Who is a Podiatrist and What Does He Do?
It was already the father of medicine, Hippocrates, that recognized corns and calluses. To treat them, he described, they had to be physically removed. Funny thing, for this procedure he invented special scrapers that would later evolve into surgical scalpels.
Fast forward over two thousand years to modern day medicine. Since Hippocrates the approach to various medical issues has evolved, but issues themselves remain the same. Today we have a name for people who take care of foot-related problems, we call them podiatrists.
Many may have heard of this profession before, but may not fully understand who in fact a podiatrist is. If you’ve never heard of podiatrists or you’re not sure what they actually do, read on, as we’ve gathered some useful information about these doctors and some little Q&A.
Table of Contents
What does a podiatrist do?
A podiatrist deals with issues related to the feet and lower legs. They can treat injuries and various problems that stem from skin conditions.
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Is a podiatrist a doctor?
You may be surprised, but yes, a podiatrist is in fact a doctor. The difference is that podiatrists don’t go to classic medical school, as they have their own special podiatry schools. The length of their studies is four years during which they learn about bones, nerves, and muscles. They are taught how to properly diagnose and offer treatments. Similarly to other doctors, podiatrists have to work as residents for three years after graduation.
In the end, a podiatrist receives a doctor of podiatric medicine title and a license.
What can a podiatrist help you with?
Some of the most common injuries that podiatrists deal with are fractures and sprains. That’s why often athletes have a podiatrist on their medical team. A podiatrist will help treat their injuries and search for ways to prevent them in the future.
Bunions and hammertoes
Bunions are an issue that affects especially women, often those who like wearing their high-heeled shoes a bit too much. When wearing such footwear, the body weight is transferred to the forefoot. Additionally, heels tend to be rather narrow, which makes the toes unnaturally arranged and compressed. All this makes the big toe gradually move to the side, towards the other fingers. As a result, a bulge, namely a bunion, forms at the height of the metatarsophalangeal joint. Over time, this can result in painful inflammation. In effect, when the big toe loses its stabilizing role, the body weight is shifted to other parts of the foot, which soon also deform. Basically, you can get a snowball effect from bunions, which is why proper treatment is so vital.
Arguably, the most common nail disorder is an ingrown toenail. Here, the toe swells up, hurts to touch, bleeds, there is pus, and additionally can be accompanied by loss of the nail plate or its inappropriate shortening. If you’re dealing with at least two of these issues simultaneously, it’s definitely worth visiting a podiatry office. A podiatrist can save the nail and big toe using various treatments, different types of ingrown toenail clamps, tamponades, nail reconstruction, or several methods at the same time. A podiatrist will do everything possible to prevent removing the nail.
A reason behind heel pain can be heel spurs. In this ailment, your heel bone experiences a buildup of calcium at the bottom. There are many reasons for this issue to arise, from overly tight shoes, to running. In cases when pain is severe, the treatment may need to involve pain medication. Apart from that, a podiatrist may recommend wearing special shoe inserts.
When should I visit a podiatrist?
Whenever you notice a disturbing change on your feet or start feeling some kind of pain. It’s better to visit a podiatrist for a consultation sooner rather than later. In the time you spend hesitating, your condition may worsen, and the treatment may be more difficult. Don’t be afraid to visit a podiatry office!
In case you’re looking for a podiatry office, head to Booksy to find a podiatrist near you and book an appointment!