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What does a podiatrist do?
A few years ago I had a nasty crack on the back of my heel and no matter what I did, I could not get rid of it. One of my friends told me I should pop over to the podiatrist’s office to get it looked at. I gave her a funny look “What does a podiatrist do?” Do you know what she told me? “Google it” hahaha
Sometimes people overlook the necessity of caring for their feet. It is a common train of thought to assume that washing them and clipping the nails are the extent of foot care.
It’s crucial to examine your feet regularly for anything out of the ordinary. This is especially true for individuals with medical conditions like diabetes. If you find any issues, it may be time to consider a foot care professional. There is more than one kind of foot care specialist and knowing which one is right for your particular problem can be difficult to pick.
Can your family doctor treat your foot condition?
Most people think family physicians are the pinnacle to all medical conditions. In reality, they are a liaison between determining what might be going on in your body and who you need to see to fix it. They should be the first stop for an examination of foot problems. Your doctor needs to diagnose whether your foot issue is an issue on its own or if it’s the symptom of another condition. Depending on the needs of the condition the doctor will determine where to refer the patient.
Types of Foot Doctors and What They Do
Below is a list of different medical practitioners that can look more extensively at common and complex foot conditions.
Podiatrists specialize in feet and can treat and examine various foot conditions. This may be the most frequently used of the foot clinicians. While the foot is a key factor in their work, they also treat lower leg issues.
When complex conditions come into play, they may need to consult other variations of foot doctors to properly and accurately care for patients.
As with some other foot specialists, many people question, are they doctors? The answer is, yes. They attend very specific schools that provide them with all the training and knowledge they need to fix most foot problems or conditions.
Below is a list of specifics:
– Sprains and Fractures:
Sprains and Fractures are common, in athletes. Podiatrists work with athletes to remedy any sprain or fracture they have endured. This gives them the ability to examine any foot or ankle related injuries.
– Bunions and Hammertoes:
The conditions affecting a persons’ bones within their feet are called Bunions and Hammertoes. Bunions are related to the joints in the big toe that become dislodged or overgrown. Hammertoes are toes that do not bend the correct way. Podiatrists can check these conditions out, but they may need to work with other medical practitioners who deal more with the bones in the feet.
– Nail Disorders:
There is a wide variety of nail disorders but the most common one is a fungus that grows under the toenail. Another common nail disorder can be an ingrown toenail where the edge of a toenail is not growing into the skin rather than in its normal pattern. Podiatrists can treat this through the removal of the ingrown hair and creams to rid of the fungus.
– Diabetic Related Issues:
People with diabetes don’t have the ability to heal as fast as other people so they need to be very careful with their feet. They lose sensation in their toes and legs sometimes so they might miss a cut or a blister. They can become infected and hard to treat. A podiatrist can help treat the nerve condition and other foot disorders a diabetic can suffer from.
Broken bones and other bone-related issues in the foot are treated by an orthopedist. They often work closely with a podiatrist. They do surgery to correct broken bones and also deal with putting on casts, etc for patients with extensive injuries.
Foot Care Nurses
Routine foot care is crucial for anyone, but those with medical conditions like diabetes should seek help with their foot care. For those with diabetes, it is dangerous for them to clip their nails or file their heels because they may not feel pressure or possible wounds.
Foot care nurses help in the aid of routine foot care. This care includes: trimming of nails, cutting down of thick and built up nails, removal of callouses, and removal of ingrown nails. They cannot prescribe any medications, yet can refer patients to the proper place to get any needed medications.
Foot care nurses are not all the same and they will operate differently. Some will perform all the foot care procedures, while others may only be certified in specific areas.
People often take for granted the ability to just go buy shoes and socks etc for everyday wear. However, there are certain medical conditions of the feet, ankle and lower limbs, that require specialized footwear and supportive devices.
Pedorthists make and design footwear for those who need it. Diabetics, for example, can have nerve damage that affects the blood flow, in their feet. Proper footwear and compression socks will make sure there is circulation improvement.
A Pedorthist’s knowledge stretches beyond shoes. They also engage in creating, changing, and maintaining prosthetic (artificial limbs) devices.
Pedicurists are certified in basic, safe cosmetic foot care and usually, work in nail spas. They cut toenails, paint them, massage the feet and ankle, and give other various spa foot-related treatments. While they are not doctors, they serve a purpose for the basic upkeep of a person’s appearance.
Pedicurists have a general knowledge of foot anatomy, skin and foot disorders. If they notice any issues, they will tell you to visit your family doctor.
Podologists are a step above a pedicurist but below a podiatrist. They have advanced pedicure skills and work on patients with more server foot problems. Podologist is often referred to as a medical pedicurist.
There are many options to explore when seeking answers for foot problems. Hopefully, this guide gave a better insight as to where to start when facing an unexpected issue with the lower limbs and feet. No matter what you choose make sure your professional is certified in what they do. A good place to start with your own home care is a DIY Pedicure