Have you heard this medical term before? Do you know what exactly it is? In simple words, a Podiatrist is a foot doctor and they are also known with the name of doctor of podiatric medicine or DPM. A doctor in this field has a letter DPM after their name. This type of surgeon or physician deals with all the problems related to the foot, ankle and other connecting parts of the leg. Traditionally, it is called as chiropodist who is also used sometimes.
What medical training is required to commence a career as a Podiatrist?
As similar to that of other physicians as well as surgeons, a four year of complete study and training in the field of podiatric medical school is required. Moreover, they need to have three years of residency training in the same field in any hospital and clinic, so that they can deal with the patients in a real-world scenario. All such skills, abilities and in-depth knowledge related to the various areas of the foot conditions will be helpful for a Podiatrist to deal as well as treat all the problems in a very proper way.
At last, after qualifying all the examinations, a Podiatrist also needs a certificate from their country of residence to work independently or with any other well-known hospitals. Another Podiatrist has also finished some sort of professional fellowship that focuses on a definite area. This helps a Podiatrist to become a specialist in the field of foot health.
Who is a Podiatric Surgeon?
A Podiatrist surgeon is a person who has specialization in the field of foot surgery. They have gets the professional certificate in Foot and Ankle Surgery from the authorities of their country of residence. This type of surgeon has passed some high levels of examinations in the general health of foot conditions and related injuries.
A podiatrist has owned a license to work in the state under which they work. Moreover, they cannot practice without any professional license. Like all other doctors, Podiatrists need to renew their license from time to time after the license gets expired. Apart from the license, they need to stay updated with their training by attending special seminars during the year.
Foot conditions with which they deal?
All ages of people can get treatment from the Podiatrist. A general range of foot conditions can be easily treated by any doctor as they are like a family doctor or general care physician. Some of the Podiatrist has specialization in some foot conditions which are as mentioned below:
- Wound Care
- Pediatric (Children)
- Other types of foot care
If you have pain in the foot or hurt your foot, then you can visit a Podiatrist. But if do not have any pain in your foot, still it is a good idea to see a doctor and check your feet. The hard skin on your feet can easily remove by a Podiatrist and clips the toenails in a correct way. Moreover, they can also give you a suggestion about what you have to wear according to your foot condition.
What are the common foot problems?
Different types of foot problems are there according to the age of people. Some of them are Ingrown toenails, Blisters, Warts, Corns, Calluses, Bunion, Nail Infections, Foot infections, Smelly feet, Heel pain, Heel spurs, Dry or cracked heel skin, Flat Feet, Hammer Toes, Neuromas, Sprains, Arthritis, Foot injuries, Foot ligament or muscle pain and so on.
Other issues related to the foot conditions are as follows:
- Bunion removal
- Fractures or broken bones
- Skin or nail diseases
- Wound care
- Artery (blood flow) disease
- Walking patterns
- Corrective Orthotics (foot braces and insoles)
- Flexible casts
- Foot Prosthetics
Risk factors associated with a foot condition
Due to some of the health conditions, there are some issues with the foot of many people. It involves obesity, diabetes, arthritis, high cholesterol, poor circulation of blood and other heat-related diseases and strokes.
People with diabetes have more chances of foot problems. If you feel any changes in the feet, then you have to pay close attention to the foot. Keep a check over the signs as well as symptoms of feet if you noticed any. Treat the highlighted condition that will be helpful to give some relief to foot pain.
Visit the Podiatrist and let him know if you have any signs of complications related to diabetic foot which includes dry or cracked skin, calluses or hard skin, cracked or dry toenails, discolored toenails, a bad foot smell, sharp or burning pain, tenderness, numbness or tingling, sore or ulcer and pain in your calves while they walk.
Why do you need to see a doctor?
If you feel any kind of pain or injury in feet, then it is highly recommended to see your family Podiatrist or any Podiatrist. Moreover, you can also visit another kind of specialist doctors. You can also take some assistance through the physical therapy that can be helpful for your symptoms.
A proper examination of feet is done by the Podiatrist to know better about the details of foot conditions and find out what causing you pain. Tests, as well as foot scans, include a blood test, nail swab, ultrasound, X-ray, MRI scan and many more.
Reasons why you need to see the doctor
It is obvious that when you feel any kind of pain, then you have to see a doctor but there are some reasons why you need to visit a doctor for evaluating the foot health conditions. Reasons are given as follow:
- Infection in Nail: If the reason behind the foot pain in general, then you can go to a family doctor or any special foot doctor who can give you some special medicines to treat the pain and give you relief from the same. To exemplify, you can treat the pain with some sort of antifungal medicines that is good for any nail infection.
- Gout and Arthritis: Arthritis is a medical condition that is related to the inflammation in the joints and even in multiple joints. These are more than a hundred in numbers such as osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It can be treated with the help of proper treatment after finding out the causes. Further, when the uric acid is build up more, then the general term used for causing pain is known as Gout. In such conditions, you feel pain in your feet as well as toes. Separate treatments are required to deal with both the conditions whether it is gout and arthritis. Your family doctor and the Podiatrist can also treat these conditions with proper medical treatments.
- Flat feet: To deal with the flat feet or weak and injured ligaments, you may also wear orthotics like a foot brace or arch support that is helpful in such foot conditions. Custom support braces can be easily made with the help of giving the perfect measurement of the molds of your feet so that they can better fit into the foot.
- Diabetes: You can get some level of nerve damage in the feet as well as other areas too. This may result in numbness, pain, and ulcers on your feet and legs. It is required to see a doctor or a Podiatrist if you have a major pain in your feet due to diabetes. In addition to this, you can also involve a family physician, a vascular surgeon such as a blood vessel surgeon) and a neurologist such as nerve specialist.
- Ankle and Knee problems: if you are facing any problem in your knee or ankle, then it is necessary to see a sports medicine doctor, a Podiatrist or an Orthopedic surgeon. Physical therapy is also required for a long period of time as it is helpful to strengthen the bonds of joints and muscles present in your knee, ankle, and foot.
When to visit a Podiatrist?
Twenty-six bones are present therein foot. This part of your body is also so complex and it has a number of joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. All these parts of your feet are designed in a way that they can properly support your body and handle the weight accurately. Thus, they can help you to walk, stand as well as run too.
When you have pain in your feet, then it creates a lot of problems in movements whenever you want. You need to get the urgent medical treatments if you have any signs and symptoms as mentioned below:
- Severe pain
- Numbness or Tingling
- Open sore or wound
- Infection such as redness, warmth, tenderness, and fever.
Get in touch with your family doctor or a Podiatrist if you are facing problems related to the foot movement and you are not able to walk properly.
Although you have healthy feet, still you need to check it up with the doctor or a Podiatrist as it is a good idea to know about the condition of your feet. It is the first and foremost step to protect your foot, toe, and nails from any infection as well as any problems that can create trouble in movements. You make sure that you have to know what you are looking for and what shoes or insoles are best suitable for your feet.
A Podiatrist is the right medical practitioner who can help you out to know more about the problems and issues associated with the feet and assist to get the best possible treatment for this problem. They have knowledge about all the aspects of the foot problems and they can easily give you proper advice with the help of years of experience in the field of dealing with foot issues.