How can a podiatrist help?
If you have foot, or lower-limb related problems, a podiatrist can help you in lots of ways. Issues treated by podiatrists range from non-specific conditions such a painful feet, to discoloured toenails, warts and scaling – or other problem concerned with your feet.
Podiatrists may also recommend and supply orthotics. These are insoles, padding and supports made to relieve arch or heel pain. They are usually tailor-made for the patient, and are effective ways of re-aligning the foot to take pressure off vulnerable areas – or just to make your shoes more comfortable.
You don’t have to have foot problems to visit a podiatrist. Even if your feet are generally healthy, you could benefit from a single session of podiatry for a number of reasons, such as the removal of hard skin, or just to check that you’re looking after your feet properly. A podiatrist can also advise you as to whether or not you’re wearing the right shoes (don’t forget to take your shoes with you!). This is particularly useful for young children with feet that are still-growing.
When you should consult a podiatrist
Although self-diagnosis and self-treatment can be effective there are times when it is highly advisable to seek professional advice and help. You should always consult a foot specialist (podiatrist) if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Severe or persistent pain in your feet or ankles
- Severe cracking, scaling, or peeling on the heel or foot
- Foot blisters
- Changes in the nails or skin on your foot
You should also seek professional help if you see signs of bacterial infection on your feet or ankles. Symptoms of this include:
- Thickening toenails that become uncomfortable
- Heel pain accompanied by redness or numbness
- Tingling in the heel, bought on without putting any weight or pressure on it
- Pain, swelling, redness or tenderness
- Discharge from any part of the foot
- Foot or ankle problems that don’t respond to treatment with an OTC (over the counter) product Spreading of an infection from one area of the foot to another