Our feet and ankles emerge from hibernation as the weather warms up, but they might not be quite prepared for sandal season. The fact is that many people delay visiting the doctor for foot or ankle issues because they are unaware of where to turn for care. Or they assume that ongoing foot soreness is typical. It’s not natural to experience persistent foot discomfort, I assure you.
The best action is to see a podiatrist if you have any concerns with your foot or ankle, such as a sports injury, arthritis or joint discomfort, skin conditions, etc. Almost all problems that affect the ankle or the foot can be managed and treated by a podiatrist.
It’s time to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist if you are dealing with any of the following issues or symptoms.
- Tingling, discomfort, or swelling in one foot. It’s common to occasionally experience sore or swollen feet (after finishing a 10k race or being on your feet all day, for example). Still, sudden pain, swelling, or numbness in one foot for no apparent reason is cause for concern and necessitates a trip to the doctor.
- Fungal nails. With the popularity of nail salons, the number of cases of fungal infection on toenails has drastically increased. If the condition isn’t treated, the nails will grow thick and discoloured, and you run the chance of spreading to your other toenails.
- Ongoing heel discomfort in numerous conditions might lead to heel pain. To identify the underlying issue and create a treatment strategy, a podiatrist will do an examination and collect x-rays.
- You believe you have fractured or sprained your foot or ankle. Although going to an orthopedist may be your first thought, a podiatrist has more experience treating injuries to the feet and ankles.
- Recurring athlete’s foot infection. It’s one of the most prevalent fungi infections and is typically treatable with over-the-counter lotions or sprays. However, if an athlete’s foot recurs, a podiatrist can recommend a more potent cream or oral treatment and perform a probable infection check.
- You’re diabetic. Diabetes patients, both Type 1 and Type 2, are considerably more likely to experience foot issues such as poor circulation, nerve loss, ulcers, and infections. To help prevent these potentially serious issues, people with diabetes should visit their podiatrist once a year for a foot examination.
- An untrimmed toenail. A painful ingrown toenail may encourage you to attempt its removal on your own or seek assistance from your neighbourhood nail shop, but going to the doctor’s office is safer (and less unpleasant). If the nail has grown infected, a podiatrist can administer medicine and numb the region while the nail is being removed.
- Bunions. The problem, a bony growth that appears outside the big toe joint, can get worse as it grows bigger. Based on the severity of the bunion and the results of an x-ray, the podiatrist can propose a course of treatment.
- Calluses or corns that hurt. These typical issues, caused by thicker regions of dead skin, can become uncomfortable if the skin is too thick. For pain relief, a podiatrist may remove corn, i.e. the hardened skin in those locations or may recommend a topical medicine.
- Joint discomfort in the ankle or foot. It’s crucial to contact a doctor to identify the underlying source of the pain, even if it may be effectively managed with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen—especially if the discomfort in your foot or ankle persists. Together with you, the doctor can devise a long-term treatment strategy.
I can’t emphasise enough how crucial it is to take proper care of your feet because neglecting them can harm your general health and result in more severe issues. Ask your primary care physician to refer you to a podiatrist if you are experiencing any problems with your feet or ankles.