Vital Role of Podiatrists in Foot Health
People often tend to overlook their feet when taking care of their health. An average person walks over 175,000 km (110,000 miles) in their life! This means that taking care of one's feet is essential to overall health. When foot problems arise, they can have a severe impact on one's quality of life, as getting places becomes difficult with painful foot conditions. Thankfully, podiatrists are available to help with these problems so one can get back up on their feet—literally—as soon as possible.
Role of a podiatrist
Podiatrists are professional foot doctors who specialise in foot and ankle wellbeing. They not only treat a wide range of foot conditions but also help guide individuals on how to prevent such conditions in the future. Here are some common conditions podiatrists can help with:
- Ingrown toenails, corns and painful calluses
- Foot injuries
- Skin conditions on the feet
- Foot odour
- Balance problems
People suffering from diabetes and arthritis are also recommended to regularly visit podiatrists. When it comes to diabetes, poor circulation and delayed healing mechanisms put sufferers at risk of a range of foot conditions that can worsen if not treated urgently. Arthritic patients suffer from chronic pain in the joints of their feet, and podiatrists can help manage this pain and improve the sufferer's quality of life.
Many people put off seeing a podiatrist as they think that foot pain is normal. Healthy feet should not cause any long-term pain, so any signs of swelling or pain that occur for a prolonged period of time should not be ignored.
Modes of treatment
Depending upon the foot condition, podiatrists may prescribe one or many of the following treatment methods:
- Specific exercises to help relieve pain in targeted areas of the feet
- Medications such as ointments to treat skin conditions of the feet such as psoriasis
- Custom-made inserts to place in shoes to improve balance issues associated with feet
Whilst a patient is at the clinic, their podiatrist may also safely remove corns or calluses on their feet. They use special tools and their expertise to perform these procedures, which should not be performed at home by an inexperienced individual. Attempting such procedures at home can result in injury.
Where to find podiatrists
Podiatrists may be found in public health hospitals and clinics. An individual may also consult their local GP for referrals to podiatrists in their area. There are some funding schemes in place for certain people such as diabetics and veterans.