritis. This results from inflammation, swelling, and wear and tear on your joints. Each foot has 33 joints. A podiatrist might recommend physical therapy, drugs, or special shoes or inserts to help with your arthritis. Surgery also might be an option if other treatments don’t work well for you.
- Growing pains. If your child’s feet point inward or look flat or their toes don’t line up right, a podiatrist might be able to help. They could recommend exercises, insoles, or braces. Or they might recommend surgery.
- Heel pain. A common cause of heel pain is heel spurs, a buildup of calcium at the bottom of your heel bone. You can get them from running, ill-fitting shoes, or being overweight. Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the band of connective tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot. Sports and nonsupportive shoes are usually to blame. Overpronation, meaning your foot bends in or out too far when you walk, is often a cause. It, too, can affect athletes, as can Achilles tendinitis, which causes pain at the back of your heel where this tendon attaches. Treatment often starts with over-the-counter pain meds and may include shoe inserts called orthotics. Some people need surgery.
- Morton’s neuroma. Nerve problems between the third and fourth bones of your foot can cause pain, burning, and a feeling that there’s something in your shoe. It usually affects runners. Tight shoes and overpronation make it worse. A podiatrist can give you shots for inflammation and pain and help you find an orthotic. You might need surgery to remove it.
Reasons to See a Podiatrist
Your feet do a lot of work. By the time you’re 50, you’ll have walked 75,000 miles on them. Feet are complex structures with many bones, tendons, and ligaments that have to work together perfectly to keep you moving.
People visit our Chatswood podiatrist for many reasons, including
- Corns, Calluses, Warts Treatment Chatswood
- Adult and Child Athlete Foot Care Chatswood
- Sports Injury Chatswood
- Toenail Problems, Ingrown Nails and Fungal Infections
- Pain in the Feet, Ankles, and Heels
- Foot Orthotics
- Lower Limb Biomechanics Analysis
- Toe Deformities
Get your feet checked by your podiatrist even if you have healthy feet. This can help prevent foot, toe, and nail problems. You can also learn what to look out for and what shoes and insoles are best for your feet.
A podiatrist can help diagnose your foot problem and find the best treatment plan for you. They are foot specialists who have spent years of study and training to help keep your feet healthy. To make an appointment with our Podiatrist in Chatswood, please Call Super Health Chatswood Medical Centre at (02) 9884 9300.