Americans spend a lot of time on their feet. We work long days, sometimes in uncomfortable shoes. We are in a constant rush, running from point A to point B. By the end of the day, our feet may feel tired, swollen, and painful. At some point, you wonder how much foot pain is normal and when it is extreme, when should you seek medical consultation from a podiatrist?
What is a podiatrist?
Many people are surprised to learn that there is a medical profession dedicated to the care of the feet. However, this is because the feet are a very important part of our body. They are what gives us our foundation and what allows us to move around. Problems with the feet cause poor posture and can affect other parts of the body including the back, the hips, and even the neck. Everything is connected and it all starts with the feet. Additionally, each foot has 26 bones. That means that one quarter of all the bones in your body is in your feet. The feet may be more important than you give them credit for.
What types of problems do people go to a podiatrist for?
If a podiatrist is dedicated to the care of feet, do you go to one for every foot pain? While podiatrists do deal with foot pain of all types, they generally deal with medical conditions including bunions, ankle pains, and autoimmune diseases like Gout. Approximately 19% of the U.S. population has an average of 1.4 foot problems each year. This means that a large percentage of the population could benefit from seeing a podiatrist.
What foot treatments are available?
Because so many people are unaware of the podiatrist and what they focus on, many people also do not know that there are successful treatments available for common foot problems. What is a bunion? A bunion is a problem with the largest bone in the foot. It usually forms at the base of the big toe and over time, the inflammation can get worse. When the inflammation gets worse, the foot swells and it can be difficult to walk on it or even put a shoe over it. Fortunately, bunion surgery is an option.
What about non operative bunion treatments?
If you are wondering how to treat a bunion, the first steps taken are with corrective shoes. A study by the American Foot and Ankle Society revealed that 88% of women wear shoes that are too small. Of this same population, 55% had bunions. While it is not conclusive that wearing too small of shoes can cause bunions, it does appear that it can increase the chances. This means that treatment includes getting the feet into shoes that fit. This gives the foot the ability to heal. However, if these non operative treatments do not prove to be successful, surgery may be recommended.
How do I know if I need a podiatrist?
How do you know when it is time to seek medical attention from a podiatrist? If you have consistent foot pain that does not go away, you might find a podiatrist to be useful. You can also discuss your foot problems with your primary physician and see if they refer you to a podiatrist. In the meantime, make sure you are wearing shoes that fit you properly and remember to take care of your feet on a daily basis.
Our feet are exposed to all types of harsh conditions. We walk and run on them all day long. We shove them in shoes that are too small. We don?t give them the care that they deserve. This can lead to foot problems including painful bunions. If you are experiencing any painful foot problems, consider seeking consultation with a podiatrist.