When Should I See A Podiatrist?

Do you think you may need to see a podiatrist? We have written a helpful blog outlining more about the role of a podiatrist and how seeing one can possibly benefit your overall health.

When it comes to podiatry many people are unaware of what a podiatrist actually does. Podiatrists are experts when it comes to all things foot health related. Podiatrists have spent 4 years at university being trained to help prevent, diagnose and treat a range of foot and lower limb injuries and medical conditions.

It is not uncommon that these conditions stem from other underlying issues such as diabetes, arthritis and muscular weakness; your podiatrist can help accurately diagnose and help you manage your problem.
Podiatrists can be found in most suburbs, they work in both public hospitals and community health centres as well as in private practice.

Why do I need to see a podiatrist?

One foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. Therefore they can be increasingly vulnerable to injury which can then sometimes affect the entire body. Your podiatrist will assess your foot but they will also carry out a biomechanical assessment which will assess your gait (how you walk), strength and stability as well as balance. Podiatrists are experts in understanding how particular movements can impact the foot and lower legs and are able to not only diagnose foot conditions but develop personalised management and treatment plans specific to you and your injury.

When I should see a podiatrist?

If you are experiencing pain in your feet or lower legs, ingrowing nails, fungal nails, foot odour, corns, callouses, ill-fitting footwear, have diabetes or poor balance and falling then you may want to seek a podiatrist’s opinion.
Commonly people think that having sore feet at the end of a “big day” is normal but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Research has shown that most people who actually complain of sore feet don’t seek professional advice when they should. You should most certainly visit a podiatrist if you suffer from sore or tired feet or legs.

10 Reasons You Should See A Podiatrist

As podiatrists we are the foot and ankle experts. Foot and ankle problems can have many causes and can sometimes be linked to a range of chronic conditions like arthritis or diabetes. But often every day scenarios can cause temporary or acute pain. Poorly fitting shoes and over use (doing too much when your body isn’t ready) are often causes of acute pain. Being experts in all things foot and ankle, your podiatrist is able to provide you with an accurate diagnosis and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan compared to other health practitioners. Podiatrists provide treatment for a wide range of medical problems of the foot, ankle, and lower leg. Podiatrists can also perform some minor surgical procedures such as ingrown toenail and wart removal. Here are some conditions in which a podiatrist can help you get back on your feet.

1. You’ve decided to start exercising

Active people are especially prone to pain and injury in particular arch, ankle, shin and knee pain. This is due to the increased load and force applied to the muscles, ligaments and joints when exercising or running compared to walking. A podiatrist can assess your body and feet to flag potential problems and recommend strategies to prevent injury. Podiatrists can also recommend the most appropriate type of footwear for your feet and desired activity.

2. You have joint pain in your feet or ankles

Arthritis is one of the most common conditions affecting Australians. If you are having hot, swollen, red or stiff joints you should see a podiatrist. As arthritis can lead to poor joint range of motion or mobility which can result in other foot related injuries. A podiatrist can suggest treatment options that may help preserve joint health and make daily activities easier.

3. You have diabetes

Diabetes is Australia’s fastest growing chronic disease; faster than heart disease. Having diabetes increases your risk of foot and lower limb related complications. These issue range from dry skin to infection to even amputation. If you have diabetes, you should have an annual diabetes foot check whereby your podiatrist will review your overall health and assess your nerve function and blood flow. Studies have shown that including a podiatrist in your health management reduces your risk of amputation by over 50%.

4. You have heel pain

Heel pain is probably the most common injury seen and assessed by podiatrists in Australia. There are many causes of heel pain including, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis/fasciocis and Achilles tendon overuse. If you have heel pain in any form, you need to see podiatrist for a diagnosis. Your podiatrist will perform a foot exam, gait assessment (watching the way you walk) and may even order x-rays or ultrasound. Getting an accurate diagnosis is the first step in developing a successful management plan.

5. You ingrown toenails

Infections can occur when a toenail grows into the skin, the big toe is the most common nail affected. If you see signs of redness, inflammation or pus you should visit your podiatrist for treatment. In some cases, your podiatrist may need to remove part of you nail.

6. You think you have a sprain, strain, or broken bone

Podiatrists are experts at treating sprains, strains, and broken bones in the foot or the ankle. They are best qualified to diagnose your injury and suggest the treatment appropriate. A podiatrist can also use immobilisation casts or CAM walkers to help the site heal. If you have injured yourself and have swelling, trouble walking, redness, and increasing pain then you should see a podiatrist.

7. You think you need foot or ankle surgery

Although most podiatrists in Australia don’t perform reconstructive surgery of the foot and ankle, they work closely with Podiatric and Orthopaedic Surgeons. Although surgery is often a last resort treatment, surgery may still be a viable option for many foot conditions pending the failure of conservative treatment. If you should need it, your podiatrist is best qualified to advise you on such options.

8. You have corns or callouses or can’t look after your own feet

One of the common reasons people visit a podiatrist is for the management of corns and callouses. These areas of hard skin build up and can be very painful if the thickness is too great. A podiatrist has the skill to remove corns and reduce callouses in a very painless procedure as well as help you manage those thick and hard to cut nails.

9. You have a painful bunion

The lump on your big toe at the ball of your foot is often known as a bunion. It occurs when the position of your toe shifts out of place and can worsen in appearance if left unattended. Podiatrists can suggest a variety of treatments, such as padding, taping or orthotics. Surgery is an option in severe cases whereby conservative management has not been successful.

10. You think you have Tinea

Tinea, often called Athlete’s Foot, can make the skin between your toes soft, wet and itchy. There are many over the counter products you can try but should these products fail, you podiatrist has some alternative options which can sometimes be more effective in targeting specific types of bacteria.