A podiatrist is a medical professional who specializes in feet and ankles. The podiatrist may see patients in a clinic setting for less severe conditions or in a hospital setting for issues that may require more rigorous treatment or even surgery. This is a list of common conditions that you may be required to see a podiatrist for.
Bunions are a deformity that affects the big toe on the foot. The joint of the toe angles in towards the other toes because it is not properly aligned. It can be quite painful depending on the severity of the condition and may require surgery to fix the issue. The surgery is known as a bunionectomy and consists of breaking the foot along the affected side and resetting the bones so they are properly aligned. For less severe bunions, the podiatrist may recommend that the patient try special shoes to provide comfort when walking.
Hammertoes are similar to bunions, but they typically are found in the other toes instead of the big toe. The deformity makes the toe appear curled due to the irregularity in the joint. There are several reasons why a person may have hammertoes, which include: high arches in the feet, arthritis, flat feet, or trauma to the feet. Once a podiatrist diagnoses a hammertoe, they will treat it with surgery since it is the only cure for the condition. The surgery is known as arthoplasty and consists of surgically resetting bones.
A heel spur is a bone growth on the heel of the foot and is quite painful. The podiatrist can diagnose the spur by taking an X-ray of the foot. A person may get a spur due to too much strain on the ligaments of the foot. After time, the ligament wears away, and the heel bone is exposed. A heel spur can usually be treated without surgery. Treatments include: physical therapy, special shoes, and stretching the foot. If the spur is still there after a year, then the podiatrist will recommend surgery to remove it.
Foot pain can be a terrible thing to live with, especially if your daily activities include lots of walking, which can continue to aggravate the pain. It is important to not ignore the foot pain or other symptoms that may be connected to a foot injury or condition. A family doctor can give you a referral to a podiatrist in your area to evaluate the issue and recommend treatment.
For more information, contact Foot & Ankle Care Center PA or a similar location.